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Posted by on Aug 25, 2008 in Bicycle Culture | 2 comments

Proof of Halcyon Days on the Web

There was a time when cycling was totally different from what it is today. Honest! It was in my lifetime and I am not that old! I have found proof of this on the web.

I truly was beginning to wonder if my memory was failing. Perhaps it was always this way, but I wasn’t observant enough to notice it?

  • Since when did it become “necessary” to spend hundreds, nay thousands (I saw a bike yesterday in the shop that cost $5,000) for a bicycle?
  • Since when did it become “necessary” to wear clownish clothes?
  • Since when was bike riding restricted to weekends because it took a half-an-hour to get ready to ride?
  • Since when did people mount a bike on a car, to drive out to a “safe” place to ride?
  • Since when did people drive to the spa so they could ride a stationary?
  • Or, while riding that stationary have someone describe what a ride in the country was like?
  • Since when did people start paying so much attention to their heart rate?
  • Since when did sidewalk riding become legitimized?
  • Since when did so many cyclists decide it was “cool” to ride through red lights and ignore other traffic laws?
  • Since when was there so much rage and aggressive driving?

Ken Kifer saw the changes, too. And said this about it:

There Was A Time When:

  • Bicycles came with fenders (mudguards)
  • Bicycles came with chainguards
  • Bicycles came with kickstands
  • Bicycles came with a comfortable seat
  • Bicycles came with a comfortable upright riding position
  • Bicycles came with one speed
  • Bicycles came with three speeds and could be shifted while stopped


  1. Times have changed. When I was a kid, I went everywhere by bikes. Miles and miles from home, and no cellphone to tell Mom and Dad where I was! Gone at 9am and maybe back at dinnertime. But ask yourself if you would let your 10-12 year old do that now …… sadly, the answer is probably no.

  2. Same here. I grew up in central PA. My brother and I used to ride our bikes down the shoulderless state highway to York Furnace on the river.