Bicycles: Times Past


This is my first submission to Irene’s Times Past, and this month’s subject is: Bicycles.

(I’ve noticed that my English is getting worse and worse. Many commonly used words become unfamiliar to me. I need to do something, so this is my effort to save the rest of my English brain.)

Baby Boomer – Tainan, Taiwan

Learning Biking

In this photo, you see 3 sisters: my big sister was riding the bike; my younger sister sat in the back; I was a happy observer. Believe it or not, that bike in the photo was the bike I used to learn how to bike.

It was one afternoon when I was in 3nd grade. Everyone was busy, and I got bored. I pushed the bike to one end of our yard, and carefully move one leg to the other side of the bike. The bike was taller than me; placing my hands on the handlebars, I felt as if I was reaching to stars. Back and forth, I pushed the bike from one end to the other. After several back-and-forths, I managed to stand on one pedal; my arms felt much better. More back-and-forths later, I was able to ride the bike. Of course I had to stand on the pedals; the seat was too high for me.

I began biking to school when I was in 4th grade. Bike was the means of transport in Taiwan back then. (Motorcycles have replaced bikes nowadays.)

Biking Games

Back then, almost everyone was a biking expert. We could carry almost anything, big or small, when we biked. I bet I could texting if we had cell phone back then. 😉

Forcing others off their bikes was one game we played. We didn’t have fancy toys; we had to be creative in making games. We biked in the yard and each would try to corner the other so he would have to get off his bike. I think I won most of the time. I am sure my friends think they did 😉

A Red Bike

When I was in high school, my mom gave me a new bike – an old bike, but it was new to us. It was a cute red and white bike. I wasn’t too crazy about how it looked, but I didn’t argue. However I was shock when I first rode it – it would take 3 or 4 turns and finally the chain would be properly connected (not sure how to describe). So when the traffic light turned green, you could see my feet draw 3 circles quickly before the bike making a move. I hated it, but I didn’t say a word to my mom. I understood we didn’t have a lot of money.

One day, my sister Karin needed a bike; she asked me if she could use mine. I hesitated, wondering if I should tell her about the secret of that bike. She wasn’t too happy for my hesitation. “Only for a short while, “ she said loudly. “Sure,” I said. A minute later, I heard her screaming. “What kind of bike is this?” she said. I didn’t respond, hoping my mom didn’t hear anything.

Owing a Bike again

I didn’t bring my bike with me when attending college, only rode it during summer or winter vacation. After coming to U.S., for many years I didn’t have a bike – I didn’t think it was safe to ride one, and I finally bought one several years ago. The first thing I noticed was that the handlebars is not as stable as any of my old bikes; this didn’t bother me, since, in my mind, I am a biking expert and I can handle it. What I didn’t expect was that after riding for 5 minutes, my butt started hurting; I had never experienced this in my many biking years. (Can I have my old bike back?)

This is getting long, so I would stop here. Irene’s challenge brought back a lot of memories. Thanks, Irene.

Thanks for visiting my blog.


About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in Memoir, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Bicycles: Times Past

  1. brenda says:

    “my butt starting hurting” is a shared experience…so a solution would be to replace the modern seat with an aged one…aged bike seat, not an aging butt? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Brenda. Is there a place to buy aged bike seat?
      One friend told me to buy biking pants (padded). I did and it didn’t help. The other told me to buy a bigger seat — I have’t built up the courage to give it a try. I hate wasting money.
      Have a great day.


  2. Sarah says:

    What a lovely post and photo, Helen! I love these old bikes, they were much more reliable than the ones build today though twice as heavy too! 😂 I also learned riding the bike on a far too big bike and used the standing on pedals technique like you. 😉 As to the hurting but – there are lovely saddles to buy that are quite wide and sufficiently cushioned to buy. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Sarah. Like I told Brenda, based on a friend’s suggestion, I bought a couple of biking pants, and that didn’t help. One other friend suggested me to get a bigger and softer seat (saddle ;-), since I have wasted some money on biking pants, I am hesitated to buy it unless I know for sure it works. Does it work well for you?
      Have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sarah says:

        It actually does! I tried those biking pants too before but they didn’t really help me either. Wish I’d known of the bigger and softer seats before as those pants are now only taking up space in my wardrobe! 😂 If you’re unsure about the seats go to a shop where they sell bikes etc. Normally they let you try it out for a short ride.😊
        Have a great day too!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Helen C says:

          Thanks, Sarah. I will give it a try. I, too have a couple of those pants doing nothing but taking space in my closet.One had been worn once, and one is new (I like to have a spare one). Maybe it’s time to donate them 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  3. loisajay says:

    My old Schwinn……as soon as I sped up, the chain would fall off. I became a master on getting that thing back on so I could be on my way. This was a fun post, Helen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Lois. Oh, Lois, that is even worse. It happened to me a couple of times and when I arrived at school, my hands were so dirty! ;-( I wasn’t good on getting the chain back; it was trying and trying, and hoping someone would stop and help… 😉
      Have a great day.


  4. Mabel Kwong says:

    I think you English and writing is perfectly okay. As a writer, I get those moments where I don’t even recognise my writing lol. Sounds like you always liked riding bikes. There could have been a way to tighten the chain on th red bike. I’m not much of a bike rider and never managed to find my balance. Over the years my parents bought me different bikes but I never got past the training wheels 😂


  5. Helen I’m so glad you joined in and gave us a perspective from Taiwan. I can’t imagine a small child learning to ride on a bike that big but I guess it shows your perseverance and determination to master (just like your English which is not too bad at all. Keep joining in for the practice. We’d love to have a view from a different part of the world.) Having just restarted riding myself I empathise with the pain in the posterior. That came as a shock to me too. I imagine the chain with your middle bike was something to do with the gears and I think you were a brave caring child not to complain to your Mum. Thanks again for joining in.


  6. Pingback: Bicycles: Times Past | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  7. Lady Oscar says:

    yay! story-teller is back!
    the old uniform of students looks very pretty for me now… the white shirt and black skirt look simply and pure. What a beautiful era — only in imagination. ^^


  8. restlessjo says:

    Great memories! 🙂 🙂 Perseverance paid off!


  9. A great story Helen and a fab pic … 🙂 thank you for sharing. It made me think of my first bike and then a rather rotten attempt a few years ago that saw me lose control and ride into a fence! Thank goodness the electric fence was off!


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