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Dad puts Lincolnshire family holiday on hold to get his hands on limited edition Raleigh Chopper bike

Dad puts Lincolnshire family holiday on hold to get his hands on limited edition Raleigh Chopper bike

A man who had interrupted a family holiday in Lincolnshire was one of the first to get his hands on a new limited edition version of the iconic Raleigh Chopper bike. Mike O’Reilly, 45, left his wife, two children and his mum at their rented cottage to head to the Nottingham city centre shop to secure a bike at 7am with his dad.

The original MK2 was released in 1972 and more than 50 years on, 550 excited fans joined the queue at the Experience Raleigh shop for the new version, Nottinghamshire Live reports. Thousands more joined a virtual queue online in a bid to buy the bike from the website.

Mike, who lives in Middlesbrough and works as a road safety officer for the local council, said: “We had a VIP pass to get in a bit earlier. What brings me here today is the love of the bike and the joy it brings. I was about five or six when I had one. My grandad got one from the pub or tip or something.

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“I used to ride around at my nanna’s at the weekend. I loved it then and I got into the scene when I realised there was such a following for these things. It’s so iconic. It brings people together, look how many people are here today.”

Asked what makes it so special, the 45-year-old said: “It’s how unusual it is – there’s nothing else like it. Many have tried to copy it but you always call it a Chopper, whenever you see a bike that looks like it. I think people have some fond memories of them. We all want to take a step back into our childhood and the past and I think this helps people do that. This place will be pumping for hours. Everyone’s just talking about it all day long.”

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Large queues outside The Raleigh Experience in Maid Marian Way, Nottingham city centre.(Image: Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post)

Reminiscing about the second-hand Chopper he rode as a child, Mike said: “My grandad used to buy and sell bikes all the time, so it would have been sold on. I remember it was a red MK2 and had the wrong tyre on the front as it had had a puncture and grandad just put a tyre on it that he had and I rode around on it for a few years and then I probably outgrew it, as you did then.

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  • June 25, 2023