real life cycling

Retro stylings in a peloton of Mods

I’ve never immersed myself in the scooter scene.

I wouldn’t know a Vespa from a Lambretta (were it not helpfully written on the side). I don’t own a green Parka and I found Quadrophenia no more than mildly diverting. I like the thing they do with the wing mirrors and enjoy a spot of Northern Soul, but beyond that, it’s not for me.

I certainly never imagined I would spend a Sunday morning being swept along, lung deep in two-stroke engine fumes, within the main peloton of a scooter rally.

 

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I, of course, was pedalling.

I joined the throng as I swooped out from a junction at the moment they appeared around a bend. Heading, no doubt, for nearby Morecambe; run-down seaside resort and natural home of tatty-vintage.

It was a complimentary nod to my winter form and a damning critique of the power to weight ratio of your average scooter that on flat stretches of road my new friends would eke a way past me, but when traffic (or uphill gradient) intervened I would catch them. Thus I yo-yoed between front and back of this pack of retro oddities.

We clocked up several kilometres in this way and I began to feel like one of the gang; although, in my undoubtedly natty winter cycling kit, I was no Phil Daniels. Shame I wasn’t wearing something Mod-related from Velobici.

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They were all chequerboard stylings, coats with big hoods, and, oddly, what looked to me like racoon tails hanging from their scooters and wafting in the wind.

Did I imagine this? 

Is the racoon tail a Mod thing?

Sure, I’d been pushing hard on the bike for a couple of hours, but didn’t think I’d quite reached the hallucinatory-racoon-tail stage of calorie deficit.

Generally, particularly on Sundays, I like to ride my bike for the peace and quiet of it. I like a country lane and a spot of birdsong. But I couldn’t help feeling a bit of a buzz as me and the gang marauded through villages, engines at a high pitched fuzz, while old-folks on the way to church scowled and muttered.

Being gently rebellious.

It was also a cold day – in the minuses – and the combined warmth of a couple of dozen overworked underpowered engines was palpable. Packed into this peloton life was cosy. I even got a fist bump, at one point, from a big lad on a yellow machine.

Clearly the stylings of my Pearson Cycles winter jacket had caught his eye.

Finally, on a long stretch of favourable terrain, this rabble of Mods pulled away and left me to my solitude. Pete Townshend’s power chords ringing in my ears. A petrol taste in my mouth. And a mental note to check the Castelli website for cycling specific decorative racoon tails.

 


 

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