A SCOOTER rider aged 78 is giving up her favourite transport after more than six decades of two-wheeled adventures.
Pat Leng’s passion for scooters dates back to her teenage days — but she is reluctantly quitting because of the weight of the vehicle.
“After 61 years, I have decided to hang up my helmet,” said Pat, of Whiston. “I had my first scooter, a Lambretta 125cc LD, as soon as l was old enough.
“My father had bought it but he didn’t take to it. I was 17 years old and I took it over.
“In those days, you didn’t have to wear a helmet and you rode near to the hedge so that you fell into something soft if you came off. Of course, there was not the volume of traffic on our roads that there is now.”
She added: “My employment included evening work so joining a scooter club was not an option.
“My husband of 53 years, Bruce, is not interested in scooters or motorbikes but has always encouraged me to follow my passion for scooters.
“A few years ago, I took him up the French Alps on a 110cc Peugeot Luxor scooter. That was very exciting.”
On one occasion, when Bruce was rector at Handsworth, Pat heard a “terrible noise” outside and spotted youngsters on Honda 50s churning up the football field at the back of the church.
She jumped on her own two wheels and chased them off — even seizing one of their bikes until the police dealt with the matter.
Pat, of Whiston, says she has lost count of how many scooters she has owned over the years. Two years ago, she had a serious accident — although it was not while riding.
“I broke my femur very badly playing table tennis at my club,” said Pat. “I had to have pins, screws and a plate inserted.
“I sold my scooter back to the dealership and then every month for a year, on a Saturday afternoon, went back to see about getting another one!
“Eventually, after 11 months, I was fit enough and bought a 124cc Piaggio Liberty.
“Sadly, another year and four months later, the weight of the scooter has become too heavy for me. Riding it is no problem, especially down the Parkway at rush hour. That’s exciting!
“But when I have to move it manually or move it on or off its stand, it has proved very, very difficult.
“After it nearly fell on me a few weeks ago, I realised the immense damage it would do to me.”
Pat says the love of riding is “in the blood” — and this seems to have been proven when she met some relatives for the first time.
“I am adopted and have always wondered where my passion for two wheels came from,” she said. “By some incredible strange turn of fate, I discovered my blood family 12 years ago and my question was answered.
“Several of my new-found family were serious bikers. They travelled to America, hired powerful motorbikes and journeyed from north to south America on sponsored charity runs for Cancer Research.”
Pat and Bruce lived on a narrow boat for five years — although are enjoying the fact that all the family can visit them now they are back on dry land.
“Before that, we were motorhome enthusiasts,” added Pat. “Many years later, I am now wondering what new adventure lies ahead.
“I think age is something you just have to look in the eye. It need not be a barrier to what you can achieve.
“As we become older, we do not need to stop doing what we enjoy but perhaps do things in a different way.
“We need to believe in ourselves, then we will achieve. My motto has always been: ‘I can, I will, I have.’”