Thursday, February 19, 2009

Speaking of Bicycles

Back in the day...most of the bicycles had fenders on them, just like cars. Where I lived the roads were clay, sticky, muddy, ungraveled dirt. When it was dry, the dust was an inch thick. When it was wet the mud was about a foot thick. After a few cars plowed their way down the road (they would all use the same tracks) you could ride a bicycle down the hard tracks which were like pavement. Cars meeting each other would try to find a driveway to turn into to let each other pass or use the ol' chicken routine to get the other guy to hit the foot deep clay mud. On a bicycle, you knew you would loose any game of chicken, so it was off to the side of the road and into the edge of the trees. Then the trouble started. My old bicycle (passed down from my olders) was too heavy for me to lift so I had to roll it to the side. Then was when the mud got under the fender. I'd scrape it, poke it with a stick or just try to ride it anyway. Mud would get so clogged in there that the bicycle would stop by itself if you stopped peddling. About the only way to get it cleaned out was to let it dry and bang the fenders with something. That machine stayed in the family for a long time, although no one wanted it after me. The brakes were gone and the only way to stop it was to run into something or coast for a while. Coasting was not always an option and sometimes those sudden stops were quite uncomfortable.
On the farm

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