Category Archives: bicycle

World Views

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When people give me a film recommendation, I take this with a ‘grain of

salt.’ There are so many different interests, particular patterns to people’s

choices in what they choose to watch. This is true of television, movies,

theater, music and cultural events. There are some universal choices that

almost everyone enjoys once in awhile. International movies, where the

cinematography and images are breath-taking and fantastic, are ones that

I am thrilled to receive from someone I admire and pass on to others, too.

My friend, Beth, who writes about all kinds of international subjects,

along with her home town of Ann Arbor, Michigan and her little ones

that she teaches, included “Vivan Las Antiopodes” as one of her posts.

Here is her blog:

http://ididnthavemyglasseson.com

We have some kindred sisterhood, which I admit I have been close to

several other bloggers along the way, with similar tastes and interests.

Beth has a reason for her interest in Australia and grandchildren, yet

even I am sometimes surprised at such details as liking the same kind

of ice cream that we have connections beyond what I generally find in

my community and home town.

So, to get this movie, I had to mention my interest to the librarian,

who got online to seek whether it was located in our own library or

a part of our district library in Delaware County. Nope! It was from

Greene County, Ohio, the town of Xenia, where this film was sent for.

I watched it and took notes. I then re-watched it while eating dinner

the next night. It is awesome, beyond description in its simple theme

of how across the world, we are all similar. It is complex, in its terrains

and cultural differences. These four cities, chosen because they are

exactly diametrically opposed on the globe, are called, “antipodes.”

If you watch this, the picture gradually slants from the one place to

glide effortlessly, circuitously into the other one. It is hard to explain

but it shows the world on its axis, so to speak, literally turning from

the one location to the next. The dizzying effect is exhilarating!

 

Then it is philosophical, here in my own words, I try to explain the

effect this film had upon me:

 

“We are all mankind.

Look at us, trying to eke out existence where there are few resources.

This is for the desert and sparse land where hardly any green exists.

Where there are miles between homes, across divergent tundras of land.

Trying to make our way among a crowded city, winding between others,

taking care not to enter the personal spaces, but sometimes colliding.”

 

I felt the movie has themes that are universal, no need to try to interpret

or have the languages translated. Why worry about the subtexts? Just

watch this movie for all the reasons Beth mentioned, along with this

short summary of textures I tried to capture in words. There are so many

dimensions, you will see this if you check out Beth’s post on this, too.

 

Swans

Birds

Giraffes

Farmers

Workers

Shearers

Sheep

 

Joy

Dances

Ukulele

Expressions

Discordant tones

Musical instruments

Melodic chants

Staccato “coos”

Dissonant

Calm

 

Round

and

Round

 

Sparse

Simple

Solidarity

Separate

Solitude

 

Fluid

Flows

Frost

Foliage

Fields

 

Round

and

Round

 

Carts

Riders

Walkers

Bicyclists

Complicated

Intertwining

Rickshaw

Vehicles

Trucks

Cars

 

Stark

Rocky

Barren

Beauty

Splendor

Horizons

Grassy

Beach

Lush

 

Men

Women

Diversity

Young

Old

 

 

 

 

Double Dip Treat

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Now that I have your attention, this post today will not be about ice cream!

Instead, two invaluable subjects of being ‘taxied around’ by parents and the

gift of trust will be my focus. I think these subjects can be approached from

so many different angles. Memories from long ago times (distant past) when

either your mother, big sister, older brother, father or grandparent would come

and pick you up from one location. Sometimes transporting you home or to

another completely different destination. In this case, you were the one being

the grateful ‘recipient’ of transportation. Trust is a ‘two way street’ between

children and parents.  As in all relationships, communication and honesty

are needed to make this trust build and endure.

You may wish to reminisce about more recent experiences; when you were the

parent, uncle, aunt, older sibling or grandparent giving rides. You were the one

who imparted a special quality of trust to your younger family members or loved

ones. You could be ‘counted on.’  In this case you were the one ‘doling’ out the

good actions, being the ‘giver’ of rides and trust.

