Remember When: Bike Riding When Young
From our first ride without training wheels to a summer outing with friends to some special place, the joy of bike riding never got old. Many of our fondest memories are tied to experiences we had on our two wheelers. Some are not so pleasant, however, as I had many balancing problems while learning to ride and fell over and wrecked our neighbors’ garden – twice!
Peter Smith, our layout editor of Briarwood’s News & Notes, got his first and only bike, a red 26-inch Columbia model on his 8th birthday. His father set a limit as to how far he could ride from home by defining a circle around their neighborhood with their house in the center. Each birthday the circle got larger until finally all restrictions were off. His bicycle buddies used to play a game called “Fox and Geese” where one rider would ride off and after a certain amount of time, the chase began. If he got caught and passed, he became the goose!
Bicycles have been around for a very long time, coming in many makes, models and types, with many different options such as fender-mounted head lights, bells, carrying baskets and fender skirts. The first patented bicycle design called a velocipede was approved in 1818 here in America. Made almost entirely of wood it weighed 48 lbs. Bicycles have certainly come a long way since then.
In the 40’s and 50’s, the popular brands in the USA were the American Road Master with its wide white wall tires and the classy and expensive English models such as Raleigh and Schwinn. The imports had narrow tires and were the first to have three speed gears plus brake levers on the handle bars. Today there are many different types on the market from tandem, collapsible, hybrid and mountain bikes. Add to that the wide number of motorized vehicles such as Mopeds, Indian and Harley motorcycles to the latest battery-powered offshoots, the Segway PT’s and the brand new hoverboards, which are dangerous until mastered for their proper use.
The great thing about bike riding was that it gave you a new mobility and opened a wider world to be explored. Whether it was going to the store for Mom, getting to school on time, having a newspaper route, or just socializing with friends, you could feel useful and happy. If you haven’t been on a bike for some time, remember the old phase – “You can never forget how to ride a bicycle.”