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Biker chick.

February 18, 2008

Forgive the graininess of this photo… the original wasn’t too crisp to begin with:

laura-bike.jpg

I am not sure of the year on this photo, but it’s definitely early 70s. This was taken on the street where we lived from 1971 to 1979, on Glenwood Road in Bethesda, MD. A fine portrait of me and my fancy bike with the swell plastic basket in front, complete with colorful plastic daisies.

You will see that I am sporting another remarkable “Early Laura” ensemble: purple and gold striped shirt (with lace up neckline!) and matching purple shorts. Polyester? Probably. I’m sure the stripes on those little tube socks matched everything else, too. Oh let’s face it people… I was all that and a bag of chips. You know you wish you were me. πŸ™‚

I am smiling proudly here, and why not? The bike looks pretty new –probably the occasion for the photo. This was obviously taken at a time when riding bikes was all fun and freedom… the broken noses and concussions would come a little later.

It has occurred to me now and then, especially since I have two boys who are of bike riding age, how “the times, they are a changin’.” Back in the 70s, I rode my bike everywhere. I lived in a neighborhood where I could ride to the places that interested me without having to cross any major roads full of traffic. I could ride to school, visit all my friends, go to the library, even go to Brown’s store on Old Georgetown Road in relative safety. And, if I wanted to go anywhere that was a little further out (that might involve crossing a busier road), I pretty much just had to yell my intentions to my Mom as I headed out the door.

All this is not to say that I had no boundaries… I had them, and I knew exactly what they were. Also, truly, the boundaries were quite large. I wonder sometimes if my parents ever worried about me riding all over the place pretty much unsupervised. They never let on if they did.

Now, contrast all that with last summer, when my boys (then ages 8 and 10 – older than I am in the above photo) wanted to ride less than two miles to our neighborhood park…

First, Glenn and I had to call an Emergency Parent Conference about the matter. This was followed by a mandatory Here Is How You Have To Do It Meeting with the boys, which included a special presentation on what they had to wear (helmets!). At that point, a Reasonable Time Frame was declared for the trip, which they had to abide by lest we contact the appropriate authorities and send out a search party. If they managed to complete their little venture without incident, they would avoid Grounding From All Recreational Activity Until Further Notice.

Believe it or not, they managed to take their trip to the park and back again. Funny, I don’t think they have asked to do it since…

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9 comments

  1. I had a basket on my bike. I think it might even be the same one that you had, but my bike was yellow; I remember that. oooh, I had the horn too.


  2. Love those wheels! The horn is my personal fave.

    My childhood was similar to yours re: unrestricted riding. I miss that for my own boys, although they don’t know anything different.


  3. I had the basket, but not the horn. I was so deprived! And, my older sister was the one whose tube socks always matched her outfit. She was way cooler than I was.


  4. For the record… any matching of socks to clothes back then was most likely due to my Mom laying my clothes out for me πŸ™‚


  5. Laura, I believe the picture is from 1973. You were several months past 5, the concussion happened in June of 1973 and the broken nose in September, when you had just started kindergarten. You went back to school with a very bruised face and black eye, and then I got a call from the principal’s office for a meeting…But they just wanted to tell me how well you were doing in school!

    I’m enjoying reading your views of things from way back then. Mom


  6. I never had a cool basket like that! Or a cool horn for my bike! OR matching tube socks either! WAAAH! I’m not cool! 😦 Boo hoo! (hey—did that thing have one of those “banana-style” seats to it??) Rock on!


  7. Sweeeeet socks. I think those should make a comeback.


  8. Biker chick, indeed. I still remember the day this chick rode that bike (or one very like it) all the way to Mount Vernon (George’s house) on the Potomac in Virginia and back on a very hot (about 90) summer day. It was a round trip of 40 plus miles made without any gears and without a whimper. What a trooper! And still is. Dadperson


  9. […] memories came back to me while I was reading this post by my friend Laura, and seeing this picture of her with her bike from the days of the banana seat […]



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