July 24, 2011

Memory Lane Monday - Childhood on Two Wheels

Welcome to another Memory Lane Monday
I hope you enjoy my story, and then have a memory of your
own to share on your blog. Don't forget to link back up here.
web image - waydowntheroad.com
When I was a kid, my parents procured my Aunt Ethel's Roadmaster bicycle for me. The year was somewhere around 1962. One small correction: Aunt Ethel was my grandfather's aunt, making her my great-great aunt. I make this distinction for one important reason. The bicycle was hers when she was a girl. It was already vintage when I got it!

My Roadmaster (which I called the "Roadsmasher") was a real beauty on balloon tires...more rubber on the road, making for an "arduous" ride, to say the least. I had two wire baskets on the back of mine. By today's standards, she was a tank! (The bike, not my aunt.)
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At the same time that I was bulking up on the Roadsmasher, my younger sister received a svelt pink Schwinn for Christmas (also with two wire baskets on the back, but hers also had a cute basket on the handlebars). Compared to mine, her bike was like a racer.
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Then, when the time came, my little brother got his banana seat Schwinn with the ape-hanger handlebars. It suit him to a "t". Boy, that kid could fly on two wheels!

None of the bikes were three- or five-speeds (or whatever number are now available). Ours went our speed, and we rode them all summer long. We rode them to the city swim pool, the YMCA, around our neighborhood and on errands for our parents. We rode them everywhere.

The local convenience store was about six blocks from our house and was run by sisters who were friends of my parents. My sister, brother and I would hop on our bikes, ride down to McCarthy's and pick up chips, dip, popcorn and (heavy) six-packs of bottled Pepsi so we'd be set for the Packer games our family loved to watch on Sunday afternoons.

Because of the weight of my Roadsmasher, I always was the last to arrive anywhere, but in retrospect, my legs must have been in great shape from pedaling that monster down the road. Over the years, the blue paint faded so it got a new paint job and it was looking shiny and new again.

When I moved into my own apartment, that bike moved with me. I'd ride her to and from work on nice days. I used to get teased when I'd put a lock on the old girl ("Who'd want to steal that ol' thing?", they'd say), but the one time I didn't lock her someone stole it and I never saw it again.

Every once in a while I wonder if she ended up with a person who appreciated her. I'm sure they never realized the history she held for me. I hope that she still makes the rounds these days and that someone is happy to have her. I'd hate to think of her rusting away and neglected after all the fun we had together.

Now's your turn. You can link your blog post back here so that others can read your July Memory Lane Monday post. Thanks for reading!


6 friends clicked here to leave a note for me:

Sharon said...

What a sweet post! I can see you now on your vintage bike.

Marydon said...

I so love your memories, Donna! That is terrible someone stole your 'friend'.

I remember peddling my bike all over town, but was always last, huffing & puffing. Now, as an 'old lady' I know why.

Would you be so kind to remind me next time you do this so I can participate ... I'd love to share with you. Thank you.

Hope all is well & the 'little one'is bringing you much joy.

Have a beautiful week ~

Twyla and Lindsey said...

Donna, you bring back memories of myself riding my bike! Unlike you, though, I don't have a clear memory of my Bike! I love how you made your's sound like a friend. So sad it was taken from you. Have a nice day! Twyla

Createology said...

Life was simpler when we were kids. Your story warms my heart. I can truly imagine you and your sister and brother riding all over and enjoying your days together. Our children/grandchildren will never enjoy these experiences we did. I still have company so no time to post but will try to do so tomorrow. Happy bicycle memories...

nancy huggins said...

That was very mean and I guess you should have just kept locking it up and not listened to your friends. Nellie locked her bike to a bike rack in Chicago and someone stole the tire. They took it off right there in broad daylight where many could see what they were doing. She said she had to hold the back end of the bike up and push it all the way home (a couple of miles) and she said she cried all the way. I guess it isn't even safe when you do lock your bike. She also had it chained to the lattice around the porch where she works as a nanny and they ripped the piece of lattice and took it and her bike. to bad people get to steal the things we work so hard for and treasure

Prince said...

Yup, I sure did love to hotrod my old bike. I miss that old thing to. I remember I had two...
One for hot rodding and one with big ole balloon tires I delivered papers with. And what was the deal with the baskets? Dad put them on all our bikes except my paper delivery Schwinn....


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