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Where did you ride when you were a kid?

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Where did you ride when you were a kid?

Old 05-12-21, 08:30 AM
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Darth Lefty 
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Where did you ride when you were a kid?

When I was five and first learning to ride, I had a rule that I could only go to the end of the street, except there was one kid I knew two houses past the end of the block and I was allowed to go there. I remember riding to first grade sometimes with what seemed like a ton of other kids.

We lived in Phoenix. When I was six we moved to a "horsey suburb" part of the desert that was not yet built out. At first I was still confined to the block - but the block was much longer, the kids further apart, and we rode our bikes all over the vacant lots. There was some dumped dirt catty-corner from my house that someone had sculpted into a decent launch ramp. As I got older I'd go alone beyond the existing streets into the state trust land over the ridge to the north of Thunderbird Park where there was all kinds of interesting junk for a kid - shell casings, broken beer bottles, ATV parts... someone had dumped dirt in a large semicircle and made it into something like a pump track, but I didn't have any clue about pumping then and just rode around it. I learned to ride off-road alone through the arroyos and sandy patches. Dad got me the thickest inner tubes he could find for the goatheads. After a rain storm there would be huge puddles and tadpoles that grew up into toads and burrowed away in only a few days. As the developers came in, one street at a time would get graded, and that was fun because the edge of each level grading made a nice drop to the next one. There was a decent water park nearby (first called Oasis and then Waterworld, now Hurricaine Harbor). My schools were nearly all too far away to ride a bike, but I tried it a few times. Once in middle school I didn't want to ride home in the heat so I let the air out my own tires and then went to the office to have them summon my mom. The road to Deer Valley high school went through Thunderbird Park and that was a tough climb and terrifying descent for a kid, it's since been re-graded into something much easier to drive. That pass added two miles, but going around Adobe dam added four, too much for a kid commute. At least that way there were some offroad trails to take. There was a pass through the hills on 47th Ave but it was gated off - that would now be blocked at the other end by the 101 as well. Later, visiting home from college, I'd explore the area north of the canal around Pyramid Peak.

Where did you ride when you were a kid? (See if you can keep yourself from any kids-these-days misanthropy or name-dropping your bike in your reply)
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Old 05-12-21, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
When I was five and first learning to ride, I had a rule that I could only go to the end of the street, except there was one kid I knew two houses past the end of the block and I was allowed to go there. I remember riding to first grade sometimes with what seemed like a ton of other kids.

We lived in Phoenix. When I was six we moved to a "horsey suburb" part of the desert that was not yet built out. At first I was still confined to the block - but the block was much longer, the kids further apart, and we rode our bikes all over the vacant lots. There was some dumped dirt catty-corner from my house that someone had sculpted into a decent launch ramp. As I got older I'd go alone beyond the existing streets into the state trust land over the ridge to the north of Thunderbird Park where there was all kinds of interesting junk for a kid - shell casings, broken beer bottles, ATV parts... someone had dumped dirt in a large semicircle and made it into something like a pump track, but I didn't have any clue about pumping then and just rode around it. I learned to ride off-road alone through the arroyos and sandy patches. Dad got me the thickest inner tubes he could find for the goatheads. After a rain storm there would be huge puddles and tadpoles that grew up into toads and burrowed away in only a few days. As the developers came in, one street at a time would get graded, and that was fun because the edge of each level grading made a nice drop to the next one. There was a decent water park nearby (first called Oasis and then Waterworld, now Hurricaine Harbor). My schools were nearly all too far away to ride a bike, but I tried it a few times. Once in middle school I didn't want to ride home in the heat so I let the air out my own tires and then went to the office to have them summon my mom. The road to Deer Valley high school went through Thunderbird Park and that was a tough climb and terrifying descent for a kid, it's since been re-graded into something much easier to drive. That pass added two miles, but going around Adobe dam added four, too much for a kid commute. At least that way there were some offroad trails to take. There was a pass through the hills on 47th Ave but it was gated off - that would now be blocked at the other end by the 101 as well. Later, visiting home from college, I'd explore the area north of the canal around Pyramid Peak.

