Posted by Graham English:
In the 1950s most people in Young didn’t have a car. Most business people did and most people on the land though some of them didn’t either. There were still farms where they ploughed using draught horses. Lots of people out of town did not have electricity. The lucky ones had a kerosene refrigerator. I knew lots of kids who did their homework by lamplight or used it as an excuse for not doing their homework.
So lots of people had bikes.
Bikes came in a range of styles, sizes and conditions. Few people could afford a new bike.
The main brands were Malvern Star and Speedwell. There were other brands too. My mother had a Wynall. Malvern Star originated in Melbourne and a famous Australian Hubert Opperman who had ridden in the Tour De France promoted them. In the 1950s he was a member of federal parliament. In Sydney there were quite a few small bike making factories around Newtown and other inner suburbs.
Quite a lot of adults rode bikes to work then and rode them long distances. The women’s bikes usually had a basket on the front and the rider would wear a scarf like the queen does sometimes. Lots of kids rode them to school and you’d see them leaning on the fences at the schools.
I was a small child. I was still playing in the six stone football team when I was fourteen. When I was about five my father tried without success to teach me to ride on my mother’s full size women’s bike. I couldn’t stand on the pedals and sit on the seat at the same time. Lots of people rode bikes too big for them or too small.
In those days women’s bikes did not have a cross bar which meant they were no good for dinking. When you dinked someone they sat on the crossbar and you rode the bike. 'Dinking' was also called 'doubling'. Some girls’ bikes also had a guard along the chain so their skirts would not get caught.
CONTINUED NEXT WEEK...
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