This story today is brought to you from the depths of nostalgia. Going back to the

seventies, some may consider them too new to be ‘the good old days.’ Others may

wonder how they can relate to a time, they weren’t even born! There may be some

kind of recognition to the whole scenario, though.

When I was a pre-teen or teenager, there were many times we were allowed to be

on ‘our own’ in some location or other. There ‘had to be’  friends of our own age,

whether goofing off or doing a school related activity. In all cases, we could

‘guarantee’ that one of our parents would show up with the station wagon. This

meant our friends were also ‘guaranteed’ rides to their own home bases.

 

You see,  “double dip treat” is to combine two elements:  Taxi Service and Trust.

 

Of course, you may choose to fill us in on your ‘ice cream requests,’ since

I did kind of ‘trick’ you into thinking this would be all about ice cream!

 

“TAXI SERVICE”

When we were in junior high and high school, my brothers and I kept a

big supply of dimes in our pockets or in our backpacks. We simply would

insert one slim, silver dime into the ‘pay phone’ located at our school,

at the mall, at the movies or other public locations. Then, having been

told this by a bright fellow wayfarer one time, we would say these quick

and pertinent words into the phone, hang up and wait for one of our

parents to show up:

“Hi-Pick Up- Bye!”

Usually we would get our precious dime back! It was a matter of fooling

the timer on the public pay phone. It essentially was the same amount

of time as the expression, “Sorry, wrong number.” You could also do this

in the days of phone booths and public pay phones and get your money

back.

While sitting on a curb, standing leaning against the wall of the building

and talking to others who may have asked us if they could ‘hitch’ a ride

home, we would patiently wait. We never felt rushed or impatient. Nor

did we doubt that the message was received and initiated our ride home

process, successfully.

 

Sometimes, if it were band practice, we may see the school lights turn off,

but no fears arose that someone would come and stalk us, maim us, rape

or kill us. Isn’t it such a wonderful memory, having no fears that first of

all, someone would show up and second of all, there were no imminent

dangers in this darkness?

 

Other times, we may see older teens arriving to view the later movie or to

hang out at the mall, after our ‘curfew’ was approaching. In those cases, once

again, I don’t remember being teased, hassled or bullied. We would wave at

our friends’ older sister or brother. We may even try to act ‘cool,’ by standing

by them. Hoping after all, that hanging for a few brief moments, the older

sibling wouldn’t say, “Beat it!” or “Get lost!”

We would keep our eyes peeled for the arrival of our ride. When our parent

would appear, sometimes in a long line of cars, we would head towards a

designated spot. If it were the end of the movie or band practice, we would

‘know’ instantly to head towards this one end of the parking lot, where it

was our family’s reunion location. This also worked after football games and

basketball games, where it was dark. There were only a few lights by this one

end of the lot, where we would get out the ‘Exit’ area quickly. We would stand

under the light, which worked out well for the ride giver and us, too.

Signals are part of families and it is sometimes these moments that make

or break the communication. Bonds are built on our believing in each other,

keeping the rhythm of the routine going in an ‘even keel’ symbiosis. Members

of a team, fraternity or club all have their familiar codes, habits and signals.

 

If there were any kind of mix-up, if it were our Dad coming to get us, we were in

for a lecture. There was something less concerned about the exact and precise

following the rules, in my Mom’s approach. I am always thankful that she was

a high school teacher, knowing the vagrancies and ‘bad habits’ of teens really

helped us out. I have a good guy friend, Barney, whose Mom was a middle

school teacher and his Dad was a high school coach, physical education and

health teacher. This story that I mention how much better my Mom was, did

not at all tie-in with his parents’ approach to parenting. They were even more

strict than other parents of Barney’s friends. He said that his brothers and his

sisters were like who he felt were also ‘unlucky’ children of preachers, pastors

and ministers. He can not believe the difference in how I was raised compared

to his strict upbringing.

 

An example of a fun way to adhere to being part of a ‘tribe,’ is when we

would go to Cedar Point or other places where we would ‘split up.’ Our

designated gathering location at Cedar Point was the Ice Cream Shoppe.

At a park or museum, the time was chosen and set for departure. The

entrance in those public places was the obvious choice of meeting each

other.