Where did you ride when you were a kid? (See if you can keep yourself from any kids-these-days misanthropy or name-dropping your bike in your reply)
I grew up in a suburb of Dublin - not much by way of desert, shell casings or much else. Once I could ride, I would head out with my friends on our bikes and as long as we were home before dark, it was all good. Had some fun "off-roading" in large construction sites on the week-ends, otherwise we got up to same low-grade mischief as any other 8-10 year-olds
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Old 05-12-21, 08:43 AM
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For a point of reference, I'm 58. As a kid my bike, as well as those of all the kids in the neighborhood, were lifelines. I literally lived on my bike. From calling on kids a few doors down to come out, to fishing trips up to the local pond, the library, corner store to get pumpkin seeds and candy, to the edge of the woods where we hopped off and hiked back in the woods to find the right tree to build a tree-fort in, my bike was an extension of myself, my freedom machine! I grew up in a suburb outside of Cleveland, OH, and as the new suburbs popped up, our bikes were our exploration vehicles around the construction areas and into these "new territories." I use third person and say 'we' because every kid had a bike and from sun up until having to be home when the street lights came on, we were on our bikes!
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Old 05-12-21, 08:50 AM
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I grew up in a suburb of South Jersey. My earliest recollection of bicycling is (believe it or not) riding my bike to elementary school. I'm pretty certain that it was 2nd grade, because of the side of the school on which we parked the bicycles.

I remember riding around in the neighborhood. Of course, we rode bikes to the swim club on weekends and in the evenings, but I was older at that point. I remember riding on bikes with squirt (hand held devices shaped like things we don't talk about here) implements in one hand and metal trash can lids in the other. No handed water jousting. We crashed sometimes, of course.

I remember riding bikes after dinner with my older sister (9 years my senior) during summers when she may have been in early college, so this would be 1969 or 1970 or so. If I had been 11 years old, then I would have been riding my Spyder. I got my first 10-speed only a couple of years later.
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Old 05-12-21, 08:57 AM
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I grew up in W.Va., and used to ride the neighborhood streets on my Western Auto coaster brake, heavy bike. Besides the streets, there were also some "cut throughs" that went thru woods and could be used to get from one street to another (was "mtn.biking" at an early age, didn't realize it then!). When I think back to some of the hills I, and friends, rode up and down, it amazes me. Especially considering how small I was (was the second smallest male in my freshman high school year), and how steep those hills are. It was long enough ago that my old neighborhood street and houses no longer exist-it has become part of the hospital parking area. Lots of fond memories made on that old bike! This was in Huntington, W.Va.
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Old 05-12-21, 09:00 AM
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until we moved out of detroit, it was enforced by the belt to ride with a known "grown" up. Otherwise you'd end up riding out on two wheels & walking back barefoot.
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Old 05-12-21, 09:17 AM
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Chicago Burb, rode everywhere!

GM
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Old 05-12-21, 09:17 AM
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Growing up in the prairies of Alberta Canada in the 80's and 90's. There was really only two rules 1) Come home when the streetlights were on, and 2) Don't go out of town. I broke rule #2 a lot as my best friend lived in a small town near by. It was a odd time because as a child I was the poor dorky kid riding around on a banana seat bike when all the other kids had BMX's. Then I got a paper route and was able to buy my own BMX, but it seemed like every town and city were tearing down their BMX tracks in fear of lawsuits. So me and my friends would wander around the small city for hours looking for new jumps being somewhat a nuisance. There were some homemade jumps in the woods that someone made. It's funny how back then every kid knew were they were without social media.
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Old 05-12-21, 10:15 AM
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I remember my first solo experience. My cousin held the bike and ran behind me in a fenced school yard. I was yelling stop STOP STOP as I plowed into the chainlink fence as I was finally riding myself. He was about two hundred feet away.

