Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Bike in a Basket, a story by Lois Caswell

The Bike in a Basket
By Lois Caswell
The Bike in a Basket, a story by Lois Caswell

This story was written by Lois for her grandchildren. She and her husband lived in England where they were stationed on a SAC base that housed lots of big airplanes that carried bombs.  

It all started when we lived in England and Dad needed a ride to work. We lived quite a ways from the base, and without transportation it was a long walk.  We had no money to buy a car, or a bike for that matter.

One day he came home with a huge bushel basket full of what looked like junk.  “Oh, no, it’s not junk," he said, "It’s my new bike." He purchased from a friend of a friend for five shillings or about $.75 at that time.

“Yea, right I thought and just where are you going to make that pile of junk into a bike,” I thought.  Our home at that time was two small rooms, one was kitchen, dining and living room, and the other was our bedroom.  But, alas, he was determined, and faithfully night after night went to work on his new treasure.  Before very long it had become the biggest bike I had ever seen.

The Bike in a Basket, a story by Lois CaswellThis was not just your ordinary bike. It had 28 inch tires on it.  I never could ride it because I couldn’t get on it as it was too tall.  After much work, sanding and finally the blue paint (Air Force blue and white of course) he begin riding it faithfully to work every day.  He had a huge hill to climb.  Not sure how far he peddled up, but boy coming home must have been something else.

The Bike in a Basket, a story by Lois CaswellThat was just the beginning of a long series of bikes in my life.  He found another old one he fixed up for me, and I’ll never forget the first time we went out to ride. I was so proud of myself and thought I was doing great, but when I tried to stop . . . I just kept going and ran right into him.  He forgot to tell me English bikes had only hand brakes. 

Then there was the tandem bike. It was blue too, but we sure had a lot of fun with it.  We both used to ride together a lot. In England, they were very common, here not so much.  

When you kids were small, Dad built a sidecar for his big bike, and he put all three of you and Buffy the yellow lab in the side care and away you went with me following on my bike. I’ll never forget one Sunday afternoon when we were out biking. A little yellow VW bug ran right in the ditch cause they were so busy watching you and the side car full of kids and Buffy.  It was so funny.

Since then, you all outgrew the sidecar, and I imagine it was pretty well worn out by then. He has fixed and repaired many too many bikes to remember.  He has built a three wheel tandem bike, and various others. It isn’t unusual for him to collect two or three and make one really nice one.

A couple of years ago, he completely restored “big blue” as we have always called the big English bike. It looks like a shiny new penny, and yes, he can still ride it!

Now that he has retired, he has a new hobby.  He is teaching our grandson, Clayton how to use some of the tools he gave him for Christmas, and to fix and keep his bike in good repair, and now to purchase old bikes from garage sales, teach Clayton how to fix them and then, Clayton will sell them to earn some extra money.  A good hobby and maybe even a business to help him through college, who knows. 

So at least once a week, the two of them go to work in the “Bike Shop” and when they have had enough, make a trip to the freezer for Grandma’s ice cream dessert, and proceed to the couch to watch Hawaii Five O.  A fun night for both.

Who would have thought that old basket full of “junk” could be the start of something so special.

By Lois H. Caswell


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