Ireland in the Fixties ~ Transport
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Like most of you, I assume, my first mode of transport was a tricycle or trike. Not just a small toy one but a proper one with a chain, brakes, tyres, tubes and mudguards. When I was about 6, it was stolen and I don't think I was ever close to one since. We even had a tricycle race at the local Children's Sports! As an adult, you probably had a 'High Nelly' similar to the Pashley Princess or the Raleigh pictured above.

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If you did ride a bike, it was vital to be equipped with a puncture repair outfit which came in a small, hinged, tin box. Inside were some rubber patches, powdered chalk, a yellow crayon, a small square of fine sandpaper and a tube of 'solution' (vulcanising glue). Turn your bike upside down, prise the tyre off with two kitchen forks (doing a Uri Geller in the process!), pull out the offending tube, pump it up and quickly, before it goes flat, submerge it in a basin of water until you see the bubbles. Keep your eye on it, dry the tube and mark it with the yellow crayon. Select a suitable rubber patch and roughen the area around the hole with the sandpaper. Apply some 'solution', press on the patch, wipe off excess glue and puff around it with the powdered chalk so that it won't stick to the inside of the tyre. Put the tube and tyre back on the rim, pump it up, leave the two bent forks back in the kitchen and cycle away as fast as you can before your mother sees them!

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Some of us were lucky (or daredevil) enough to graduate to a Honda 50 before our first car. Some of us were also unlucky enough to fall off one. While watching the traffic (and taking registration numbers) on its way to the Galway Races every summer, I would sometimes see a motorbike with a sidecar and I thought that the design and concept was just wonderful.

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francis k. 2008