My Bicycle

I clearly remember the days of my bicycle. It was in the 1940s, when everybody had a bicycle. Mine hung on a hook in the laundry. It came with toe grips on the pedals and had a racing seat with a lambswool cover for comfort. It had a rim bell, which was operated from the handlebars (see picture). I paid £3/2/- for it.

Bikes were great fun at weekends. I rode as far as Frankston and Dandenong. The tyres hummed as you went along, creating a happy feeling. But tragedy struck on a very foggy morning. I was going to work when a man coming from the opposite direction collided with me. I continued on my way, not realising that the frame was damaged and needed repairs.

Four other fellow workers used to join me on their bikes to work. It was all downhill from the top of High Street in St Kilda to the city, via St Kilda Road, and the traffic was very light in those days. Going home, you might hold on to the back of a tray truck and have a free ride for a while.

Such was the need at the work place that an area was provided with hooks to hang our bikes on. On the days that we went to Melbourne Tech. as part of our training, the school provided books and a man to staff the area to keep an eye on our bikes.

Eventually, at about age sixteen I sold my bike and purchased an exarmy motorbike.

Several people came to our house on their bikes, including the postman, the Rawleigh’s man (day-to-day medicines) and the street collector for the War Savings fund.

Keith Smith
Return to Bulletin #135