By Dave Shore – Carrot River, Sask.
When I was growing up on the Grassy Run farmstead southeast of Carrot River, Sask. in 1956-57, I acquired my first one-speed bike.
We had quite a few acres of recently cleared land which was plowed and worked once, but there were a lot of roots to pick, which was a common job on the farm during those years.
This one summer, at the start of the school holidays, dad was to go and work out up north between seeding and harvest. I was about 11 years old then. He made a deal with me that if I would pick the roots and put them in piles and burn them, he would send me a bike.
So I started picking these roots in the morning and in the evening when it was cooler, putting them in piles and burning them.
About a month later, the neighbour brought out a large box which he had picked up at the train station in town. It was for me.
After opening the box, there was the bike dad had promised me, but it was in parts so I had to put it together then learn to ride it, which in time I had accomplished.
I used it to go out to the field to pick roots and rode around the countryside.
When school started in September at Grassy Run, I rode the bike to school, but when it rained the dirt road would get muddy and the fenders would plug up.
Bicycle caused problems
Another problem, my older sister, Pat, was a little upset because she had to walk and I rode the bike. So, she got wise after school and got out ahead of me and rode the bike home herself.
It eventually ended up in a feud and soon the teacher laid down the law and told me to leave the bike at home.
After we moved to Arborfield, Sask. in 1959, I rode the bike in the country collecting beer bottles and on some weekends, starting Friday after school, I rode the bike all the way out to the farm to help dad, which would be about 18 miles. I never had a problem. The roads were some dirt and some gravel.
At that time, I also belonged to the 4-H Club, which young people would have a hobby of growing grain or raising a steer. Neighbours would take turns having meetings at their place.
When there was a meeting, usually on a Friday evening, I rode the bike there. One time it was at the Gilmour’s farm. Mrs. Helen Gilmour was teaching at Grassy Run School for a while. Then I would continue out to the farm to help dad.
I soon got a job after school doing chores at the cafe for $4 a week. I bought a new bike, a Golden Hawk, gold in colour with balloon tires, for a dollar down and a dollar a week.
I sold my old first bike to a school friend in town and he rode it for a time after that.
Now, years later, I wonder how I managed to ride a single speed bike all those miles on gravel and dirt roads.