One Bicycle - Five People

By Jabo
@jaboUK (49988)
United Kingdom
May 2, 2017 8:25am CST
When I was a child in the 1940s our family didn't have a car, but our parents had a novel way of getting around. They had an old bicycle with two seats, one behind the other, which was called a tandem. They had used this when they were courting some years before, but it wasn't much use when we three little girls came along. My Dad was quite resourceful and set about making a 'sidecar'. This was basically a box on wheels which he attached to the side of the bike, and into which we three crammed. With both Mum and Dad providing the power by cycling we would set off to 'see the world'. We felt like little princesses riding in our 'chariot', and in this manner our horizons were considerably widened. Mum used to pack a picnic, but as this was just after the war and food was still rationed, it mostly consisted of bread and jam sandwiches. These we thoroughly enjoyed and devoured them with gusto. I remember these outings with joy, and they provided us with the opportunity to get to know our father better, as he'd been away at the war for most of our early years. The image is from Pixabay but gives you an idea of what a sidecar looks like. Did you have an unusual mode of transport when you were a child?
55 people like this
58 responses
@LadyDuck (118000)
• Switzerland
2 May
My grandfather had a sidecar and we have used a tandem when we were newly wed, just for fun. The tandem brought to my mind an American Popular song "Daisy Bell - Bicycle Built For Two".
11 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@LadyDuck I remember that song Anna 'Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do, I'm half crazy all for the love of you, We won't have a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage, But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle made for two'. I didn't know it was American, but it was popular in my youth.
8 people like this
@LadyDuck (118000)
• Switzerland
2 May
@jaboUK It was written in the United States, but it was by a British composer, inspired by Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick, one of the many mistresses of King Edward VII.
6 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@LadyDuck I knew I could rely on you to come up with the facts Anna
4 people like this
@Juliaacv (21938)
• Canada
2 May
That sounds like it was cozy, in a fun way! As you know, my Dad was a farmer, and the main vehicle that a farmer needs is a tractor. So after he bought a few of those, he also needed (a priority for hauling things) was a pick up truck. So, he and my mother would go everywhere in the pick up truck. They went to church, to the bank, to the grocery store and he went to get seed and fertilizer and hauled empty wagons to the fields in it. And then they started a family, and they had 4 children within 4 years. And we all crammed into that pick up truck. It wasn't until my youngest brother was born that they considered that we might all be comfortable in a car. And he bought one, which made him a 2 vehicle household, plus all of those tractors. But even when we were teenagers, if Dad was going somewhere and taking us there, quite often it was in the truck. And it never seemed to matter if there were just him and I or if some of my brothers were tagging along to, there was always room in the front of that pick up truck.
6 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@Juliaacv What lovely memories you have Julia - you've almost made a post with your reply. Why don't you do just that so that more people can read about them?
4 people like this
@Juliaacv (21938)
• Canada
2 May
@jaboUK I started to do one up last weekend, but I didn't think that it was very interesting. Now I'll have to do one up. I'll have to think of something.
2 people like this
@BettyB (4290)
• Summerville, South Carolina
6 May
I remember hitching a ride into town on my uncle's tractor. One of the things I truly love about this site is the memories reading post and comments conjure up. I hadn't thought about that in years.
3 people like this
@Shavkat (44853)
• Philippines
2 May
We do have this kind of side car. I remembered we just ride on this in the playground. It was also a rental sidecar.
5 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@Shavkat So you know what I'm talking about here. We had some fun in ours.
3 people like this
@Shavkat (44853)
• Philippines
3 May
@jaboUK I do. It is a good memory. It is better to remember the simplicity of lifestyle before.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96202)
• Bunbury, Australia
2 May
Only my sheep cart! I can imagine what pleasure you had on these picnics. Most were in similar 'boats' I guess but people still had some wonderful times and made great memories.
4 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@JudyEv I'll bet you had fun in your sheep cart too.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (96202)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 May
@jaboUK When I was a child my sheep cart was what we called a 'butter box' stuck on old pram wheels with pieces of wood for handles. Vince couldn't envisage what I wanted for Herc but came home one day with a garden cart which is all very nice but being four wheels it is quite heavy for him to pull. Anyway he is retired now.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
3 May
@JudyEv You put a photo up of Herc with his cart a while ago, I believe.
2 people like this
@fishtiger58 (30284)
• Momence, Illinois
2 May
those are such cool memories, I would have loved to ride in one of those. My dad was to young to be in the war but he did try to join all the services and was turned down repeatedly. He had very very rare blood and that was the reason he was rejected time and again.
4 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@fishtiger58 Yes it was a lot of fun. Did your Dad's condition make him ill?
