Thank you for all the contributions to the last prompt The Biggest Change : the responses were insightful and thought provoking. I enjoyed reading and reflecting on all of them. This month’s prompt I am expecting to see differences between generations and geographical differences. I wonder if my expectations will prove correct or not. This time we are looking at bicycles. Were they a part of your childhood? Your adulthood? Where did you ride?
Please join in giving your location at the time of your memory and your generation. An explanation of the generations and the purpose of the prompts along with conditions for joining in can be seen at the Times Past Page. Join in either in the comments or by creating your own post and linking. Looking forward to your memories.
Baby Boomer Australia Rural then city
My immediate thought was that I didn’t ride a bike as a child so what do I find – the first photo was of me riding a tricycle with my brother standing pillion in Central park New York. I was too young to remember our time in the States but obviously I had my feet to the pedals at that time.
On our return to Australia neither of us had a bike. My brother agitated and eventually received one for his birthday probably around 13 or 14 years of age.
I was as jealous as one could be of his new found freedom and although I then begged for a bike none was forth coming. His bike gave him the ability to ride to his friend’s farm and to other friends in town that were too far to walk to. The only times I experienced this level of freedom was on the couple of occasions that my friend lent me her sister’s bike and we rode round the streets near her house. I believed that my parents didn’t think that riding a bike was a ladylike activity as in those days I rarely wore anything other than a dress. However, I think this is probably incorrect as I have seen pictures in recent years of my mother and sister riding their bikes to school.
It wasn’t until I was in my second year as a trainee nurse that I took up bike riding. My friend and I both bought a bike as a form of transport. The first lot of days off that we had together we decided to ride to Gosford around 8o kms there and another 80 back. Embarrassingly, dressed in the same outfit (Bay City Rollers striped sox were all the rage) we set off.
The bikes were ladies bikes with back pedal brakes and no gears. The road to Gosford was mountainous. The first hill I rode down, quite close to the hospital, I picked up a good amount of speed and I found that standing on my brakes did not allow me to stop before I slid across the intersection. It put the fear of God into me and from that time I walked down the hills that were more than a gentle incline. Without gears and not using the momentum of the downhill run I found I then had to walk up most of the hills. We were exhausted by the time we got to Gosford and decided to cheat on the return by riding to Patonga, staying the night and then catching the mail boat back to the other side of the Hawkesbury River to Brooklyn. We woke that night in our tent with the river seeping in as we hadn’t realised just how high the tide would make the river rise.
That was the end of our bike riding days. The bike went with me to a flat at Manly where it sat in the hall and rusted. I don’t recall taking it with me when I moved out.
Recently I again hopped upon a bike and ended up purchasing one which I did manage to ride home. It has sit on our porch for the six weeks since I bought it unused apart from a friend who took it for a ride. Soon I am going to start. Very soon but they are memories that are yet to be made.
Baby Boomer – St Alabans, Queens, New York USA
Baby Boomer – suburbs New York USA
I’m looking forward to reading your memories……. and don’t forget that if you are interested in memoir check out the series on the second Friday of the month over at Carrot Ranch. Join in the conversation.
Baby Boomer – Tainan, Taiwan
Baby Boomer – Rural UK
Gen X – city South Africa