The Bicycle Gang and Childhood Destinations

05 Oct

This morning as I was looking for another photo I ran across this one. I took it a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday morning out my office window. At first it was only the two boys on the far right and they were quickly joined by the other five. They waited patiently as the one boy added air to his tire and then they were off as quickly as they came.

I was transported back to the 70’s when as a girl of 11 my friends and I would gather at one of my friends homes or mine just as the boys had done that Saturday morning.

We had important things to do. A trip to the mall was our destination. Now you may think that a trip to the mall was no big deal but it was. There weren’t many malls back then. In fact in our area of Minneapolis, this was the first. The mall was a mile and a half from our homes. We headed off with instructions from our Moms and Dads about safety along the busy roads with our bikes. There was no talk about being wary of strangers, it was a different time for sure.

We would head out first thing in the morning. The mall would open at 10 am. This was a whole day adventure. We didn’t plan on buying much, mostly looking but lunch was definitely part of the deal. Each of us would bring our hard-earned babysitting money or allowance if we got one. Saturday morning chores were done before we could go.

I still remember the wind blowing through my hair as we pedaled our bikes down the road. I loved then and still do now looking at all the different types of homes along the way and how the yards were landscaped. Once at the mall all the displays caught my eye which of course they were meant to do. As I look back now perhaps there was a different occupation other than teaching that I should have pursued, architecture or some type of design.

There is no mall for the boys to explore in our small town of 400. I imagine there are places just as exciting for a boy’s bicycle gang to explore in Tom Sawyer fashion with a small river and lakes nearby.


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21 responses to “The Bicycle Gang and Childhood Destinations

  1. harrisonjones

    October 5, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    I don’t see a coin slot for the air hose. It cost a quarter here at the 7/11. I’ve been thinking about taking my compressor up there and only charging 20 cents. Should I apply for a green grant/loan from the feds?

    • flyinggma

      October 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      Air is still free in our small town. Green grant sounds good for a retirement plan. Hard to know what will work for retirement these days. Anything green usually goes whether its a good idea or not.

  2. pearlsandprose

    October 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    I loved riding my bike when I was a girl too, Jeanne. Can’t believe we used to ride bikes two miles to the swimming pool, swim for two hours, then ride back home, mostly uphill! Where did that energy go?

    • flyinggma

      October 5, 2011 at 2:03 pm

      I used to ride bike everywhere even in college until someone stole my bike and I didn’t have the money to replace it, then it was walking or the bus. I could certainly use some of the energy from days gone by. I think my four children took all my energy with them when they left.

  3. nrhatch

    October 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    The only store within 5 miles of our house was the Colts Neck General Store. They did have a deli, though.

    Lovely look back at a simpler time in our lives.

    • flyinggma

      October 5, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      We used to spend all our time outside. My daughter says she hates how her son smells after being outside. I think there is nothing better smelling than fresh air on a child or sheets.

      Those were definitely simpler times but please don’t ask me to give up my coffee maker or microwave. Mom never had either of them until the late 80’s. I love having hot coffee waiting for me each morning.

  4. dhphotosite

    October 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Boy did this bring back memories. We used to do EVERYTHING on our bikes. Ride on the trails in the woods [years before there were mountain bikes] or we would ride to Valley Forge. Parents always made sure we had change to make a phone call if we would be late for dinner. I don’t think there were pay phones in Valley Forge back then come to think of it. Sometimes we would ride to King Of Prussia Mall. Back then it was more like a small group of stores. The 70’s.

    • flyinggma

      October 5, 2011 at 4:05 pm

      I know what you mean. That’s why I took the picture that Saturday morning. Bikes were everything to us back then. I remember when I bought my first 10 speed bicycle. I thought I was really something.

  5. pattisj

    October 5, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    The boys around here wouldn’t be looking for somewhere to explore, they’d be doing X-games exploits, jumping curbs, popping wheelies–showing off “their stuff.” I rode my bike to one friend’s house, or to the little store on our street, but I was forbidden to get on the “main” road.

    • flyinggma

      October 6, 2011 at 8:05 am

      They show off their “stuff” as well around here too. I just happened to catch them sitting still.

  6. Linda

    October 5, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    We only had a convience store to ride our bikes too. It’s so nice to see a group of kids on bikes. Sure don’t see that very much these days. Only 400 people, I might want to move. Sounds like a great place to live.

    • flyinggma

      October 6, 2011 at 8:06 am

      Around here they don’t have many choices for getting around if they are too young to drive. Most things are 20-30 miles away for anything they would think is fun.

  7. belleofthecarnival

    October 5, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Perfect Image! It reminds of the good old days! Not a care in the world just spending time with friends 🙂

    • flyinggma

      October 6, 2011 at 8:07 am

      Ahh for some of those careful days but I rather not return to the teenage years.

  8. Todd Pack

    October 6, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Nice memories, flyinggma. it was a big deal when we let Thing 1 ride her bike to a friend’s house around the corner. Times have definitely changed.

    P.S. Let’s see you tried to ride a bike to the Mall of America!

    • Todd Pack

      October 6, 2011 at 8:49 am

      I mean, “try” to ride a bike….

    • flyinggma

      October 7, 2011 at 12:37 am

      I could probably find some back roads to the Mall of America since I grew up in the Twin Cities. I’m not sure I would like to navigate with all the crazy drivers there now. I’m sort of accustomed to small town living and driving these days. I sure remember letting my oldest leave the house on his bike for the first time, a little scary but fun to see him gain some independence as well. Harder still was letting him take his car out the day he got his driver’s license. It was a 1981 Pontiac Firebird.

  9. Christine Grote

    October 7, 2011 at 11:04 am

    We were growing up at a similar time. We rode our bikes everywhere. Sometimes we spent a whole day, well stocked up with candy, riding a bike trail that was laid out through the city streets and a big park. One of the favorite things I remember doing as a child.

    I also remember how big the news was when we got our first mall.

    • flyinggma

      October 7, 2011 at 8:26 pm

      We lived on our bikes. When we weren’t on our bikes we were just playing games outside.

      I hardly ever go to a mall these days. Not much of a shopper now but back then it was a great way to spend a day imagining and dreaming of having a home someday and being a grown-up.

  10. Patti

    October 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Great photo – and a wonderful jumping off spot for memories! thanks for sharing.

  11. flyinggma

    October 7, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Thanks Patti. Seeing the boys gather sent my mind straight back to the past and how much fun it used to be spending my days on a bike with friends.


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