Was your first one a Grifter, BMX or a Chopper?

Sometimes I read about possible deals in the press and the company involved stirs distant childhood memories. A case in point is the story that broke late yesterday regarding the sale of Raleigh Cycles, the 125- year old, Nottingham-based cycle manufacturer, to its Dutch rival Accell.

I have nothing personal against Accell, who define themselves in a very serious looking website as being “active internationally in the mid-range and higher segments of the market for bicycles, bicycle parts and accessories and fitness equipment”, but here we have a deal that will remove an iconic British brand from British ownership.

Raleigh was sold to its management back in 2001 and moved all production of its cycles to Asia soon afterwards in 2002, but the increased availability of cheaper bikes through more generalist retail chains and specialist online sites like wiggle.com have contributed to continued difficult trading conditions for Raleigh.

My first bike as a child was a little purple Raleigh complete with stabilisers, and I have also owned a Raleigh bike as an adult. But having taken up cycling again recently, and when looking for a lightweight, well specced and competitively priced road bike, my friend - who was a professional cyclist - didn’t even consider looking at Raleigh.

And this may well be typical of the company’s problems, in that while no doubt many of us remember their bikes fondly from our childhood, too few of the serious cyclists look to Raleigh for their adult bikes.

If Accell do acquire the company and keep the brand alive then maybe this will change…