Episode 46. Falcon Long Beach. (Part 1).

Today in my wisdom or otherwise I decided to take my two little monsters out for the day as they were bouncing off the walls at home. So as Mrs Clint was out at work we climbed into the Chev-suzu, and headed off. Initially Hayling Island was to be the destination, but as we arrived at the junction I decided to head on! The Chev-suzu hadn't had a run for a while, so I decided that Worthing is where we'd stop for a bit, and maybe drop in on my cousin. I've not been there for ages, so why not? Well, why not? Basicially because I got lost, and eventually ended up in Brighton! No matter, I've not been there in a while either. We parked up, then wandered along the sea front which was lovely, then decided to have a look around the town! It was then that it really cost me money, as we were walking along this street we wandered past this charity shop, and there it was in the window! I knew right away that I'd have to have it, and as Mrs Clint was at work I was without proper adult supervision. But as I told my two little monsters, I was only going in to ask how much it was, and it was going to be far to expensive to buy, so I was just window shopping! What could go wrong? So then I asked the fella behind the till how much the bike in the window was? He said, Oh, fifty quid mate! That was that, I knew right then that I would have to have it! My eldest monster asked me if I really needed another bike, and I told her that although I really didn't need it, it would be a shame to leave it there when we've come all this way, and we have an empty pick up that it would fit in...


Nearly! Besides, it was a charity shop, therefore I was helping them out by giving them money for something that they would have been given for free! She then asked what I thought Mummy would say. I told her that Mummy would be very pleased, as this is one of the charities that she used to volunteer for, so she would be glad that I'd helped them out. So new bike bought, put into the Chev-suzu (almost) and we headed for home, it was getting late, and I don't really like leaving my truck parked with the tailgate open and a bike hanging out the back. Once back at BelongaClint I unloaded the bike, and stood back to have a good long look at it...


Oh yeah... I'm a badass! Its a Falcon Long Beach, and it's big! The wheels are 26" to give you some idea of scale! Well, after a quick look over I decided that I would head on out for a spin to see how it rides! Out on my ride I ended up chatting with a gentleman who is a little more vintage that myself by possibly a good 20-25 years. He was riding along on a Raleigh Lizard, and seemed to know a thing or two about bikes, and was more than happy to share his opinion of my latest bike with me. He told me that Choppers like this are not meant to be ridden, they are just for looking at, and infact the Raleigh Chopper is possibly the most dangerous bike of all time!! I told him that I had to disagree with him there, as a Chopper owner in my youth I found it to be quite a safe bike, yes I had some scrapes and bumps, and even broke my arm on it, but you have to remember that my riding style was a cross between Evel Knievel, and Barry Sheene... I was bound to get knocked about riding like that! He just said, there you go, thats because it was a Chopper. I told him that it wasn't any design fault of the Chopper that got me hurt, pretty much every time it was down to pilot error! I then went on to tell him that when I got too big for my Chopper, I went on to use a normal roadbike, a Halfords Pathfinder as I remember, which was about as normal a looking bike as you could find, and on that thing (because of my riding style!) I got really hurt, infact at one point I got a broken nose, and jaw on that all in one go! That was a bad day, and one that even today thinking about it as I write this I can feel the pain to the point that I've just rubbed my nose, chin, and forehead, and this all happened over thirty years ago! I don't honestly like thinking about it even now... Anyway, we had a lengthy chat about the Falcon, and to cut a long story short, he didn't like it, as he thought it would be dreadful to ride! I offered him a go, but he declined as he preferred proper bikes... Hmm, should introduce him to some of my other crap! Now I can understand from a handling stand point that he's probably right, it's not going to be the sharpest handling bike out there. But then this is just horses for courses. If I wanted something that handled crisply, then hanging onto the Giant racer would've been a good thing to do. But sharp handling is not what I'm after. My riding style is no longer a cross between Evel Knievel and Barry Sheene thankfully! I like to just cruise along these days, I'm not in a hurry, I'm not trying to set a lap record, I just want to waft along happily. I don't want to dress like a lycra clad Power Ranger when I'm out on my bike, I want jeans and a T-shirt. So I told him this, and his respose was, well I guess it's ok, if you just want to look cool and pose around on your bike like you're the Fonz or something! Wow!! The Fonz! I'm gonna take that as a compliment, I do want to look cool like the Fonz! Sadly on the way home I rode past a supermarket window and realised that I don't look cool like the Fonz, if anything I look like Mr Cunningham (at best) on the Fonz's bike! Oh well never mind! But up until that point I was Arthur Fonzarelli cruising through town on my bike! Damn those big windows! Thing is though, the old boy did make me chuckle, he said to me, when I've had as many bikes as him, I would know a thing or two about bikes that are good to ride, and bikes that are not! So I then asked him if he at any point had owned a cycle shop? He said that he hadn't. So I asked him how many bikes he'd actually owned. He said that in his life he's probably owned thirty or so!! I said to him, Thirty or so... Thats a lot!! I didn't have the heart to tell him I probably have that amount right now! I then went on to say that out of these thirty or so bikes how many where Choppers, or Chopper style bikes? He said that none of them were, they're dangerous! So I said to him, ok then, how many Choppers have you ridden? He said, none, because they're... I know I said, dangerous! Right, he said! So then I said, ok then, so based on NO first hand experience, therefore just heresay propably based on the early Mk1 Rasleigh Chopper, you've made judgements that you believe to be true, but only because of what you've been told, or read. He thought for a while as we rode along, but eventually said that he believed it to be true, even thought he had no experience, or had even known anywone who had ever owned a Chopper that had told him it was dangerous. So I said, well, I've had quite a few Chopper style bikes, and admittedly, I've not had one this big before, but I think it will be no less safe than any of the other bikes in my collection. And if he should ever feel the need to try riding a Chopper for himself, then he should just let me know! It was a pleasant enough ride, and to be fair I quite enjoyed the conversation. I kinda hope I run into him again (not litterally!) Although next time I hope to be on my Kalkoff, or something else that isn't Choppery! See what we chat about then!


However, no doubt you're wondering what Mrs Clint thought of it when she saw it. Well, the first thing she said was that it was big, and quickly follwed that up by asking if I really needed another bike? My respose to this was, but I don't have one of these! She said that was fair enough! As for my plans for it, well, I don't know, I think I'll ride it about a bit before deciding if its a keeper, but if it turns out to be, then I think a winter strip down, and a new coat of paint will be in order, but we'll have to see how it goes, but in the meantime... Let's ride! 

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