If we still had money left, we would go in the ice cream place and purchase

some form of ice cream. It could be a regular cone, waffle cone, shake, malt,

or float.

See! You get to hear those ‘double dip’ treat words after all!

I would get a two scoop cone with butter chip and butter pecan. If out of one of

those, switching flavors, I would choose chocolate marshmallow and chocolate

nut ice cream flavors.

Usually, if you were out of money, either of our parents would ‘fork over’ or

‘fork out,’ depending on your slang interpretation, for that last treat. We

would then leave by the entrance that took us out away from the main exit,

where most people rushed to the ’causeway.’ We were taking the side and

parallel route, using Red Bank Road I think. This road had neighborhood

houses, still leading you off the “Point.”

My Mom would order a pineapple sauce over vanilla ice cream with a

big swirl of whipped cream while my Dad would get a ‘Black Cow’ or a

Root Beer Float, depending on whether he wanted to have coke with

chocolate ice cream or root beer with vanilla ice cream.

If you were more than half an hour late, there would be no ice cream,

whether you had money left or not. It was after ten o’clock and we had

to get out to the car and leave!

 

“TRUST”

In our family, we never had to wait more than half an hour for arrival

of parents for any given activity. They may miss the first part of the

movie, if we were all attending together. But we would save them seats.

This worked, into our adulthood years. By then, commercials were part

of the beginning time allotment, which meant if we were meeting them

they were usually late.

All the years of growing up, I never had to worry about how they would

greet us after activities or occasions. If there were extra people to take

home, neither my Dad nor my Mom ever questioned whose ‘turn’ it was,

nor did they inquire, “What are YOUR parents doing tonight?” There was

no ‘snarky’ comments or guilt placed upon some of our friends whose

‘turns’ never were reciprocated.

When we asked to stay out later, we needed to be able to ‘present our case,’

as if it were a court of law. We also started this, as toddlers and elementary

students, with my parents telling us, we needed to learn this skill

Having an opinion is not being able to express it with the points you need

to negotiate and navigate among teachers, principals, coaches and bosses.

We were taught to ‘bargain’ by trading a chore or responsibility or give up

something else, to be able to insure we were getting the other’s needs met.

Along with sometimes extending our curfew times or given extra ‘credit’

for those times we washed the car, mowed the lawn, raked the leaves or

weeded the garden, we were able to receive a better bike, tennis racket or

instrument.  My parents taught me this skill, which I instilled in my own

children. In the case of being ready to purchase a bicycle for $45, for an

example, but with the ‘guarantee’ of future chores or saved ‘credits,’ my

brother was able to get one for $70. I was the main provider of household

cleaning services. I was rather an ‘odd’ child, loving to use Lemon Pledge on

an old towel and dust.  Spraying the blue Windex, on mirrors and windows,

then wiping until there was a sparkle with no residue, were two of my

favorite ‘specialties.’ (Don’t hold your breath when you come of visit, since

I won’t be promising this habit as a grown and independent (read: Busy!)

woman.

You may wonder at this, but I enjoyed taking each crystal off the chandelier

and washing them in a dish of vinegar and water. Then drying them, laying

them out in a pattern on the dining room table. My Mom really counted

this to be a lot of ‘credits’ towards choices of my having privileges or on

combining this with my own hard-earned money from ‘real’ jobs like

babysitting or waiting tables.

My parents believed us, when we said we had not been out “parking” late

read: “necking” or “making out.) If we told them we had not drunk or

smoked pot at the parties we attended, they believed us. They preferred

we rode our bikes or walked home, if we were in college and told them we

had had 3.2 beer or a wine cooler, while out. Or they would still, even as

we got older, would volunteer to drive together, leaving one to drive our

car home, one to drive our besotted self home.

I must add here, truthfully, I did not have a car to my name until after I

was 22. I saw that the insurance, gas and responsibility was beyond my

own savings. We were allowed to share one car, once we reached driving

age. I chose, again, to let my 18 months younger brother be the driver,

while continuing to get rides from him or others my age.

