Shaun Ryder feels ''really lucky'' he could afford to avoid injecting heroin during his younger years.

The Happy Mondays frontman started getting close to girls in his early teens and smoked his first cigarette aged just 10 years old before turning to hard drugs, but is relieved he had enough money to ensure he didn't have to ''f**k around with needles''.

Shaun - who has now quit drink, drugs and smoking - said: ''I did a lot of drugs, but I know the dance. So I never got into injecting. I didn't f**k around with needles.

''I was really lucky I could afford to go out and buy heroin in ounces and not have to stick it in the needle to get the biggest effect. I could smoke it.

''But f**k me, it could easily have gone another way.

''I'm on the e-cigs now. I had my first cigarette at 10.

''But back then everyone smoked and started at 10. Started sh***ing girls around 13. Started drinking and partying around the same time.

''That's just being a kid, innit? Maybe it's changed a little bit now, I don't know.''

The 55-year-old singer has turned to climbing mountains and cycling to get in shape nowadays after years of drug taking, which caused him to lose his teeth, and he felt ''embarrassed'' acting like a teenager later in his life.

He added to The Sun newspaper: ''I have been swimming and cycling and walking - I just climbed Ben Nevis with the kids.

''And when I got clean, I never got into religion or turned Jehovah or any of that silly b*****s. I just did it.

''I'd had enough of living the same life I'd been living at 17. That was embarrassing.

''I'd out-smoked myself, out-e'd myself, out-charlied myself, out-whizzed myself, out-drunk myself.''

The 'Loose Fit' hitmaker - who previously admitted his heroin habit was out of control by 1992 - recently credited cycling with helping him to kick drugs into touch.

He said: ''It was cycling that got me off drugs. I'd get on my bike very early in the morning and keep cycling until very late at night, day after day, until it was out of the system. I was pedalling from 8am until 11pm. But once that's done, you still have to deal with the mental stuff.''