Ohio Bikes from 41 years ago

I’m sorting through nearly half a century of photos, newspaper clips and film getting ready for an orgy of digitizing. I just came across pictures that I took in in Southern Ohio in 1968. What struck me is how ubiquitous bicycles were.

A neighborhood fortune teller

1968-07-08 The Future picture page -bikesI shot a photo essay on “Madame Rosinnii’s” fortune teller tent set up at 80 Briarwood in Athens, Oh. It was the psychic version of a lemonade stand.

Look at all the bikes. Bro Mark wasn’t the only kid with a banana seat bike in that era. These bikes have fenders, baskets and saddle bags. These were bikes made for getting places and carrying things.

Hemlock, a dying town not yet deadBoy with bike in front of general store in Hemlock, OH, circa 1968

I ran into these two boys in front of a decaying general store in the dying coal town of Hemlock, OH.

The 2000 Census found 142 people in 48 households living in the town, so it’s still holding on. You can probably find kids on the streets today, since almost half of the households had children under 18 living in them.

This Galaxy Flyer is set up as a real utility machine. Check out the rearview mirror, heavy-duty rear baskets, fenders and a chain guard.

THIS bike has seen better days

Hemlock, OH, youngster with broken bicycle circa 1968The rear tire is flat, the pedals are shot and the front tire is coming apart. I’m going to guess that at least one older brother put a bunch of miles on this machine before it was handed down.

When I look at these pictures, I wonder if the boys rode their two-wheeled magic carpets out of Hemlock or if they’re one of the 48 households with kids of their own still there.

Pat Atwater: A Colorful Cyclist

My Foodie Friend Jan Norris keeps her eyes open for interesting folks on the road. Here’s Jan’s account of meeting Pat Atwater.

Pat Atwater with her orange hula leiPat Atwater is the owner of this neon orange bike we saw riding in North Palm Beach this weekend.

It was so bright, it nearly knocked me off the road.

Pat rides about 10 miles a day

Pat, in her 70s, is an avid cyclist and rides 10 or so miles a day in the north end of Palm Beach County — she prefers late afternoon/dusk “when there’s little or no traffic.”

We caught up with her a half block away from her house, but she had been riding around the Intracoastal and down to the marina and bridge just north of her, and then south to make a loop back to her house.

The brightest bike in the store

“I wanted a bike so the drivers could see me. This was the brightest bike I could find in the store.”

She has a bike light, but it’s dim compared to the vibrant orange of this bike. (My son refers to this color as “Mow the Median Vest Orange” — a reference to the neon orange safety vest I used to wear when riding.)

Pat Atwater on her orange bikeShe enhanced her visibility even more by

  1. Wearing a neon pink shirt and having strips on her shoes.
  2. Painting neon orange on her helmet.
  3. The hula lei — a bright orange one — wrapped around her handlebars.

Her son is Florida State Senate President

She’s not the only high visibility family member: her son, Jeff Atwater, is president of the Florida State Senate; her daughter, Enid, works for Palm Beach County’s Convention and Vistor’s Bureau, among other things.

Maybe Mom could put in a good word for cycling with her kids.

[Note: Wife Lila and I are in New Mexico playing tourist for a week. I don’t know if I’ll file anything from out here or if I’ll wait until I get home where I have a few more tools at my disposal. Unfortunately, this is a non-biking trip for me, but I have seen plenty of bikers on the road.]