But as kids we could ride to Long Island Sound or whatever that part of the waterway was between The Bronx (home) and La Guardia Airport - vacant lots and abandoned roadways. We watch propeller driven airplanes take off and land. This was decades ago.
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Old 05-12-21, 10:36 AM
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In high school in the 1970s, I used to ride the Amish country roads in NE Ohio. I was gravel before gravel was cool!
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Old 05-12-21, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
In high school in the 1970s, I used to ride the Amish country roads in NE Ohio. I was gravel before gravel was cool!
Same here; we lived on a little gravel road that had just three houses on it. I remember learning very quickly how to balance on the bike because falling on the gravel hurt badly and made for nasty, dirty scrapes!

Out on the main (paved) road, there was a hill about ten houses away in one direction. We were forbidden to ever ride down that hill! I think the assumption was that we'd hit the T intersection at the bottom at full speed and get run over by a bus. But going back years later to see the old neighborhood, I laughed at the "hill".... It wasn't very steep at all.

When I was 8, we moved to Illinois which was much flatter and thus could ride pretty much anywhere I wanted.
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Old 05-12-21, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
In high school in the 1970s, I used to ride the Amish country roads in NE Ohio. I was gravel before gravel was cool!
I ride those roads occasionally; they're still pretty great!

As for my childhood: my friends and I rode our bikes everywhere. This was in the early '70s, before parenting became an anxiety-filled competitive sport, and so there were no restrictions on where we could go and what we could do...And parents didn't line up play-dates and other organized activities for their kids.
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Old 05-12-21, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Outrider1 View Post
For a point of reference, I'm 58. As a kid my bike, as well as those of all the kids in the neighborhood, were lifelines. I literally lived on my bike. From calling on kids a few doors down to come out, to fishing trips up to the local pond, the library, corner store to get pumpkin seeds and candy, to the edge of the woods where we hopped off and hiked back in the woods to find the right tree to build a tree-fort in, my bike was an extension of myself, my freedom machine! I grew up in a suburb outside of Cleveland, OH, and as the new suburbs popped up, our bikes were our exploration vehicles around the construction areas and into these "new territories." I use third person and say 'we' because every kid had a bike and from sun up until having to be home when the street lights came on, we were on our bikes!
This was my situation also, although I was born 10 years earlier. The vast majority of boys rode a bike to elementary school, as did many of the girls. The rest all walked. Bike locks were rarely used, and bikes parked at school did not get stolen. Our development was new and the ongoing construction down the block was always a source of 'spare' plywood sheets for ramps, or we used the dead end of the street with a small bulldozed hill for jumps on our single-speed, coaster-braked, balloon-tired bombers. One day our 'horde' of about 15 kids (we had 72 children under 12 on our street of 24 houses) decided to ride into the center of town and onto the canal towpath by the steel works. I figure we must have been about 8-11 years old as we all had 24"-26" wheeled bikes (although one neighbor had an older Schwinn Varsity that we called an "English Racer"). The Schwinn Stingray came out the next year, so I suspect this was circa 1962-63.

This large group caught the attention of the local police who escorted us through the downtown and told us a better route for our trip back. The parental reactions ranged from proud of the journey to warnings not to do that again, but no punishments or hysteria.
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Old 05-12-21, 11:29 AM
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I grew up in a what would now be called an "urban core" neighborhood (older housing right outside the downtown area) in what was then sleepy St. Petersburg FL of the 70's. Bikes were our vehicles. I wouldn't have dreamed of asking my parents to drive me places. I went to school, friends' houses, beaches and shopping all on my trusty muscle bike.
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Old 05-12-21, 11:56 AM
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On your mom!

Just kidding

When I was 12 or so, I'd ride from NE Fort Wayne suburbs to Grabil to buy those large jawbreakers and other goodies from Souder's candy store, roughly 26 miles round trip. While this isn't much to me at all now, back then, it was an adventure. If my parents knew at the time, they'd have grounded me and tossed the bike out.

