Monday, August 8, 2016

Nostalgia is a Child Carrier on an Old Raleigh

Growing up, my parents rode matching coffee-colored Raleigh Sports roadsters that they purchased when they were in college (they still have them). And when my sister and I were very young, we cruised around in a rear-mounted child carrier on the back of one of those Sports. I have no memory of riding in that carrier, but I recall seeing my sister ride in it as I got older. It was a pale yellow plastic contraption, with foam pads in the seat and woven nylon seat belts. My folks were avid recreational bicyclists and bike commuters, and I imagine I spent a great deal of time on the back of the Raleigh enjoying leisurely rides around the neighborhood.

Ginger and I decided that, at 10 months old, our youngest has grown big enough to ride in a child carrier, so we went for a family bike ride last weekend. Ginger opted to haul the baby in the rack-mounted child carrier, as the tag-along trailer cycle hitch was already bolted onto my bike. Her Motobecane couldn't be used for carrying the baby, due the steel rack and prune box already on the back of the bike. That only left the '72 Raleigh Sports.

A photo posted by Ginger Stringer (@gingerstringer) on

I attached the rack and child carrier to the back of the Raleigh, and was struck by fond memories of seeing that old yellow child carrier on the back of my parents' bikes. After all, my love of bikes can be directly traced back to early exposure to the joys of bicycling. And riding in that child carrier back in the early 80's would've been my very first exposure to bikes. I don't know if my kids will follow in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents and find a passion for bicycles, but if they do, I hope they think back to weekend bike rides and a funky plastic baby carrier mounted to the back of a vintage Raleigh as the source of that passion.

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