THE ‘MARCIA’ BICYCLE SIDECAR

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 bicycles for a Tandem, 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 bicycles, with each then having a sidecar attached.

Back to  single bicycles and striking stockings!

 

Babies and bicycles.

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.

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 sidecar was named after me!

 

A new, post war model.

Little Miss Marcia ready for the road. There was capacious boot for her luggage…..well a bowl and a spoon anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

8 Comments
  1. I love to read of other people’s unusual pasts. There must be numerous people with wonderful anecdotal episodes that we never hear about. Thank you for sharing Marcia’s early years and those of her parents. I can imagine that times were hard during the war years for a large family. Marcia’s family managed and survived for her to tell others about those times. I rarely see sidecars nowadays. One motor cyclist pulled into our local store’s carpark with his dog nestled into his sidecar. By the look of his packs on the bike’s rear and around the dog, he was just passing through our town.

    • My brother in law always had a sidecar on his motor cycle – for his dogs to ride in!

    • Pauline

      I agree Heather, the joy of the internet…..makes up for the ‘dark’ side of it.

  2. Thank you for your kind words Pauline. I’m just pleased that we were a family who recorded life through photographs. So precious when loved ones are no longer with us.

  3. Decided to do a google search to see if the old Chelsea Traders building was still standing. Instead, came up with a page showing prices of terrace houses that had been sold in Paulton Street. One particular house, with quite small rooms judging by the photographs, sold in Sept 2014 for £4,250.000! A snip, I’d say.

  4. Decided to follow up with a search of our old mews cottage. We lived at 93 West Eaton Place Mews, Belgravia. In 2014, a minute 2-bed flat at 97 West Eaton Place Mews was sold for £5,500.000 leasehold. Unbelievable!

    • Pauline

      Oh good heavens, and they say Sydney is bad. And only leasehold???

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