My parents were ‘night owls’ so there was never a chance to be later than

15 minutes past curfew, which we did not press the issue often. There may

have been times, when they asked us to lean over and give them each a kiss

and they may have smelled something more than our mint. I was never in

trouble for this, but there was one of my brothers who may have taken this

chance.  More than once!

A good example of trust is when I had my first kiss, it was rather later than

most… at a co-ed camping experience with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts

taking canvas tents down off wooden platforms, keeping the ties and metal

poles along with rolling up the canvas, all in a certain process. There were two

camps, two different weekends each fall. Camp Juliette Low and Camp Hilaka.

I came back from our work efforts and had to tell my Mom this, “I don’t have to

worry about reaching, “Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed!”

It was later in my high school years, that I came home and told my Mom that

I was ‘uncomfortable’ with the way my boyfriend was ‘pressuring me.’ My Mom

was one who asked for specifics, to listen and analyze whether it was of serious

concern or not. She not only listened to what we were doing, but how we felt.

I am so grateful for this genuine quality trait. I kept this trust with my two girls,

who each were able to tell me when they reached an age they felt was ‘good’ or

mature enough to lose their virginity. We talked about people who made promises

to their church or parents. I mentioned how I admired that my Mom and Dad

waited to do this together, after they got married. Marriage would be an ideal

situation to consummate a relationship but it is not always the way it goes.

My son and I had a wonderful 16th year together, I was 32 and we had some

bonding times, once a week. We did different things, bowling, billiards, hiking

and putt. It was easier for us to talk about serious subjects, while sitting in

a car heading in the same direction.

Either my son was driving or I, looking off into the horizon, and sometimes

literally, into the sunset together. We covered a lot of the same topics, in a

more son-directed way. I found this to be more meaningful and also, easier to

do. He had a father and a step-dad who he could confide in, but I was able to

plug in some of the same ‘sound bytes,’ like Respect, Trust, and “Always have

condoms available!”

Each agreed with me, they should try to wait longer than some they knew. To

benefit from maturity and ability to handle the emotional part of this process.

Trust may have not been shared with your parents, you may have relied on your

friends, relatives or another adult. I hope it was still part of your childhood and

teen years, too.

Are you ready to share an example of ‘taxi service’ or ‘trust?’

If not, how about telling us about your favorite kind of ice cream or a family practice

that helped you feel like you worked as a team?

 

 

 

 

 

Cleveland and the World Sports

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This is a great day for sports around the world. The beginning of “Le

Tour de France,” the Sprint Cup, following NASCAR rules at Daytona

Beach, the continuation of the World Cup FIMA Soccer rounds, and

last but not least, I have to hope that the Cleveland Indians will ‘rally’

and win against the Kansas City Royals.

I will be seeing KC Royals vs. Indians game, down in the nicely positioned

Progressive Field, hoping that the local Clevelanders are ‘wrong’ and that

we won’t experience any more ‘stage fright!’ We lost last night’s game,

with the score of 7-1, in our game against the Royals. We went into our

July 4th game, with some good statistics. Our Tribes held a .543 average

winning percentage of 83 wins to 74 losses.

I am looking forward to the firecracker display over Progressive Field,

with my brothers and sister in law. One in the group, complaining that

the music of KISS will be accompanying the fireworks. I am hoping my

presence alone will help us win! (Ha ha! This little Cleveland native, who

was baptized in Parma, Ohio, will have to cross her fingers, just like the

rest of the fans!)

I was sorry to read that the 22 year old Brazilian soccer player,  Neymar,

was seriously injured with a broken vertibra, changing the chances of his

team. The four goals he managed to accomplish in the first 3 World Cup

matches, has created a stronghold of youth who are very disappointed.

The Brazilian ‘hero’ will be still admired, kids will continue to be proud

of his accomplishments and be hopefully inspired by his abilities.

In Leeds, England the Tour de France started, a tradition since 101 years

ago. This race, as you know, but sometimes it is nice to be reminded, goes

from England through the countries of Belgium and Spain, circling through

France. In the first leg or “Stage” the candidate favored to win, is Mark

Cavendish, who has had 26 times won this victory. It goes from Leeds to

Harr0gate, where his mother was born.

