I WISH! In 1979, I wanted Raleigh Grifter, but instead a got a cheaper imitation. My friends that I played out with would ask “What bike is that?” I tried to add a touch of credibility to my rip off version: “It’s kind of like a Grifter but with wider handlebars.” Their faces went blank – they were far too friendly to tell me it’s nothing like a Grifter!
A few years later, I wanted a Chopper, but again I did not get one. I had to make do with my Grifter wide handlebars rip off bike for a few years longer.
Fast forward 41 years, whilst in a local bike shop, I saw two beautifully refurbished Raleigh Chopper’s for sale. It was the opportunity to finally own a bike with the instantly recognisable Raleigh branding. Sadly, any hope of finally owning a Raleigh disappeared when I saw the eye watering price tags.
There are some things that are just not meant to be in life: that person you fancied at primary school and thought they would be your lifelong partner, but instead they married the playground ratbag… the failed X-Factor audition… getting gazumped on that dream house you’d spent years looking for.
There’s still quite a bit of Raleigh Chopper emotion deep rooted in my soul – I even wrote a fun story about the Chopper in my retro book, Section N Underpass, along with some history and facts about the Raleigh brand. I’m now 100% realistic in regards to owning a Raleigh: I can look, I can touch, I can admire, but I’ll never own one – it was not meant to be.