Bicycling to School

Grandson Malcolm, who is going to turn 6 any second now, headed off on his bicycle for his first day of kindergarten this morning. He’s lucky enough to have a good school only a few blocks from his house in Lake Park, FL.

Brother David pumps up his tires

Here’s Brother David in his baseball uniform pumping up his tires. Note the speedometer. I had one of those on my bike, too. I pegged it going down the steep hill gravel road leading from Old McKendree Chapel. It’s the kind of thing you do just once in your life if you survive it.

Technical note: the black and white photos were taken with a half-frame camera that would get two photos in a standard 35-mm frame. You got twice as many photos per roll of film, but the quality was only half as good.

Brother Mark with his Sears Spyder

Mark had a Sears Spyder with a rare leopard skin banana seat. When he outgrew it, it ended up in a shed in Dutchtown where it went underwater in at least two floods. Read about my quest to fix it up for him as a present.

After I wrote that piece, I was surprised at how many bicycle collectors there are out there and wrote a second story. After discovering how much it was going to cost to restore the old bike, I loaded it back in the car to take it back to him. After all, you can only love your brother so much.

A fellow who read the stories knew a restorer in Henderson, KY, who had a near mint version of Mark’s old bike. Mark asked if I’d divert a few hundred miles out of my way to pick it up on my last trip to Cape. Sure. Gas was a lot cheaper than fixing his old bike.

I’ll be writing about that adventure on my bike blog.

I’m still looking for photos of MY bike. So far, I’ve found about a two-second video snippet of me pulling out of the driveway on it, and a still frame where it’s way in the background.

6 Replies to “Bicycling to School”

  1. I hope you find some photos worthy posting of your bike. One of the staples of growing up was seeing you leave off from the house with all the newspapers on the way to delivering them. I don’t think I ever saw you leave the house from a sitting position on the bike, you were carrying so much stuff you always hand to start out from a standing position.

    As a kid, the bike was my rocket ship, my race car and the thing that would let me go faster and farther each time I crossed over our gravel driveway and headed either East or West. When Dad took me to Sears to get a new bike I had the choice of getting a three-speed bike or the Spyder. I looked hard and long at the three-speed and marveled at the having three speeds to choose from, but the styling of the Spyder won out. The cost for the two bikes were identical, around $33 dollars.

    “A bicycle does get you there and more…. And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive. Dogs become dogs again and snap at your raincoat; potholes become personal. And getting there is all the fun.” ~Bill Emerson, “On Bicycling,” Saturday Evening Post, 29 July 1967

  2. Picture two Schwinn 26″ Balloon tire “50’s Cruiser” bicycles. My inspirational older brother Cory and Harold “Gene” Stone removed the front tire from one bike, bolted the now empty front fork over the rear axle of the other bike yielding a three-wheel two seater. Now picture that very tricycle rolling down East Rodney Drive from the National Guard Armory toward the Arena Park. I think they got up to 35-40 mph, but did NOT have that expensive luxurious after-market Western Auto speedometer to measure it.

    1. Rita
      My Dad bought me this bike when I was a kid and I have been looking for one,now as an adult and willing to pay more tham mkt price. please contact me if you decide to sell. TY

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