1 person likes this
@fishtiger58 (30284)
• Momence, Illinois
2 May
@jaboUK No not at all, he just had rare blood and apparently the services were afraid if he got hurt he would die because getting him the right blood would be difficult.
2 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@fishtiger58 Oh I understand now.
1 person likes this
• United States
2 May
My unusual mode of transportation before being old enough to drive, was roller skates ! Yep until the laws came out where you could not even use those . . . So the side car was your dads idea or did he copy it from the old motorcycle company handbooks @jaboUK ?
4 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@enlightenedpsych2 I don't really know whether it was Dad's idea, but I should think he had seen them somewhere. Roller skates? Wonderful - I longed for a pair of those as a child but my parents said I fell over enough already!
2 people like this
• United States
3 May
@jaboUK it was either those or a skateboard and honestly I was NOT skilled enough to keep one horizontal ! I LOVED my roller skates too, key and all four wheels nothing like the fancy in line skates they made a decade later. we were very fortunate to have a roller rink near by that did not charge much for three hours on their floor so when I practiced on the drive way I got to go with the 'big kids' and skate on a really shiny wooden floor complete with an island in the middle of the place.
2 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
3 May
@enlightenedpsych2 That sounds wonderful.
1 person likes this
@Morleyhunt (15921)
• Canada
2 May
We had a car as early as I can remember. I remember sitting on my fathers lap as he drove the tractor. I also remember riding high on the hay wagon....returning from the fields.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
I'll bet that hay ride was a lot of fun for a child. I've done that, but not until I was a young adult.
1 person likes this
@Morleyhunt (15921)
• Canada
2 May
@jaboUK as an adult I've gone on one amazing....hilarious....memorable hayride. My childish memory was a working hayride. We were bringing the hay in from the field.
2 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@Morleyhunt Oh yes, that's what I meant too - I worked on a farm.
2 people like this
@just4him (88712)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
2 May
That is a unique way of getting places with a bicycle. Sounds like a lot of fun.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@just4him Yes it was fun and didn't cost much to make.
1 person likes this
@just4him (88712)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
2 May
@jaboUK It always amazes me how inexpensive things could be during those times, usually a bit of elbow grease and ingenuity, where today that thought doesn't even cross a person's mind - they need to have the real thing, made with the best materials and cost a life savings to have it.
2 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
3 May
@just4him That's absolutely true, and there's no 'make-do-and-mend' which used to be the norm.
1 person likes this
• Austin, Texas
3 May
I just love your image. I can't ride a bike. But I wouldn't mind getting in one of those types of vehicles.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
3 May
@cmoneyspinner Yes it's a cute image, isn't it? You never learned to ride a bike? You missed out on some fun
1 person likes this
• Austin, Texas
3 May
@jaboUK - I'm sure I missed out on lots of fun. Had a minor accident growing up. I was about 6 or 7 years old. One of the neighborhood kids hit me with their bike. I was trying to cross the street and the kid was riding down the street at the time. Coming fast because he was racing against another kid and he had fallen behind. I remember the incident clearly. He tried to stop and avoid hitting me but … Wham! He was fine but my mom took me inside the house to nurse my cuts, scrapes and bruises. After that I never had much motivation to learn to ride a bike. Looking back I realize that I should have learned this very practical skill. Fortunately, most of my kids know how to ride a bike. They taught themselves. My daughter rides her bike to and from her part-time job.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
3 May
@cmoneyspinner After that, I can understand why you didn't want to ride a bike.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (78252)
• United States
2 May
What a wonderful and clever type of transportation for your family. We always had one car, and then two that were used to transport us here and there as a family.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@Corbin5 Even one car per family was a rarity at the time I'm talking about here. Even if you could afford one there would be the issue of getting petrol (gas) for it, as I believe it was still rationed for some time after the war. I'm not 100% certain about that as we had no use for it, but I know that England wasn't completely free of rationing until the early 50s.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (78252)
• United States
2 May
@jaboUK I do remember seeing photos of my grandparents' car in the 1940s, but I am sure they did not drive long distances. I read that FDR imposed gas rationing in the USA in 1942 and all rationing ended in 1946.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@Corbin5 The rationing lasted a lot longer for us.
1 person likes this
@much2say (34348)
• United States
2 May
I was thinking "chariot" too! That must've been so much fun! Were you seated? I imagine back then they didn't enforce seat belts and helmets - but you were all fine. Can't really say we had any "unusual mode" of transport . . . I think these days some kids might thinking walking long distance is unusual!
3 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@much2say No seats, we just sat on the floor - I think Mum put an old scrap of carpet there. Looking back it couldn't have been very comfortable, but we didn't care. Lol, you're right about kids these days thinking walking is unusual
2 people like this
@much2say (34348)
• United States
2 May
@jaboUK Wow, I wonder how fast you guys were actually going like that! Kids adjust to anything just fine - especially if they are having fun.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@much2say Well it was only a bicycle so it just went as fast as Mum and Dad could peddle.
