Alan Oakley (designer)

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Alan Oakley
Born(1927-04-27)27 April 1927
Died18 May 2012(2012-05-18) (aged 85)
Known forDesigning the Raleigh Chopper bicycle

Alan Oakley (27 April 1927 – 18 May 2012)[1] was a British bicycle designer from Nottingham who worked for the Raleigh Bicycle Company.

As Raleigh's chief designer he designed the company's best selling Chopper bicycle.[2] He drew the design for the Chopper on an envelope as he travelled home from the USA, in 1967, inspired to replicate the design of Peter Fonda's character's motorbike in the film Easy Rider. He came up with his drawing as he flew home from the trip, set up for him to "get-to-grips" with youth culture. In the 1980s, production of the Chopper ceased when the rival BMX hit the market, but, due to popular demand, a limited edition Chopper was released in 2004.[2]

Oakley married twice. His first marriage, in 1954, was to Brenda Wilson; the couple had a son and daughter. Oakley was married to Karen Francis from 1992 until his death. Oakley died from cancer, aged 85.[1][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Oakley was born on 27 April 1927 in Netherfield, Nottinghamshire, a small town three miles (5 km) east of Nottingham. The son of a local printer, he was educated at the all-boys Chandos Street School (which amalgamated in 1973 to form Carlton le Willows School).[4][5] Leaving education at 15, Oakley joined the Raleigh Bicycle Company as a trainee draughtsman, producing fuses and turning-out cartridges; war-effort duties that diminished his early involvement in bicycle engineering. Intrigued by aircraft, he joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1941 and later obtained a qualification in mechanical engineering from the University of Nottingham.[5]


  1. ^ a b Alan Oakley (obituary), The Telegraph, 21 May 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Cult bicycle is making a comeback". BBC News. 24 February 2004. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  3. ^ "Raleigh Chopper designer Alan Oakley dies from cancer". BBC News. 20 May 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  4. ^ "DServe Archive Catalog Show". Nottinghamshire County Council. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Alan Oakley – Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. 21 May 2012. Archived from the original on 29 June 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016.

External links[edit]