I was 16 and my mother was 39 in this photograph. We were getting ready to go bike down Old Plank Road. I was bare footed. We used to bike past the neighbors on the hill and down to a pond that was small and weedy. Sometimes we skated there in the winter. The neighbors had two big dogs that were often outside and we would peddle fast to get past before the dogs got to the road. We’d take enough time riding to the pond and looking at the water for them to go back up and then we’d repeat the ride back to the house. The dogs never got to us.
I got my first bike on my 8th birthday. It was a basic, blue bike. I didn’t know how to ride and it took me so long to learn that my mother finally threatened to give the bike to my cousin Barbara if I didn’t learn how to ride. I don’t remember anybody holding the bike and running with me. I do remember practicing in the driveway of the house on Chicago until I learned to ride. At that point I only rode around the block.
When I was older, I remember going bike riding all around the neighborhood with my cousins, Dee Dee and Barbara. We rode in the street, which I wasn’t supposed to do. My sister and I used to go bike riding too but we usually had a destination – the library or my grandmother’s house. I lost that bike when I left it unchained outside of a store on W. Grand Blvd. We were on the way home from the Main Library. Later it was replaced by a three speed bike. I had that one up at Old Plank until we sold the place and then I had it in the Detroit. It too was stolen when my husband left it unchained on a porch one night.
When we lived in Idlewild, from 1986 to 2007, I used to ride my Uncle Hugh’s old bike. It had a bigger than average seat which made it more comfortable for me to ride, however it was old and had been through a lot and the tires were sort of crooked. I enjoyed riding it the 4 miles around the lake and for one memorable 5 mile ride into town with my daughter, Ife. She was going to work so she had 6 hours between her rides. I had to turn around and ride 5 miles back. If the streets around my house here were flat and I didn’t see rottweilers trotting down the street alone, I would get a bike and ride now. I know I am not going to take a bike to a park to ride.
Other posts about Old Plank