I was at the bike shop (I think on a Saturday afternoon), when he took me to one side and told me that if I wanted a really nice touring bike he would help me to get one!
What he proposed was that I saved up some money by doing jobs at home or wherever I could, and I could buy the various bike parts as and when I could afford them. He would then guide me through the process of building my own bike!
We started off with him almost giving me a Viking frame, after which came wheels etc. and over the course of around 6 months, I had my touring bike.
The difference to me was incredible because my Hercules Courier had “straight” handlebars and 3-speed gears. My Viking had “dropped” handlebars and 5-Speeds! There was also a significant reduction in weight and I quickly increased my biking to 100 mile rides. This not only brought numerous new trainspotting places within range, but also presented a whole new perspective on bike rides.
Because I was always starting out from home, the initial hour or so was always on familiar territory and so, to make it more interesting, I would leave home at night! While the territory was still the same, the scenery and overall experience was very different.
I used to love the country roads at night. All I could hear was the whirring sound of my gears. All I could see was the moonlit terrain and the beam of my headlight lighting up a small portion of road ahead of me, and behind me the red glow of my rear light.
I can remember one ride which was on a particularly dark night and, on coming over a hill, I saw the warm orange glow of a town some miles ahead of me. I loved the time to myself, but it was always so nice to return to “civilization”!
On other rides, where dawn found me out in the country and well away from any towns, I could often witness a beautiful sunrise. From 1960 to 1963, I had the most wonderful times on my Viking bike!