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Trikes & Bikes

by Ron Kitson

As with most kids, I started out with a three wheeler and while I don't always remember where I left my keys, I still remember my tricycle.

I also remember visiting my cousins' farm near Oakwood. They had a couple of trikes and we'd race them through that old farm house at a pretty good clip and sometimes with a passenger on the back.

Ron Kitson on trike in 1938
The author on his trike in 1938

Through the kitchen, around by the back door, up the hallway where they hung their coats, through the dining room and back into the kitchen. Great memories. Probably scuffed up the woodwork a little making those sharp turns.

As you likely know, they make tricycles for grownups too. I see them in retirement communities and I've seen a lot of them in Florida. My Mother used to have one in Florida where they wintered over for about 35 years.

They didn't have peddles on the front wheel like mine did, rather they had a chain drive like a regular bicycle and of course are much bigger. They can also be a little tricky to ride because they don't lean on the turns.

During a recent visit to Germany, I couldn't help but notice there were a lot of people who still ride bicycles. Not just kids mind you, people of all ages and some well wrinkled ones too.

I also noticed the mail was delivered to the house where we were staying by a lady on a bicycle. The bike was yellow as was the mailbag in a front mounted basket and the lady's jacket. New to me were the two support legs up front with small wheels preventing the bike from tipping over when she parked it to walk up to the door.

Downtown I saw several bikers who were past middle age and out to pick up a few items at the store. There were bike racks everywhere and parts of the downtown area are off limits to cars. Just walkers and bikers.

With the high gasoline prices, bicycles make a lot of sense and absolutely no emissions. Well, nothing to be concerned with.

I read somewhere that Huffy, one of the great names in American bicycles is trying to work its way out of financial troubles even though it still owns a huge share of the bike market here. I believe their problems stemmed from other investments and not a lack of profit on the bikes which the story said are now made in China. Some of their North American workers who lost their jobs are probably riding around on bikes looking for a job.

I have a pretty good light weight ten speed bicycle I've had for several years but don't ride it as much as I should. I'm not sure who needs ten speeds on a bicycle but I am sure that I don't. I don't know how many of the ten speeds I've used, four or five likely.

I used to have a three speed and that was pretty nice but the ten speed is better. I would likely be happy with a five speed.

I'd like to find a wider seat for it though. Something just a little more comfortable. The one that came on it is so hard and narrow that it really isn't much better than if I had to sit on the crossbar. If I had a wider softer one (bicycle seat) I would likely ride more than I do.

Something that puzzles me is why some big kids ride around on those little tiny bicycles. When you ride a bike that fits you and the seat is properly adjusted, it seems to me your legs should just about straighten out as the peddle reaches its lowest point. You get more power with less effort so you can ride faster and farther that way.

Girls always had a "girls" bike with the crossbar drooped away down to allow for their skirts and so they didn't have to swing one leg up and over the seat. Now, girls hardly ever wear skirts and I don't know why that is.

Men used to wear pants and the girls wore skirts or dresses and sometimes slacks. Now, the girls wear the pants and the guys wear slacks and I don't know why that is either.

Perhaps now that I have retired, we can do more bike riding. It's pretty good exercise for the legs. Over all, walking is likely better for you but you can go so much farther on a bicycle.

I rarely ever see a tandem bicycle these days. Remember that old song..."Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do, I'm half crazy, all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage, but you'll look sweet, on the seat of a bicycle built for two." (Harry Dacre-1928)

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