200 mph and Gold Plated

The Raleigh Grifter was a kind of BMX only it had curved forks which meant it wasn’t. It followed on from the Chopper and was replaced by the Burner. My Grifter was metallic red and slowly disintegrated over a ten year period. The one in the picture is obviously owned by someone who had a BMX as well.

I didn’t realise at the time that it would become a collector’s item but I rediscovered it and a whole load of other bikes from the past the other day.

The foam strip on the handlebars and the foam seat gradually fell to pieces over the years (assisted by the irresistable tendancy to pick at it – it was very pickable). Also the curved forks had a tendancy to bend when you tried to do anything like jumping or whatever BMX kids can do. My poor Grifter ended up in a bush in my parents back garden where it slowly rusted – I found it some 10 years later and I’m not sure it still isnt there another 20 years down the line.

In the same place was a GENUINE gold-plated Burner – this one was the 500,000th produced.

But perhaps best of all we found three C5’s – one of the all-time Great British follies in innovation. These electric/peddle powered machines were going to revolutionise British commuting in the 1980s – until people realised that because they were so low they were effectively death traps (little red flags on long poles stuck on the back weren’t enough to convince the cautious public) – you simply could’t see them until you had run over them.

Would you go to work in this?

Finally a truly classy piece of construction from 1995 – a 200 mph carbon fibre effort (200 mph – seriously?)

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