HawRADen BMX Ride
Saturday 24th October 2015
My mate Danny is into BMX. He gets BMX bike parts, builds the BMX bikes, rides the BMX bikes too. Proper, old school BMX bikes – Haro, Mongoose, Raleigh – all the vintage legends. He was into BMX when he was a kid in the 80’s, and a few years ago rediscovered his passion.
Nowadays, in addition to hunting down vintage bike parts to build his dream machines, he also meets up with other enthusiasts for a ride. Apparently this is what these BMX geezers do: all over the North West, even all over the country, they meet up and go for a ride together. There’s usually breaks in the ride for refreshments (ie they stop at a pub or two – soft drinks, obviously…).
Dan decided to organise a local gathering for riders, which would take place in and around the home area of Hawarden in Flintshire, North Wales. This all sounded like good fun to me. I was invited and decided to tag along.
My only problem was the fact that I don’t own a BMX bike, at least not anymore. That left me with two options: my mountain bike or my Schwinn low rider.
It had to be the low rider. The Schwinn is a retro styled bike that looks like a Harley Davidson chopper, but pedal powered. I figured this bike was my best bet, it has a cool look and was a little different. Also I decided to kit myself out in heavy metal/biker gear – rock t-shirt, bandanna, mirrored shades. Not taking the mickey, but I thought I might as well go the whole hog, on my hog.
So off I went, a Happy Shopper Dennis Hopper, to join the ride.
The meet up point was the Fox and Grapes pub in Hawarden village. Luckily they were a friendly bunch, so although I only knew Dan, I wasn’t left out. With a few stragglers to round up, we just made the train from Hawarden station up to Buckley. It was just one stop and a free fare for most of these BMX bandits.
A short ride then up to the Shamrock in Buckley, where the owner, also a BMX aficionado, laid on some food. Good stuff, great boozer. More BMXers met up with the original party here and the group grew a few more.
By the time we left the Shamrock on the ride across Buckley, there must have been twenty odd BMX riders (plus one Easy Rider interloper). The ride was through the streets and finally the first downhill stretch of the day, which was a relief. It’s hard work without gears, this bike riding malarkey.
A short break at the Parrot in Drury and we were off again, this time a nice long downhill stretch to Ewloe. I think a few heads turned as drivers and passers-by clocked the throng of bikers rolling down the road. One rider got a little too rad and ended up with the only injury of the day – but we all have to pay our dues some time.
The final stop, for me, at any rate – was the Running Hare in Ewloe. Never my favourite pub, never the less the open space outdoors for bikes and riders was ideal.
Throughout the afternoon, there were stories told and memories recalled of bikes and adventures from our youth. There was a very positive and fun atmosphere. It was all very light hearted and I was made to feel welcome, despite not having a BMX bike.
The group then rode on to complete the circuit back at the Fox. I bailed out and rolled down the hill to home, having enjoyed a great afternoon of nostalgia and banter. These BMX bike rides are a great idea – here’s to all the Rad Dads and other forty somethings keeping the dream alive.
My Christmas list this year will feature a BMX bike, for the first time since about 1984.