Category Archives: bicycle built for two

“Let’s Go for a Ride!”

Standard

When the word, “bicycle,” first appeared in print, it

was in an article in the English newspaper, “The Daily

News.” The writer spelled its variations as, ‘trysicles’

and ‘bysicles.’ This was in 1868. To put this into time

sequence and add perspective, the first car was invented

in 1886. Bicycles were around only 18 years longer. This

is rather hard to believe!

Original bicycles were totally different looking and the

foot-powered bikes were somewhat like hobby horses.

Their nickname, coming from the odd word combination

using a hobby horse, was “Dandy horse.”

In 1897, magazines advertising for ointments to ease

aches and pains, included women in these loose items of

clothing. They looked like “pantaloons” or as my friend,

Luanne suggested, “bloomers.” These women wore their hair

swept up into buns, with a hat held onto their hair, using

hat pins. The smaller hat, could have been replaced with a

wider brim, with netting to tie under the women’s chins.

The women, in the old fashioned ad, were preparing to ride

on bicycles.

To still look like a ‘lady,’ this clothing design makes

me smile. It accommodated women’s ‘right’ to ride bikes.

They could disembark from their bike, having the look of

wearing a longer skirt.

An author of a recent book, Thomas Ambrose, includes a

long passage about the impact of bicycles on women’s

equality. Here is part of that passage in the quotation

about women’s bicycling:

“As women got ideas that they wanted more social liberty,

this” (the fact that cars were expensive and they were

not able to purchase them) “became irksome. The coming

of the bicycle gave women freedom…the lady’s bicycle

is probably an emblem of emancipation.”

“The History of Cycling in Fifty Bikes,” (224 pp.),

by Irish author, Tom Ambrose. He rode bikes as a boy

in the 50’s and 60’s. Now, currently, as a grandfather

rides a ‘sporting amateur’s bike.’

When people while courting sometimes would say,

“Do you want to go for a drive? (or road trip?)”

this would sometimes include a stop at “Lover’s

Lane” before going home. If one were not able to

afford a car, you could travel with a bicycle with

your sweetheart. Another choice, you could have a

bicycle built for two, called a ‘tandem bike.’

The song with the chorus of “Daisy, Daisy, tell

me your answer true…” originally contains the

words, ‘bicycle built for two.’ It was written

in 1892 by Harry Dacre.

After all, you could still stop to have a picnic

or have a romantic moment under a tree.

There is a recent trend of using bikes to travel

as families, with the adults in the lead and they

have attached a wagon with a netted canopy-sort of

thing. The children are safely strapped down inside.

These are called, “cargo bikes.” I sometimes wonder

how those children feel, as they look out upon the

world, whisking briskly past them. Do they have any

focus to their views on nature, if the parents’ travel

route is on a bike path in a park? Do the children

have any thoughts on the lack of clarity of their

scenery? Is it rather blurry, once the bikes start

going down the paths quickly. Maybe they love the way

it feels going ‘fast’ through life?

In the 1960’s and 70’s, the new trend then, was to be

more conscious of the environment. The gas prices then

and other areas of society were soaring (just imagine

if we could go back to what the rising prices were

then! Smile!) I can picture someone who was a hippie

then, saying ‘ride on’ instead of ‘right on!’

Anyway, being aware of the natural resources brought

about the movement to cycle to work.

In some big cities, they started adding a cycling

lane. Of course, in Eastern countries, this was an

older pattern, from rickshaws to bicycling in China

and India, along with other countries whose cities

were getting engorged with traffic jams.

The low cost and community sense of bikes, also was

apparent while I was growing up. There were more

‘fix-it’ or bicycle repair stores around back then.

In communes, if one weren’t walking or riding a horse,

you may have a bicycle to get from the country into

town.

Racing bicycles became popular and the biggest race

of this sort, was the Tour de France competition. This

came about in 1903.

Some different, unusual advancements in the bicycling

world that are notable are:

The Lucas bike lamp, an early oil lamp, made night time

bicycling safer.

Inflatable tire, thanks to John B. Dunlop’s invention.

Wire spokes, kudos to James Stanley’s creative usage.

In the Viet Nam war era, North Viet Nam bikes were

painted in camouflage, allowing many dangerous and

silent war events of bombs and shootings to occur.

