Fandango’s Friday Flashback: July 3

Inspired by Fandango’s Friday Flashback: July 3

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year….Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?

~~~

I wonder about young children today. What will they remember in the years to come? Just staying distant and wearing masks?

Apparently bicycle riding has become more popular since the pandemic began – among those with access – so perhaps kids forced to stay “distant” will be more apt to gravitate toward solitary outdoor play such as this. I hope so.

“Zooming,” however, takes on a whole new meaning.

The following post was originally published on July 3, 2018

******

Bicycles: Times Past

 

Irene Waters’ “Times Past” prompt challenge topic for this month is: Bicycles.

https://irenewaters19.com/2018/07/01/bicycles-times-past/

I am a baby boomer and grew up in the suburbs of New York and New Jersey, USA

I remember always having some type of 2 or 3 wheeled transportation to call my own when I was a kid.

 

tricycle A010
1956

I started off on a tricycle and stepped up to a “big girl” bike around the age of 5 or 6. Pink, with coaster brakes and a loud horn, this bike was my ticket to freedom – once I fully learned how to stop…. My most vivid bicycle memory is the day my father removed my training wheels. I started pedaling in front of our house – at first wobbly – but with my father’s hand steadying the back I managed to remain upright. I picked up speed as I – by myself!- headed toward the end of the street. After flying by 2 or 3 houses I realized I had absolutely no idea how to slow down and stop. Either nobody told me it was the same as with the training wheels or I simply forgot. Brain cramp. So what did I do? I clearly remember the heart thudding moment-of-panic as I made a split second decision (perhaps my first and that’s why I remember it so well). I steered into the curb and fell over onto the asphalt. Nothing broken. Just a few bumps, scrapes and bruises. Lesson learned.

Bike 1
circa 1959 – my new bike (sister not impressed…)

Despite my early braking mishap, I absolutely loved riding a bike and rode with no fear. When I outgrew (or wore out) the pink one, I got a bigger white bike in the 5th grade. Coaster brakes again. In those days, still no helmet. Despite the fact that my father kept accidentally bumping his car into my “new white bike” (as noted in my diary) it lasted quite a few years. The garage was small for a car plus multiple bikes. There were 4 kids by then.

When I was 10 and 11, I often rode to the small grocery store/strip mall that was 6+ blocks away. Errands for my mother or to get bubble gum and comics for myself. Or sometimes to sample all the perfume spray testers at the drug store with my girlfriend Kathleen. It was mostly downhill from my house. I’d start at our backyard (which bordered another backyard) and take off bumping over grass, tree roots, gravel and into the neighbor’s yard in back. I’d jump the bike over their curb and into the street, turning right. Zooming past about 4 houses, I turned left and then…the best part – a hill straight down bisecting at least 4 streets on the way to the main road and my destination…the Acme! The drug store! My hands flung out to the side. Feet off the pedals. The wind. Nothing like it before or since.  Sometimes I’d shut my eyes for a second or two. Riding back home…uphill…was another story altogether; but totally worth it.

Bike riding was crucial to my quest for exploring the vast suburban wilderness. The many blocks to the candy store, the woods at the end of the street, my friend Kathleen’s house two blocks away. My parents didn’t and couldn’t track me. “Be home by….” was all the direction I got. Priceless freedom.

When I neared the end of high school, I saved up and bought a “folding” bike which I brought to my summer job at a camp in NH. It saved space during travel and was fairly simple to store. I also brought it with me to college where I rode it from one end of campus to the other. Since my first car took center stage after college graduation, I sold my folding bike and moved on.

As an adult – in my late 30’s or early 40’s – I owned a bike again. I wore a helmet. I rode it around the rural neighborhood street where we were raising our kids. Around and around. Kind of boring. I was no longer as fearless. And what’s with the hand brakes??

18 thoughts on “Fandango’s Friday Flashback: July 3

  1. I loved all my bicycles, but maybe most my 3 speed Robin Hood from Montgomery Wards that I had from age 10 until I got out of high school. After that, a Raleigh Record that was my “commute car” through grad school and jobs in Denver. Then China, and my one speed Wu Yang which was my car in Guangzhou. Then a clunky “hybrid” I ultimately replaced with a Nishiki Mountain Bike hard tail and nose — LOVED that bike. Replaced it with a Trek soft nose mtn. bike I didn’t ride very often, then replaced IT with a mtn. bike from REI I sold before I moved here. Now I have a very nice bike but I can’t lift my leg over the seat to get on it which is problematic when the whole goal is FREEDOM and mountain trails. Still, I’m not ready to be without a bicycle. And then there is the sainted Bike to Nowhere. Your description of bikes as freedom is exactly right.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a fantastic collection of bike adventures. Tickets to where you wanted to go and on your own terms. I’m impressed you can recall all their names (must be that card catalogue thing 😉). Thanks – freedom is a sweet feeling – especially to have as a child when it otherwise wasn’t happening. I never had the Bike to Nowhere. As far as I understood it, they mostly function as clothes racks!! Too bad about your current bike situation, but at least you have one at the ready…just in case. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You truly were fearless at a young age!! No way would I have done any of what you described…I guess I was a “grandma” on a bike, as I would have been behind the wheel of a car–but I flunked Driver’s Ed happily. Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree I wonder what kids will remember about this time? I see our neighbor kids outside playing often, they are finding more time to play alone in the dirt. I’m smiling as I read about the Pink Lady, your sister was not impressed (that photo is adorable) your first solo ride, and bubble gum with comics, ah … the good old days of discovering the freedom riding bikes in the wind! A folding bike? I’ve never heard of such a thing, but that’s cool that you had one. I don’t ride mine often nowadays, but I still have it, it was purchased 29 years ago. It may be vintage … 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe kids will re-discover playing outside more…including playing in the dirt, which I think it a good thing. Thanks – so glad you enjoyed my trip down memory lane. I still get a kick out of that photo with my sister 🙂
      The folding aspect of the bike I had later on made it an easy way to transport back then. Yes, I would say you now have a vintage bike – well worth saving for 29 years!! Now even more valuable. Who knew?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I sure hope kids do get outside more and play in the dirt. My kids did a lot of that when they were little. Some of my favorite pictures are of them from head to toe in mud. 😉
        It’s hard to imagine that I own vintage stuff of my own, not just my mom’s stuff. Hmm … when did that happen?! LOL

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s