From tea towels and ships in bottles to bargain bikes

Romantic - Saddam Hussein

CLIVE SMITH: Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn about Valentine’s Day

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I was delighted to stumble across the Motiv8 shop at the Gosport ferry and bus terminal, in the large space that once housed a newsagent/gift shop.

How I loved that old den of curiosities. If ever I needed something cheap and cheerful with a nautical element, that was the place to go. Tea towels, ships in bottles, cigarettes and Mars bars all under one roof.

And, if I was cold and wet and idly waiting for a bus, I could hang out in there and inspect everything on offer, happily using up 45 minutes. In fact, what could be better?

Motiv8 isn’t better, it’s different, and just as good in its own way.

I went there to buy a secondhand bike for my youngest daughter. It’s long been my policy to buy cheap bikes for the kids as then I don’t stress too much when they fling them to the ground instead of leaning them against something, or when they’re inadvertently left out in the rain.

New bikes would cause me no end of worry. But old bikes work well and for £20-£30 a time I’m not complaining about a little bit of rust. And if the children choose to pimp them up, who cares?

Plus, while my three are growing faster than mould in a warm fridge, it suits me fine.

I wish that I could employ the secondhand principle in so many other aspects of their lives. Shoes, there’s a good one. They cost me a fortune and I do care very much about how the kids treat their footwear. But I read somewhere that it’s awfully bad to wear cast-off shoes.

I don’t know if that’s a medical fact, or if it was an uber marketing move by Clarks. Either way, it’s stuck in my mind, and I can’t bring myself to skimp on the shoes.

So Motiv8, with its window full of wheels and steel and eclectic cycles, called to me... and I followed.

The guys that work there were only too happy to answer my eight-year-old’s concerns and queries and let her have a test ride around the block. They adjusted this, that and the other before she cycled away a happy customer, while I looked at the bike maintenance courses on offer.

It turns out that Motiv8 is all about community action and working with young people. To find out more, go to