Saturday, 18 February 2012

I had a Good Old Bike (early 1950's)

The brakes were none existent, and rims they had a dent,
And wobbled as I rode it, and the wheels they were bent.

When ever cattle were move up the road to another field, or when they were first turned out in spring, the younger stock always broke into a fast sprint, which the men could not keep up with them. So it was always done when us kids were at home, they got us to jump onto our bikes and over take the running livestock on the road to make sure they did not go where they were not supposed to.
It was about half a mile to the further summer pastures, with four road turn to either block off or turn them in off the road, and about four more gates to stand in or shut the gates.

The dairy cows were used to this walk to the distant day pastures but at night they stayed on a night pasture close by the cowsheds. If we were off school we were sent to take the cows up the road in the mornings and bring the cows down again in the afternoon , this we did on our bikes.

In the early autumn the laying poultry were taken out onto the wheat stubbles in field ark pens, about fifty to a pen, these were on little cast iron wheels and shoved up the field every few days until they had gleaned over the whole field of stubble. The grain got shaken out in the loading of ripe shoffs of corn that had stood a fortnight in the fields to ripen (two church bells). Wheat was bindered at least two weeks earlier than we do now with a combine, other wise grain would be lost in the cutting and stooking.

Back to the hens, this was another job that we did on our bikes, the hens had to be let out in a mornings before we went to school and then shut in again at dusk. In the summer when we had double summer time (early to mid 1940's) it could be as late as 11 pm before it went dark, and no amount of driving would make them go up the chute into their ark.

The eggs were collected into galvanize buckets, old dented buckets, ones that would not hold water. We put a bit of hay in the bottom and hung one on each side of the handle bars, they held around seven dozen in each bucket, On this one day, I had got a good speed up coming down Bridgeford Bank, the same that we did every day, but I lost control and came off my bike eggs and all, I grazed my knee and elbow what I thought was quite badly, cleaned up most of the broken eggs off the road and those still in the buckets I slung them over the hedge.

On reaching home, no consideration was made as to how my elbow and knees were, but got thoroughly chastised and scolded for breaking two buckets full of eggs. We had cycled with buckets full of eggs many times and as long as ya missed the pot holes the road was quite smooth and very rarely broke any.

I had a Good Old Bike

Remember years ago, when I had a good old bike,
Its mud guards loose and rattled, a new one I would like,
The brakes were none existent, and rims they had a dent,
And wobbled as I rode it, and the wheels they were bent.

The seat was ripped and torn, springs were showing through,
A Saddle bag was hanging, off two little straps askew,
It had a carrier on the back, with long and snappy spring,
A clip to hold my jacket down, save tying it on with string.


The Puncture outfit

I had a puncture outfit, in a tin four inches long,
It had a pack of patches; they didn't look very strong,
A tube of tyre solution, there to glue the patches down,
Sand paper to roughen, and talc in glue it turned brown.

I often had a puncture, when I went over spike or thorn,
Turned it upside down to find, the tyre is well worn,
Off to fetch two table spoons, out of the kitchen draw,
Just to use as tyre leavers, see that mother never saw.

The tyre off the spoons they bent, muck and dirt abound,
Pulling out the inner tube, the hole it must be found,
Clean it up and roughen, peel the patch and stick right on,
Blow it up, only to find, we've only got another one.

Tyre mended blown up hard, now to have some fun,
Standing on the peddles hard, make the old hens run,
Up a hedge bank down a track, riding through the wood,
Good job it's just an old one, sliding through the mud.


I'm lazy. But it's the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn't like walking or carrying things

Lech Walesa (1943- )

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