The other possible winners of the Tour de France are Chris Froome, (29 year

old from Kenya, raised as a Brit), from “Team Sky” and 2 time Champ, Alberto

Contador, (31 year old from Spain) from “Tinkoff-Saxo Bank” team. Or you

could wish to see the Italian, Vincenzo Nibali or one of the other Spanish

contenders, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquin Rodriguez. I like to watch the

bicyclists, but mostly watch the unusual terrain and scenery. The cobblestones

and the different summits, throughout the European countrysides are so

beautiful to see. Many of the challenging roads that the cyclists tackle are ones

from the beginning race, since 1903.

Following NASCAR rules at the Daytona International Speedway, there were

two laps that had to be postponed due to weather. The setting is one that my

coworker, Kent, loves to watch with his wife. They have been down, almost

every year for the past twenty to watch! I am sure there are a few of you who

may choose this sporting event to watch over the sedate 181 miles of the first

“Stage” of Le Tour de France! It ends on July 26, 2014.  Much faster, right?!

On the last note for this post, my Mom has been a ‘trooper’ throughout all

of her Dr. appointments, the most painful being the podiatrist. She has had

to soak her toes in vinegar water, painting them all except her left big toe,

with a liquid to prevent any infection or fungal growth. The poor left toe,

which was infected, had to have its toenail removed, then we are carefully

drying it, putting a Band-Aid on it, and allowing it to ‘scab over.’ Gross

details, but important to let all of those know that are caretakers, to keep

an eye on your elderly family member’s toes. This could have led to an

infection that may have got into her bloodstream, leading to her heart. We

all tend to think of the teeth and its possibilities of gum disease, but feet

are also important to take care of.

I want to share something special about my Mom, every day is filled with

little moments where she looks so filled with wonder. I think that losing

some of her memory means that she ‘hears’ things that she exclaims,

“I never heard that bird’s song  before!”

Or when she sees some colorful flowers in a garden or in a bouquet at

the bank,

“I have never seen such a gorgeous collection of flowers before!”

These are what carry me through some of those moments when she is

childish and refuses to carry out Dr.’s instructions! It helps to remember

that I was once rebellious and annoyed my Mom, no end!

Go Mom!!

Go Tribe!

Single Ladies Unite!

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On June 4, 1948, Marion Richards placed a greeting card and a corsage on

some of her coworker’s desks. Inside each card, she left a special message

and in honor of her choice of words, there is a holiday on June 4th to celebrate!

She had chosen, you see, women who were over thirty years of age and were

unmarried at the time. She wanted them to feel loved and cared for, despite

their status.

This day is called, “Old Maid’s Day!!”

Oh my! Let’s see, in that time period my Dad was 16 years old and my

Mom was 20 years old.

Both my parents had aunts that were unmarried, due to choice, situation

or loss of a husband. They lived in separate homes, leading active and

productive lives.

My Great Aunt Marie had lost her husband to death while young. She had

worked until she was 67 years old at Gorton’s Fish Company in Gloucester.

She was one of the ‘highlights’ of my 16th summer in 1972. She had a little

red sports car and would take me to the drive-in movies, pick up young (and

cute) hitch-hikers when we were heading out of town. She would carry on the

liveliest and most interesting conversations. She was a good ‘role model’ for

my future dates by being independent and leading a positive life. I remember

one of her favorite outfits that she wore. She had a bright coral blouse and a

beautiful silk scarf with a floral design that included the color of turquoise.

She showed creativity and good fashion sense, which I liked to think about

as time went by She showed a ‘joi de vivre.” She will always be, in my eyes:

Forever young!

When my Great Aunt Marie was 92, I went to visit her. She still had her

own apartment, liked to walk to Bingo, to McDonald’s and the stores

in Gloucester.  When I woke up early to hear her lilting voice raised in

song, I walked slowly and quietly into the kitchen to find her dancing.

There she was floating on her toes, gracefully pirouetting and spinning.

