Tucker McBride

Return to a time when a boy could be a boy; when life was more clear from the top branch of a tree; when a kid could trade anger and disappointment for action and adventure; when the whole neighborhood was his playground; and the sloppy kiss from a dog could make everything right.

Monday, October 26, 2020

A Penny Here, A Penny There

 Have you ever seen someone ride one of these bicycles? 

These bikes were first popular in the 1870s and 1880s. In Tucker McBride's Many Lives, Tucker's friend Freddie rode up to the big white house on the corner on his father's penny-farthing, or high-wheeler bicycle. The penny-farthing was the first contraption to be called a bicycle.

The 52, 54, or 56-inch front-wheel bike made the ride smoother. You were also able to cover a lot of roads in a short time. But if you hit a stone or other object, you'd fly head-over-shoelaces forward. The boneshaker was a challenge to get on. How do you think you would get to the seat on the penny-farthing? 

Imagine you were riding your high-wheeler around your neighborhood. What could you see from up there? What would friends and neighbors say about your bicycle? What would be the most fun about riding a penny-farthing? What if you had to pick up a loaf of bread for Mom; how would you carry it? How would you get off the bicycle? 

If you were a girl in 1870, you would wear a long skirt. If a boy, you would have on knickers. 

 You wouldn't get your pant legs caught in the wooden spokes of the large wheel. What could a girl do to protect her clothes and keep her from falling?

Brainstorm about it. When you brainstorm, you list as many possibilities as you can dream up. There are no wrong ideas. Jot down your answers. Write a short story about them. Or, draw a picture to illustrate your great thoughts. Most of all, have fun.

Doris Gaines Rapp

Copyright 2020 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.

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