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Special Chopperation

Karin Johnstone takes a nostalgic wander around the Billing Raleigh Chopper and Retro Show

I’ve heard more than one person say that the long summer lockdown took them back to the summers of their youth. For me that’s the 70’s when we did what kids do best…hang out on the racecourse and ride our bikes round and round the block. It’s sad that I can’t remember my bike but if I could have an imagined bike that would be easy. It would be a red Chopper…long black elongated seat…my arms held out over extended handle bars, riding in a ‘born to be wild’ style. 

The Chopper – the bike of ultimate cool still works its magic. Anyone that watched the Netflix series Stranger Things will spot that the bikes are the business, all three kids in the show riding Chopper style bikes. So, when I saw that there was a Retro Chopper and Retro Raleigh show at Billing I had to get there. 

Flagpoles marked the area with rows and rows of stalls each one with different types of shiny retro bikes, with dealers from around the country. The dealers, some bearded and tattooed, some with heavy chains around their necks, would not look amiss on Harley Davidsons but instead we had the kid version of this. 

I guess the secret yearning was to find an old bike and buy it but this idea was soon blown away by the price tag of several hundred pounds. There were some kids riding the bikes but mostly grown-ups riding over the bumpy tracks of Billing Aquadrome, a place that fits the 70’s vibe. The iconic Chopper is loaded with nostalgia and it speaks to a time that was simpler.

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