First Bike

I have not been able to find exactly what I wanted for this post, but I think you will get the idea.

I grew up in a rural part of Baltimore County, and I don’t ever remember having or riding a trike. I remember having a four wheeled something. Not exactly a car, and not exactly a cart. This photo is the closest I could come up with though it is much bigger than the one I had. I know mine did not have a hand brake either. But it did have four wheels ;’-)

Most children seem to learn to ride a bicycle at around the ages of 5 or 6. When I was just under 9 years old and still not riding a bike, my Dad said if I learned to ride he would buy me a new bike. Me being born a bit late in their lives, mine were older parents and less likely to be out in a field teaching a child to ride a bike. At least in that ancient day!

My only siblings were two sisters who were much older than I. Several (at least 5) of my cousins lived very close by and I had a favorite one who at the time was my best friend. John. When he learned of my Dad’s ‘deal’, John put me on his bike and, running along side of me, taught me to ride.

This photo is not the same as his bike, but as close as I could come.

John’s bike was older and not in nearly as good shape this one is in. I was soon riding John’s bike and rode past my house to wave to Dad who was sitting on the porch. He was probably as proud as I was.

The next day, true to his word, my Dad arrived home with my new bike in the trunk (trunks were big back then!). A JC Higgins.

Again, this is not the exact bike I had, but comes fairly close to that one with horn in the down tube and a light on the front fender. And mine was blue. I don’t really recall my first solo ride, but more than likely it was to ride up to the store to get something my Mom needed. Long before anything like ‘panniers’ were even known about, my Dad bought me a ‘saddle bag’ so I could carry things with me. I felt pretty cool on this bike with saddle bag (I loved horses at that age and would often pretend this was my horse).

I have said, though I was late in learning to ride, I am probably riding much later in life than anyone I knew back then in my childhood. Thanks John, you were my hero.


7 response to "First Bike"

  1. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: December 17, 2018

    That is a great story — Thanks!
    Be great to still have them all. The pedal go-kart is very cool!
    That was a very nice bicycle your dad bought for you, the tank, carrier, whitewalls, and skirt guard really give it some style. Very good of cousin John to teach you.
    Very few (count one) person near my age is still riding — lots of bicycle all over town, but somewhat rare to see anyone riding them. Although, the last few summers have seen an increase in adults riding occasionally.
    Good memories looking back now.

    • By: NancyG Posted: December 17, 2018

      Thanks Rich. These are indeed good memories. I am pleased to still be riding at my age and will continue until I just cannot turn a pedal anymore. There was of course a time when I didn’t bike —- the time when a driver’s license (and a car bought by my Dad for me) took main stage! But I have been back in the saddle for many years now.
      Thanks for starting this thread. I have enjoyed my walk down memory lane and thinking of my cousin John whom I have no contact with anymore. Also — I had an idyllic childhood and loved my growing up years. I was fortunate.

      • By: Rich-Illinois Posted: December 17, 2018

        You are very welcome.
        If it hadnt have been for Dave, colleague and riding partner I doubt I would have ever gone back to cycling.
        Not only was he a great Mentor for me starting out teaching, he had a Raleigh 3 speed he rode all the time and encouraged me to ride as well. We are going back to the early 70’s here, hence the 73 Huffy I still have. Had anyone told me Id still be riding it in 2018 ….. 🙂

  2. By: The Navigator Posted: December 17, 2018

    Such a nice story and always good to see people come back to bicycles after being pulled away by the ‘drivers licence’. Those were really substantial and fine-looking bikes. My cousins and I in the 1980s loved riding around on old 1960s Schwinns that my Dad had collected from garage sales. They felt so heavy and ‘cruisey’ compared to our BMX bikes! I love the part of your story about riding past your Dad and waving – what a perfect memory!

    • By: NancyG Posted: December 17, 2018

      Thanks Em. I had great fun during childhood playing, swimming in the river, and riding bikes with cousins. Fortunate the automobile did not keep me away from bikes for life!

    • By: Tony Cullimore Posted: December 17, 2018

      In my case the bicycle made way for motorcycles, scooters, more motorcycles until in Sydney I decided having a car and living in the city was silly – so I bought my first Australian bike in 1976. I have always had a bike since. Good grief – that’s over 40 years!!

      • By: NancyG Posted: December 18, 2018

        I did have a Yamah 50 for a while when I attended the Universtiy of Hawaii and lived off campus. At that time it was very safe to ride the streets — I don’t know about now!

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