There are many ways to celebrate the milestone of turning 50 and local man Steve Buckingham of Wadhurst, East Sussex, chose to mark the occasion by turning back the clock to the 1980s when, as a 16 year-old, he owned and rode a funky 50cc moped.
Steve challenged himself, his brothers and some friends, to buy and restore 1970s and 1980s 50cc mopeds, ride them from Wadhurst to Bridport, Dorset, and back and raise money for Diabetes UK along the way.
Steve says it seemed like the perfect match. “Mopeds were a big part of our life when we were teenagers,” he said.
“We all have very fond memories of those years; ‘50 for 50’ seemed like a great excuse to re-visit our teenage years.”
Steve’s brother, Malcolm, says they first came up with the idea around six months ago and had fun finding mopeds and fixing them up.
“We created a Facebook group so we could post ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures, and share our challenges and triumphs as we restored the bikes,” he said.
Completing the eight-strong squad were Steve’s brothers, Terry and twins Rory and Alastair, Steve’s son Thomas, and friends Carlton Roberts and Mark Sheard.
Steve may well have been inspired by Jasper Carrott’s 1970s hit song ‘Funky Moped’ as he joined the rest of the 50 for 50 team to start the ride on July 21.
Steve’s two sisters drove a ‘support vehicle’ loaded with tools and spare parts, and other essentials including tents and sleeping bags.
“We were leapfrogging the mopeds, meeting them at pre-scheduled stops every hour or so all the way down and back,” said Steve’s sister Rose.
Steve celebrated his milestone half century birthday during the ride, on July 23, and the 360 mile round trip took two days in each direction.
With a top speed of around 25 miles an hour the easy riders had the opportunity to raise a collection for Diabetes UK from onlookers along the way.
Steve’s sister, Jackie says the choice of charity was inspired by Steve’s son, Thomas, who has Type 1 diabetes. “Thomas was diagnosed when he was nine, and he amazed us all by taking it completely in his stride,” she said.
“He was really courageous and has never made a fuss about his condition. Diabetes is on the rise, so if we can raise money to help fight this disease while also having a bit of fun, then that’s a good weekend’s work.”
Sponsorship money is still coming in but to date the team have raised over £1,000.
For further information on the ride, to see more photos or to donate visit the dedicated Facebook page at: https://m.facebook.com/Steves-50cc-for-50th-for-Diabetes-UK-1764816727089135/