CLICK HERE to go back to Story Index
Raleigh Chopper Owners Club
This e-mail was sent to us from a Chopper fan in the UK .
(As with all the E-mails sent to us, we do NOT publish the senders e-mail address)
I've just read "Rons Chopper Story" and it
reminded me of my first
chopper so I thought I'd send you the story. If you want to stick it on the
webpage that'd be cool if not don't worry I won't be offended; I know I'm
"It was january '95 and I was 16 years old; I'm sat in Maths reading Ride
BMX magazine. There's an advert in the back for "2 mint Raleigh Choppers.
Barely used £50 each" The seed was sown I couldn't remember the last time
I'd seen an old chopper and the last time I rode one I could still remember
my old dear shouting "Get off that stupid bike, it's dangerous!" I had to
I phoned the guy and sure enough he still had them. I had £35 in my pocket
and a pack lunch in my rucksack. Off we went in search of the holy grail. 13
miles of BMX saddle hell and we arrived but the price was £50 and if you
want one it'll cost you £50. My offer was flatly refused. Why didn't I just
borrow the cash and buy both of them there and then I still don't know. They
were absolutely mint.
A year or so passed when suddenly this new "Howies" T-shirt company brought
out an advert of a guy pulling a massive air over a tabletop doing some
ridiculous jump that you'd shat yourself doing on a BMX but he was on a
chopper! The time had come once more......I needed one of them bad boys.
My friends all thought I was an idiot but word got round that I wanted one
of them stupid chopper bikes and a few weeks later all my Christmas' arrived
We'd snook out the back of the science labs for a fag when all of a sudden
there she was; the most beautiful girl in school and she was walking towards
me, I couldn't believe it. The conversation went as follows
"Alright Bob. Emily says you want one of them old chopper bikes. What for?"
"I dunno, 'spose it'll be cool, why?"
"My brother's got one in the garden"
"I'll have it"
"It's knackered I think"
"I don't care, I'll have it"
"Ok call me later" gives me her number on a scrap of paper
That afternoon I felt as though I was king of the school. I had Vicki T's
phone number and my chopper was on it's way. Could life get any better?
I phoned her later that night and she put her brother on the phone; he
thought I was an idiot too but I didn't care so I agreed to go round the
As I arrived at the house my heart was pounding, I couldn't wait to see my
baby all sparkly and shiny and ready to ride home.
He answered the door and told me to come through to the back, he'd forgotten
to sort it out. As we walked into the garden I thought I was gonna explode
with excitement but where was the chopper?, I couldn't see it anywhere I
started to panic.
"Dad, where's my old chopper?"
"By the compost heap son"
I could see it, it wasn't by the compost heap, it was the compost heap. I
fished it out, it was ugly, it was horrible but..........it was a chopper
and it was soon to be mine.
He'd told me £20 over the phone. Now I'd seen it I offered him £10. The deal
was struck at £15 and I started to carry it to the front of the house where
my friend had unwittingly offered to help by taking it home in his Beetle.
As we put the pieces down so I could get my wallet out I'll never forget the
"Just give us a tenner actually, it's a bit rustier than I thought"
My mate couldn't believe I was handing over money for this thing and he
suggested I tie it to the back bumper rather than put it in his car. I
couldn't hear him I'd fallen in love I had a chopper.
The frame was bad; it had to be rewelded at both rear dropouts, both sides
of the seatpost cleat, one of the rear downtubes and both sides of the rear
brake hanger. There was no paint on it whatsoever except for a small
fragment of orange where a sticker had protected it. I arrived home and I'm
sure a lot of you have seen the look of "happiness" on our loved ones faces
when we arrive back with something as exciting as this.
That week I worked my back off to make it rideable. A trip to a local
raleigh shop netted a NOS front mudguard, NOS tyres, NOS cables all round, a
few NOS 'R' nuts and a pair of NOS handlebars. The other chrome cleaned up
well and following a dozen coats of filler primer and red oxide the frame
looked nearly presentable. It was finished albeit in red oxide primer at 2am
on Friday morning and set off for Bug Jam at 6pm that night complete bar a
toggle chain. Including everything I bought for the bike and the bike itself
it cost me just over £100!
That weekend I was the bees knees; all of a sudden all those people who'd
laughed at my dreams suddenly understood and it was the hottest ticket in
town; so much so that I spent my Saturday night repairing a puncture. I met
a chap at the show called Digger who had a Chopper too; He had some spares
for them but he'd not bought any with him but for some reason had a spare
toggle chain in his van, What's the chance of that? He knew his stuff and he
informed me that I was the proud owner of a 1970 mk 1 bike.
Since then I guess I've had about a dozen bikes most of which I still own.
I've never owned a "perfect" bike and never want to really. It's not that I
don't appreciate them just that I like choppers because they're fun to ride,
fun to wheelie and fun to cruise and owning the "perfect" bike would detract
from my enjoyment of that: I'd cack myself worrying about damaging it!