I acquired my first bike a week after my 11th birthday when I started at Humberstone Foundation (grammar) School. My legs were not very long at that stage, and it could be hard work, pedaling against a strong headwind. In addition to the daily commute to and from school, my friends and I would often cycle into the countryside or along the foreshore for sightseeing pleasure trips. The roads were not as clogged with fast-moving cars as they are now, so this posed few dangers.
One day my sister and I decided to cycle unannounced the 30 miles to Scunthorpe, to visit my aunt and her family who lived there. It was much further than any trip either of us had previously undertaken, but it was basically one main road all the way, not difficult to navigate. It took us just over 3 hours, including a couple of refreshment stops along the way. We arrived pretty exhausted at my aunt’s to be treated to chocolate ice-cream. Meanwhile my aunt phoned a neighbour of my grandmother who lived a few houses away, and had one of the only private phones in the street, to report we were safe and well and would be spending the night at my aunt’s. The next day my sister cycled back, while I was put on a train with my bicycle for the 1-hour return trip.