1 person likes this
@Tampa_girl7 (21253)
• United States
3 May
I've seen sidecars in movies and tv shows.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
3 May
@Tampa_girl7 So you have an idea of what I'm talking about here
1 person likes this
@Tampa_girl7 (21253)
• United States
22 May
@jaboUK yes I do
1 person likes this
@hostessman (6922)
• Tucson, Arizona
3 May
i don't remember my parent ever having a car. i bought myself one when i was 16
3 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
3 May
@hostessman I should think that is quite unusual for an American family not to have a car, isn't it? You always seem to be ahead of us on most things.
1 person likes this
• Tucson, Arizona
3 May
@jaboUK maybe but we lived in a small town
1 person likes this
@Gabugs (1790)
• United States
3 May
How wonderful that you vividly recall the early childhood years and share it here. I'm sure you had a very happy childhood.It shows in your writings. You'll be surprised to learn that we didn't own a car when we got married. So we went around on a vespa scooter. When our boys arrived, we placed them is the side car and used it as our main means of transport. As unlike here in U.S. in Bombay, to be able to afford a car, was a big thing in those days.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
3 May
@Gabugs That's interesting that you used a sidecar for your children Gabby, even though it was on a motorised scooter. I think I was about 11 when my father got his first car, and that was a big deal for us too, although I did have my own when I got married. You grew up in India? You must have had an interesting life.
1 person likes this
@Gabugs (1790)
• United States
3 May
@jaboUK Yes, I was raised in India in a large joint family and educated in the British system of education. India was under British rule till 1947 when India got its independence.
1 person likes this
@pumpkinjam (5680)
• United Kingdom
2 May
That sounds like fun. We didn't have any unusual modes of transport. It was usually Shanks's pony or the bus. As we got older, we had bikes at various times. My Mum couldn't (and still can't) ride a bike so such a device wouldn't have helped our family, although I'm sure my Dad would have been happy to pedal her plus three daughters.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@pumpkinjam Yes, Shank's pony or the bus was usual for us too, not that we went on the bus very often. Remember me to your Mum please
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
2 May
@jaboUK :) Will do :)
1 person likes this
@amadeo (45885)
• United States
2 May
well we had a car that my brother drove for my aunt.He will take us to the beach every Sunday.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@amadeo Cars for ordinary families weren't common here till much later than the period I'm talking about here. That was nice that you got to go to the beach in one.
@amadeo (45885)
• United States
2 May
@jaboUK yes it was nice to get out of the house and fresh air at the ocean.this was in Rhode Island
1 person likes this
@DianneN (57207)
• United States
2 May
What a novel idea. You must have had such wonderful times on your chariot. I'm sure those special memories will be with you for years to come.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@DianneN Dad was pretty clever with his hands, and was good at making something out of nothing. This was a great way of going beyond our immediate neighbourhood and enabled us to see and enjoy a bit of the countryside.
1 person likes this
@DianneN (57207)
• United States
3 May
@jaboUK Those must have been very special times.
1 person likes this
@ilocosboy (31416)
• Philippines
2 May
that was a good memory of a family bonding together with the bike with sidecar. Wow, I can feel the happiness in your heart. Time fly fast and sometimes we want to return in that moment of our time.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@ilocosboy They were great times - we didn't have a lot of possessions in those days, but we had a lot of fun.
1 person likes this
@ilocosboy (31416)
• Philippines
2 May
@jaboUK that's true, I miss my childhood too.
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
2 May
Great Story Janet love it. Jam Sanwiches were also our lot and we used to make them ourselves. Would have loved to have driven in that "chariot" though.
2 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@lovinangelsinstead21 Can you imagine kids nowadays thinking that jam sandwiches were a treat? Yes the chariot was great fun.
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
2 May
@jaboUK Not really I can´t and what about cheese and daddy sauce sandwiches as well for the School trips? What about pork dripping sandwiches as a treat? Love the chariot thing though.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@lovinangelsinstead21 Oh the dripping sandwiches were delicious, weren't they? We never went on any school trips - I don't think there were any when I was small.
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (113958)
• Boise, Idaho
2 May
I love the ingenuity some of us have. Sounds like a fun way of getting where you needed to go.
2 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@celticeagle Yes, it was fun - an adventure every time we went out in it. Looking back, it must have been pretty uncomfortable with three of us crammed in it, but we never noticed.
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (113958)
• Boise, Idaho
2 May
@jaboUK ......When I was a young kid I don't think I thought much about comfort and such. Just the journey and the adventure of it all.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
2 May
@celticeagle That's it exactly - it's only when we get older that comfort becomes an issue.
1 person likes this