Friday throwback: the children forced to cycle to school

Introducing a new series of light-hearted posts here on ibikelondon which - every friday - will explore the wealth of cycling images, videos and paraphernalia that can be found on online archives such as the Flickr commons.

Why are we looking to the past?  Because an image speaks a thousand words, and nothing quite gets debate stimulated like looking at where we've come from (and as the old cliche says, if we don't know where we are coming from, how do we know where we are going?)

Today's images are from the fascinating United States National Archives and depict school children in February 1974 "forced" to cycle to school because of the oil crisis.  With fuel in short supply there simply wasn't enough around to power school buses for extracurricular activities like trips to the local swimming pool or museum.  As "No Gas" signs went up on the pumps all over north America, car pooling was touted as a smart way to share and conserve limited fuel supplies.

These kids may not have had any choice but to me they look like they're coping with style (they do say that in fashion what goes around comes around, and I'm loving the clothes these kids have got on!), and though they wouldn't have known it then, Portland (where this photo was taken) would go to become America's cycling nirvana with some of the highest cycling rates in all of the United States.

If you're heading out on two wheels yourself this weekend, wherever you go ride safe and have a good time.  In the interim, why not connect with ibikelondon online? 
Join the conversation with us on Twitter @markbikeslondon, or give us a "Like!" on our Facebook page.  

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Andy_in_Germany said...

Interesting how despite there being almost no traffic, they stick resolutely to the side: don't cross into the sacred space of the car.

ibikelondon said...

Well observed Andy! From some older campaigners on the cycle circuit you hear about the oil crisis as if it was some incredible utopic time for cycling, but the fact that cycling rates that peaked during the crisis dropped back down once the oil was flowing again I supppose demonstrates the importance of the cycling experience being subjectively comfortable as well as just convenient.

Rebecca Olds said...

Loving all those "vintage" 10-speeds!

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Smilth hou said...

Fantastic! After reading this post I had to take a little break myself and give it a go. I so remember being fascinated by the swirling, whirling colors as a child....guess I still am.

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