When I was Young No. 34 – Bicycle Lessons

Bicycle Lessons

Lowell and I got a good used bicycle to share at Christmas, 1948. Like with the Trailblazer sled, we worked out a system of sharing. But, we didn’t have to share with David.

It didn’t have fenders but Mother found some that fit. She also found a rack that fit over the rear wheel so Lowell and I thought we could use it for the back seat and ride together. It was too flimsy for that but it did work fairly well for tying on a few groceries.

I wasn’t much bigger than Lowell but I was a little stronger so when we doubled I got the seat but had to peddle with him sideways on the top tube of the frame. That was difficult but it worked.

One day we discovered that he could balance on the handle bars and put one or both feet lightly on the front fender for balance.  It was harder for me to steer but easier for me to peddle. Soon after learning those skills we decided to test our ability to go fast.

We thought about riding down the hill on the road going towards Sanish but there was too much loose gravel. Our other option was to take the dirt path down the hill to the railroad tracks.

We were going faster than either of us imagined we could go when we hit a small bump. The jolt was enough to separate Lowell’s foot from the fender. When he adjusted, his heel went into the spokes in front of the fork.

The stop was as if we hit a wall. Lowell was thrown to the path and I was catapulted over him.

Once again, Mother had wounded boys. Lowell had a nasty cut on his heel and I had another scrape on my head.

One of the Ranum boys clipped a playing card to the frame of his bicycle so the flipping on the spokes made it sound like a motorcycle engine. I did the same.

Motorcycles had to be raced. Ranum and I raced on the flat road and won about the same number of times. One day we decided to race downhill. We started at the top end of the Olson brothers’ road that ran past our house to the west. It was fairly smooth and promised a good fast race.

It was lunch time and Ranum decided to take one last run. I was adjusting the card on my spokes and he took off. He would win with the unfair start but I instinctively took a shortcut.

I went down the hill across the field toward our house. I would cut him off just after the curve at the end of Olson’s road where it joined the main road.

I hadn’t thought about Mother’s clotheslines being in my shortcut path. I was going nearly as fast as I had ever gone on the flat road. I saw the first line and ducked. I wasn’t low enough for the sagging forth line.

It caught me just above the eyes. The bike kept going and I landed and skidded on my back.  Any time someone makes a comment about someone being clotheslined in a game, I remember my real clotheslining.

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