INTRODUCTION – I have always been impressed by my friend Marcia’s energy and love of the outdoors. I have known her for quite a few years, but it was only recently that she mentioned this delightful aspect of her family history. It certainly shed some light on her character. As they say, the apple does not fall far from the tree. There is no doubt her inquiring mind and love of adventure were inherited from her parents. I was so pleased when she agreed to write this guest post. I’m sure you will enjoy reading it as much as I did. The fabulous photos are a real bonus.
BICYCLES BUILT FOR TWO….OR MORE!
I was born into a cycling family. My father Philip was born in 1910, my mother Ivy in 1912. Initially there were few cars on the roads they explored. They married in June 1936 and their honeymoon was spent cycling the lanes of the Cotswolds. Their only concession to luxury was a wedding night spent at the Royal Hotel Cheltenham, for the princely sum of one pound and two shillings.
Settling into married life they exchanged their single machines for a Tandem bicycle, and no doubt became a familiar sight at weekends during my father’s day off. Having babies created no restrictions to my parents’ enjoyment of being out in the fresh air riding their bicycles. When my eldest brother was born 18 months after the marriage, my engineer father quickly designed and constructed a sidecar suitable for a baby.
When a second son was born just over two years later, the young couple reverted back to single bicycle apiece, with each then having a sidecar attached.
Two more babies arrived within the next 5 years, but with World War II in full action and their number of children doubled, there would have been few opportunities to continue cycling for pleasure.
THE BICYCLE SIDECAR EVOLVES
After the war ended and with it my father’s job, he moved to London ahead of the family, initially finding single lodgings. Available and/or affordable housing for a family was scarce. He set up an engineering company, both designing and constructing his own inventions. Later the family followed from where they’d been living in Bedfordshire. By the time I arrived in 1948, home was a small mews cottage in Chelsea. It was a lovely area, but still surrounded by the devastation of war, with many bomb sites close by. The cottage did not have the advantage of a garden, and was very cramped for a family of seven. My father’s workshop was a couple of miles from the family home, so no doubt he cycled to work. With cycling in mind, he resurrected his earlier sidecar plans and designed a new, commercial model for a child.
I had been christened Marcia, and that new bicycle sidecar was named after me!
EDITOR’S NOTE – PRESUMABLY QUITE A NUMBER OF THE MARCIA SIDECARS WERE SOLD. AS RELATIVELY FEW LONDONERS HAD CARS IN THOSE AUSTERE, POST WAR YEARS, A BICYCLE WITH A SIDECAR WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY USEFUL MAYBE IN THE ATTICS OF THE CITY THERE ARE STILL A FEW, RARE EXAMPLES. I CAN’T WAIT FOR ONE TO TURN UP ON THE ANTIQUES ROADSHOW. THANKS SO MUCH FOR SHARING THIS WITH US, MARCIA.
Some families chose the motorbike sidecar.
FEEL FREE TO LEAVE A COMMENT IN THE BOX BELOW, ESPECIALLY IF YOU OR YOUR FAMILY HAVE EVER INVENTED ANYTHING. DON’T FORGET TO COMPLETE THE ANTI-SPAM SUM.