Gears, derailers, carbon filters and more improvements

have been made over the years.

There was a Spring in the past eight years, while I

have been single when I dated a man, casually. After

we had been together a year, I had a moment where I

visualized the movie with Tom Crew, Renee Zewelleger

and Cuba Gooding. No, it was not, “Show me the money!”

It was that romantic line delivered by Renee Z. to

Tom’s character:

“You had me at, ‘Hello.'”

The man I was dating said,

“I would like to buy you a bicycle and keep it in my

garage for us to ride in different Central Ohio Metro

Parks.”

The line redone could have been, “You had me at buying

me a bike!”

That was ‘as good as it gets!’ I really don’t need a

sparkling diamond ring nor a proposal!

It meant something, it meant some future good times.

We bought a nice red “cruising bicycle” with red and

white Hawaiian pattern. It was a reasonably priced

Schwinn bike. It had a bell! It had a light! I was so

thrilled! I had called my brother, Rich, for some

shopping input, since he is a triathlon racer and

uses a racing bike for one of the ‘legs’ of those

races. He told me the three speed bike, with hand

brakes, would be an ‘easy adjustment’ for me.

We went on a short bike ride that weekend. I headed

home, ready to call my best friend (or two) to brag

that I finally had reached a sort of commitment with

this man.

The following weekend, I headed over on a sunny day,

anticipating a wonderful afternoon of riding our bikes

together. That just seemed, to me, one of the most fun

and romantic pastimes ever!

When we opened this man’s garage, he was pulling his

bike off its hooks on the wall, while I approached my

bike which was leaning against the wall. I dragged it

out into the sunshine. It was hard to roll. Oh no!

Both tires were flat. While the man looked up the

weight of the tires and got his air pump out, I had

a weird sense of doom. I know, you will call it some

kind of intuition. I was starting to babble, showing

frustration. I was flabbergasted:

“How could this have happened in one short week?”

I verbalized my fears:

“Is this a sign or something?”

I could not stop my heart from sinking, as I sat out

in the yard, looking up at the bright blue sky and

pondering the significance.

I heard what sounded like a gun shot. It was the stupid

inner tube exploding inside the tire. That sinking

feeling sunk more. He had simply over-inflated it.

I don’t know why I was being so anxious, but I was!

I tried to breathe deeply, tried to allow calm to fill

me up.

When he emerged from the garage, he had ‘accidentally’

exploded BOTH inner tubes. I don’t know why, but I

realized this may have been on purpose. I reflected

back upon the purchase the past weekend, how he had

exclaimed. as we passed a park,

“That is the park I used to ride all the time with

my ex-girlfriend.”

You may think I am crazy, but when he asked me, note

that he did not tell me,

“Do you want to take the bike back and get another one?

We could say we didn’t notice that the bike’s tires

were flat…”

I noticed that he did not say,

“Let’s go buy new inner tubes.”

I sighed and replied,

“Just take the bike back.”

He looked at me,

“Are you sure, Robin?”

He didn’t argue or try to talk me back into this

decision.

I then knew that the bike represented ‘too much

commitment.’ The relationship went downhill after

that. Weeks later, he was back with his ex, probably

riding those same paths with her.

When I talk about a bucket list, plans to travel far

and wide. I would be happy to have a bike and a man to

ride, here in Ohio. This is not that much to ask for!

I have many fond memories of bike rides with friends,

brothers, Science Club and loved ones. I hope that I

did not detract from the positive opinion I have about

bicycles!

This Spring and Summer, if you have a bicycle, get it

fixed up and ready to go on a marvelous ride! There

are many reasons, to enjoy scenery, move up and down

hills, pump your legs for exercise and for the special

way it feels to be on a bike! Some people who feel

hiking is overwhelming or hard on their feet, will

enjoy getting on a bicycle. It is still a rather

reasonable purchase, comparatively speaking, to

other sports equipment.

Don’t worry, it is not like you will have forgotten

how to ride!

It is like that old adage, “Get right back on that

horse and ride it.”

By the way, I think that would be an equally fun way

to travel around parks that accommodate horses. But,

what I really meant to say is,

“Get your bike out and enjoy the ride!

… and don’t forget your bike helmet!”