When that song that says, “I Hope You Dance” came out, I carefully copied

all the words and mailed it to her. We were pen pals, and although she

never remarried, she always professed love for Pete, her husband who

had died. She never expressed regrets for not having children and truly

seemed interested in mine. I kept some of her letters, since they hold

such amazing positive words of encouragement. She was not lonely and

made friends up until she died at age 96! No worries for her being an

“Old Maid!” Not in her vocabulary or sensibility.

My Great Aunt Harriet was also a widow, a little older than my Aunt Marie,

but still would take her easel out Bearskin Neck and paint boats and the

infamous Rockport, Mass. red boathouse, Motif Number 1. She also was one

who would hop on her bicycle and go to the other ‘coves’ or inlets to use

her drawing pad. She was quite lively, intelligent and could get my 16 year

old self intrigued in everything from conservation, sea life, and politics!

Mom used to talk about her “elderly old maiden aunts,” which in reality

were cousins of hers. They were retired school teachers. They were not

related, so there were times, much later in my life, that Mom said one

time,

“I think they may have loved each other, choosing to spend their retirement

days, reading and volunteering at the library in Middletown, Ohio.”

Still later, while watching Sean Penn acting as the gay character with the

same name as the movie, “Milk,” she expressed thoughts that her maiden

aunts “may have been” lesbians adding,

“I guess we will never know for sure, since they never told anyone, that I

knew of, in the family.”

Tomorrow, (June fourth), is “My Day!” It may be “Your Day!”

In this world of crazy reasons to celebrate, rejoice in the feeling of being

‘free to choose whatever you wish to do,’ as long as you don’t go out and

break any laws, I don’t care if you even ‘play hooky from work!’

Many women, in today’s society, choose to remain unmarried well past

their 30’s. There is no ‘time limit’ or restrictions or even suggested age

that one must marry now. When women choose to focus on their careers,

their own paths in life, and possibly having children with no marriage

license. . .

I think, “Whatever works for you!”

If you haven’t found Mr. Right, he may just be around the corner.

(At least you have not settled for Mr. Wrong!)

If you are looking for Ms. Right, she may also be just around the corner.

(I hope you catch her eyes!)

If you are content in your ‘Single-dom,’

May it be a kingdom filled with

Joy, Independence and Tranquility!

Who needs an excuse to celebrate being single?

No one needs one, but it is fun to do so, anyway!

Any excuse for a Party of One!

In case you have forgotten the beautiful and inspirational lyrics of

Lee Ann Womack’s song’s lyrics are written by Mark D. Sanders

and Tia Sillers in 2000.

“I Hope You Dance”

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,

You get your fill to eat, but always keep that hunger.

May you never take one single breath for granted,

God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed.

I hope you still feel small

when you stand beside the Ocean.

Whenever one door closes,

I hope one more opens.

Promise me that you’ll give faith

a fighting chance,

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,

I hope you dance..

I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,

Never settle for the path of least resistance.

Living might mean taking chances but they’re worth taking.

Loving might be a mistake but it’s worth making.

Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter.

When you come close to selling out– reconsider.

Give the heaven above more than just a passing glance,

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,

I hope you dance…

I hope you dance.

Time is a wheel in constant motion,

Always rolling us along.

Tell me who wants to look back on

their years and wonder where those

years have gone”

(A couple of repeated stanzas and the “I Hope You Dance” repeats.)

If this song isn’t energetic enough, check out Martina Mc Bride’s

song, “This One’s for the Girls.” Of course, you can always rely on

the fun song, even sung by the little Chipmunks’ girlfriends can

be silly to dance to: “All the Single Ladies” by Beyoncé Knowles

and others.

A totally different song, a rowdy and controversial song with

anti-violence message and ending domestic abuse is called,

Independence Day,” sung by Martina McBride. This was not

played on radios because of the difficult subject matter of a mother

fighting back against abuse by burning her family’s home down.

The reason I support this song is due to Martina McBride’s being a

dual spokeswoman for the National Domestic Violence Hotline and

the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

“Independence Day” contains a powerful message for those who are

needing an ‘anthem’ to give them ‘backbone’ to get out of abusive

situations. I like it just to shout out the lyrics, “Let freedom ring!”

 

“Let’s Go for a Ride!”

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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!”