Do you have a picture of the bicycle?


(Cartoonist’ note: I was going to wrap up the “Peggy Sue” thing today, but I found a couple of strips that I somehow overlooked. I like them both, so I’ll show them to you today.)
Remember when bicycles with gears and caliper brakes were called “English” bicycles? By the time I was in college, they were “10-speeds” and very much the rage. I owned a pricey model with leather saddle and extruded aluminum tubing that was, indeed, made by an English company called “Raleigh.” (I actually took out a loan to buy that thing!) In the colonies it was pronounced “RAHlee,” as in North Carolina, but my Aunt Joan, a native of England, told me it was pronounced “rally” in the motherland.

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21 responses to “Do you have a picture of the bicycle?”

  1. Being English, I understood the bicycle reference, but not the Boris Natasha etc TV programme. Can anyone help me out?

    Someone help Charlie out here! — JJ

  2. Charlie Cook. The reference is to The Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon. It was a very funny show that appealed to adults as well as children. Boris and Natsasha were spies in a spoof about communists taking over. Rocky and Bullwinkle always foiled them.

  3. The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle were masterminded by producer Jay Ward. That meant at least two things: It was going to be really, really funny, even with some jokes that would go over the heads of many kids. It also meant it was “Jay-rated”—that is, clean, with nothing that anyone could take serious offense to. And the puns! Wonderfully awful! You can judge a cartoonist by the company he keeps—and R & B are very good company. A&J shares the same characteristics.

  4. Rocky & Bullwinkle are available on Amazon video, 4 seasons worth.

    I retired my Hopalong Cassidy bike (which included two six-shooters and a lasso, made by Schwinn circa 1953) for a 3 speed English racer. Mine wasn’t made by Raleigh but with similar features including an air pump beneath the seat and a black ditty bag hooked to the back of said seat.

  5. Hopalong Cassidy! Looks pretty fancy! We still have a Little Golden Book about him. I had a Royce-Union 3-speed bicycle. Not as fancy, but I was pretty proud of it.

  6. My first 3 speed was a Western Flyer, as I recall. Circa 1958. We called them “English racers” in the small Alabama town I lived in at the time.

    I later acquired a Raleigh 3 speed in college in Michigan. It had been left in the dorm bike racks. The school year was over, the university bike truck was making its yearly collection of abandoned bikes, which the university would then resell. I beat the truck to the bike rack…

    My Raleigh was a “Sports” model IIRC, real quality made in England. Sturdy, lugged rather than welded frame, Brooks leather saddle, gearshift that worked fine through Michigan winters. The brakes, however, were a little dicey. Later on, the bike was made in other countries, & the quality apparently slipped.

    @Charlie Cook Maybe you would have to have been an American kid to fully appreciate Rocky & Bullwinkle.

  7. My bike, ca. 1950, was a Rollfast, too. I had never before heard of that brand. My guess was, and still is, that my parents got it because it cost less than “name” brands. However, I never found out if I surmised correctly about the cost or the reason. The bike wore well for the several years I used it with some regularity.
    My parents demanded that it be fitted with a front basket so I could do some grocery shopping with it; I later bought a front wheel generator to power a headlight. The light was certainly no laser, but it did make me more visible during evening hours.

  8. My first bike was a (I think) BF Goodrich my parents gave me for Christmas in the early 1960’s. Bright red with white trim, no headlights, gear shifts or hand brakes. A good, sturdy bike for a kid. I remember the Western Flyers too, think they were the store brand for Western Auto.

  9. Rocky and Bullwinkle were never just for children. My parents loved it just as much as my sister and I did. My sister bought a complete boxed set of the series on DVD so that we can get a fix any time we need.

    BTW, the show included something called “Fractured Fairy Tails,” which started out as parodies of real stories, but they eventually had to start making up their own. Extra bonus points for the first person who can tell me the name of the first one they invented.

  10. My first bike was so heavy it must have been made of black iron gas pipe.
    It was put together by the fix-it man in town. It peddled extremely hard.
    But it could take a beating. It hit the ground A LOT. I rode it from not being
    able to reach the ground till I got my drivers license.

  11. Sideburns, I can’t tell you the first Fractured Fairy Tale without looking it up, but I can write that they introduced me to Edward Everett Horton. What a mellifluous voice! What a storyteller! In recent years I discovered some of the films he was in, and we have loved seeing him in the Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire movies. Such a very fine actor–with a perfect “take.” But that voice—

  12. Jackie, you were already going for a convertible. 🙂 Plus, if your road was like mine, no bike can ride through the sand. We used to slog through sugar sand for half a mile before finding patches of hard surface. Then another mile or so before pavement. But if you made it that far- flying!

    About the tumor experiment…. I never would have thought of putting a nervous system messer-upper into the control center of the nervous system, with a cold on the side. GBMs are hard to beat, though. And fast. Best of luck to them.

  13. TR, I read the article. I spent 6 weeks in Riyadh during Desert Storm and decided that male Saudi drivers made DE/PA drivers look positively angelic. (G). Best sight on the roads in city was a camel strapped down in the back of a Toyota pickup truck. Obviously as a woman I couldn’t drive (not that I wanted to in that madhouse), and since I had to be accompanied by a male when I was outside the compound or base, I had two of the biggest guys in the comm shop drive me.

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