Me and my yellow chopper


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Iconic bicycle design...

Before adulthood, before higher education, before Jenny, Jayne and Joanna.

Before Grace and Eliot.

Before art and Renoir, Dali, Warhol, Basquiat, Titian and falling into an adolescent unrequited love with my art teacher.

Before sculpture and Giacometti, Hepworth, Moore and Gormley.

Before music and Bolan, Bowie, the Floyd, John Foxx, Joy Division, New Order, Chicane, Ferry Corsten, Nick Drake, John Martyn, Van Morrison, Górecki and Allegri's Misserie.

Before Literature and Amis, Hitchens, Tolkien, Acker, Swift, Blake, Owen and the others, before Chaucer and Sam Harris.

Before photography and Bailey, Avedon, Bert Stern, Bresson, Lichfield and Mankowitz.

Before architecture, Mies Van der rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Bauhaus and modernism.

Before Lotus cars and Colin Chapman, Ayrton Senna and my Lotus Elite 2.2 and the magenta Triumph GT6 that Jayne and I owned.

Before the birth of multimedia, the world wide web and business. Before both good times and bad. there was this...

Yellow Raleigh Chopper - Mark 1

Sunset Yellow Mark 1 Raleigh Chopper

One sunny morning circa 1972, I saw Steven Livingstone, who lived just along the landing on Tidey Street, London, coming back from the newsagents on Devons Road, with his copy of Scorcher magazine, chewing on Black Jacks and Fruit Salad, riding his new yellow Raleigh Chopper. To my eyes, in 1972, this looked like Apollo 11.

"It was the ultimate object of desire."

Colin Anthony

11 year old boy from London

Sadly, like a lot of other parents, my mum simply could not afford the £34 and 19 Shillings (that's around £360 in new money). She was simply too busy, keeping the wolf from the door.

Below is a picture of me aged 11. The boy behind the wall is Harry Wright. To the best of my knowledge he was the same age as Paul, my younger brother. This image was taken by Paul around the same time that I became aware of the Raleigh Chopper. I am reclining on the wall we used as the net for our summer tennis tournaments.
This is Tidey Street in Bow, London E3. It was a truly wonderful place to live, and to be 11.
(I'm not sure my mother would agree?)

Colin Anthony Aged 11 & Harry Wright - Circa 1972

Colin Anthony Age 11 - with Harry Wright - Tidey Street E3 London Circa 1972

Copyright - Paul Anthony

I would have to wait until I was in my late forties (Over 35 years later) until I owned a yellow Raleigh Chopper.

I bought it on eBay.

It did not look like this when I bought it. I lovingly restored EVERY NUT AND BOLT, or replaced parts that were beyond restoring with original parts from around the world.

I am only going to admit to restoring one Raleigh Chopper, as restoring more than one would make me a very sad individual indeed wink

I hope you enjoy viewing the images - Colin

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  1. Phil Hardcastle

    Looks like I was able to convince my Mum at exactly the same time that Steven Livingstone did his. I owned an identical yellow chopper to this when I was 11 so actually 1971 but hey, why split hairs. She got mine out of her Littlewoods catalogue on the never never.

    I absolutely adored that bike and, like you Col, thought it was just about the space ageist thing available outside of Cape Canaveral. We had recently emigrated from Leyton out to Harlow New Town at the time so I had the benefits of the best cycle path network in the country to enjoy my bike (Thank you Sir Frederick Gibberd). I clocked up untold miles on it without ever riding on a road which was a dream really and may also explain why I am a danger to traffic if ever let lose on two wheels on proper roads to this day.

    Sadly, mine went west a very long time ago but the memories are still as strong. 3 speed Sturmey Archer gears on the cross bar, a sponge padded, long, 2 man seat that soaked up water if left out in the rain and low slung monkey handlebars that it was all to easy to fly through if you braked too hard. They don’t make ’em like that anymore which may well be for the best but I felt like a king riding it.

    Thanks for sharing mate.

    • Mr Colin Anthony

      Such an iconic design and an enormous item of desire for me 🙂
      I hope you are all well Phil.


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