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Old 05-12-21, 11:57 AM
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Places.

You did say as a kid.

John
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Old 05-12-21, 12:11 PM
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all around my apartment building parking lot!
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Old 05-12-21, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by friday1970 View Post
.... roughly 26 miles round trip... If my parents knew at the time, they'd have grounded me and tossed the bike out.
How true it is!

In another thread, I mentioned wanting (as a kid) one of those fancy new-fangled add-on water-bottle cages that were starting to appear on bikes. I asked for one for my birthday.... But of course, I never got one. My mom said I shouldn't be riding so far that I'd get thirsty!
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Old 05-12-21, 01:07 PM
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N and NW Chicago burbs. I rode everywhere once I was 9.

Rode to school every (nice)day with a neighbor kid. On side streets we would do jumps off the sides of every driveway curb ramp.
Rode to friends houses, soccer practice, stores for candy and movies, sometimes baseball practice, we built BMX jump tracks in some 'woods' multiple times thru the years, rode to the golf course with the golf bag, etc etc.
Latchkey kid that liked to stay busy- so it was all over. The town(s) are flat and grid, so it was super easy.

We all had GT Performers except for one friend who had a Dyno of some kind.
My '92 GT Performer in electric green with black splatter was the coolest thing ever.
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Old 05-12-21, 03:24 PM
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Starting in the 4th grade I had to ride a mile and 3/4 to school when the weather would allow. That went on till I turned 16.
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Old 05-12-21, 04:43 PM
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Ages 5-9, mostly around the neighborhood.
Ages 10-12, around my part of town, within say 3-4 miles.
Ages 13-16, any town or place I could get in a route of up to 50 miles.
Then I had a car and mostly played Ultimate disc for exercise in high school and college.

Otto

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Old 05-12-21, 04:48 PM
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My dad taught me to ride in our wide alley behind the house. I was a natural.
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Old 05-12-21, 05:07 PM
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As a little kid in the early 60's I rode around my neighborhood with my friend Vinny in York Pennsylvania. We used to ride up and down big dirt piles from the excavators digging basements for new houses. We put playing cards in our spokes with a clothes pin and the whole nine yards.

As an adolescent I rode to school in Pittsburgh, PA and later in Detroit Michigan. As a teenager in Cleveland Ohio I got a job in the bike shop down the street from my high school and that's when I started venturing 20 miles or more into the countryside and back.
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Old 05-12-21, 07:09 PM
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Santa Ana River Trail (Orange County, CA). The SART was like 4 years old at that time, it was desolate compared to the nicely landscaped Class I path it is today. Only about 15 miles long at that point. I rode a Huffy Monoshock, Googling seems to suggest a 1978 model. Later I got a Schwinn Cruiser, and I used to get up at 6:00am on a weekend morning (my mom and dad commonly slept until 11:00am on weekends) and bike to Laguna Beach, or Irvine, or Garden Grove. I didn't get a multigeared bike until college.
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Old 05-12-21, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Outrider1 View Post
For a point of reference, I'm 58. As a kid my bike, as well as those of all the kids in the neighborhood, were lifelines. I literally lived on my bike.
I am 62 and I rode my bicycle a LOT when I was a kid, too, but we also played a lot of backyard baseball and football in those days.

In the summer, I would ride out on my bike around 9am and stay out until almost dusk, usually around 8pm, with just a quick trip home at some point to grab some lunch. Of course, there were times when my mom said "I want you home for dinner tonight at 5:30pm, or something similar. But most days when I was a kid we were fancy free most of the day during summer - riding bikes, exploring or playing baseball or football in somebody's back yard. When I was 11 I got a paper route, and put front and rear baskets on my Schwinn 3-speed to hold the papers. Most kids today don't even know what a newspaper is or how important they used to be.

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