Side View’s weekend challenge. Cycling memories.

Sidey’s weekend challenge, ‘a bicycle made for 2 (1)’, stirred memories of my childhood. I did quite a lot of cycling  in those far off days, mostly to school and back, in my bottle green tunic and blazer, with my hated beret firmly held on with hair grips, and my satchel full of books on my back. I suppose the traffic wasn’t nearly as bad then as it would be nowadays. I felt perfectly safe riding downhill  into town, and up the narrow lane which led to the street on which my stone-built grammar school was situated. Of course we rode our bikes with no helmets, and never gave a thought as to what could happen, should we have an accident.

There are several memories which stand out in my mind from my bike-riding days. The worst one, is having to clean the rust off all those wheel spokes, as well as the rims.This dreaded task was done with something called ‘Duraglit’, which was wadding, impregnated with some horrid pink stuff, which made my hands really dry and rough. My dad used to inspect those spokes minutely, so I had to be sure to do a really good job.

The ride down to school was quite easy, but coming back, I had to push my bike up a very steep hill. It would have been much more preferable to catch the bus, but what would I do with the bike? Besides which, I needed my fourpence halfpenny bus fare to buy a small tin of Heinz tomato soup at our corner shop. This was my secret addiction, and most days I could hardly wait to get home, heat up my soup, pour it into a mug and drink it down. I would then wash up the saucepan and mug, and bury the tin deep in the trash can. 😉

My sister and I used to go out riding together during the school holidays, and I particularly remember one day when she rode off in front, gleefully calling out to me, “Let’s pretend we’re riding to Skeggy!” (For those of you who don’t know, Skegness is an English seaside resort). Off she went full tilt down the bumpy, stony road just above where we lived, singing, “Oh I do love to be beside the seaside.” I followed after her, and was horrified to see her front wheel suddenly hit a rock, and send her flying right over the handlebars, and into the dirt. Luckily she wasn’t injured, but it took us quite a while to  get the grit out of the grazes on her hands and knees.

When I left home to go to college, my dad sold my old bike, and I never rode again until about 40 years later, when on a visit to Nantucket, we hired bikes, and rode 30 miles around the island. I was a bit dubious about whether I would be able to ride after such a long time, but it’s so true that once you’ve learned, you never forget how to ride a bike.

Now, I know you have all come to expect photos from me, so today, off we went  in the heat and 90% humidity, trudging up hill and down dale to find some bikes to photograph. Most people here ride mopeds or motorbikes, but I was determined to find bicycles.

The closest one was this Club Med bike, almost on our doorstep waiting for a rider.

This cute pink “Hello Kitty” bike, with passenger seat, is no doubt some girl’s pride and joy.

A very smart purple bike (also made for 2), was parked outside a laundry, of which there are hundreds in Phuket.


Oh dear, it looks like this poor old bike will never be ridden again, but it sure makes a good advertising sign outside the bicycle repair and hire shop.

Of course you wouldn’t go riding these days without a safety helmet, would you? Well here are a few to choose from, and in such pretty colours too.

If you want to join in this challenge, just click here.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend. Tomorrow is our last full day here before we return to South Africa.