Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Cycling In 1955
The focus on this photo, dated "1955" is a bit shaky, but I love the old style bike, the price was right, so I had to have it.
I got my first bicycle ten years after this picture was taken. I desperately wanted a Schwinn. My father, who always had an eye for a bargain, got me a very heavy, chromed behemoth of a Huffy instead. The house we lived in had a basement garage that was kept open all summer to help with the heat. One day, someone walked through the open garage door, into the basement and took the Huffy. My parents were very, very angry. But they weren't angry with the thief. They were angry with me. A couple of months after the Huffy was stolen, my father showed up on one of his occasional visits, climbed into the back of his pickup truck and tossed out an old, used bike as a replacement. It was an English made Raleigh, far lighter than the Huffy, with a three speed Sturmy-Archer hub.
I grew up in a river valley in western Pennsylvania, and the Huffy was far too heavy to get up the hill and out of town. The Raleigh, lighter and with gears, didn't have that problem. I've been an avid cyclist ever since. The best bike isn't the newest or shiniest, it's that one that's ridden. The Huffy, because of it's weight, had a tendency to stay in the basement, the Raleigh, well worn, was always on the go. I even rode it in winter, in the snow.