Cycling the Free State Vlaktes

Sheila asked:

Hi Koos. What make were our bikes? Something with an R. Ruttludge? Rudling?

I answered ‘Rudge’.

Sheila’s and Barbara’s were red, mine was blue. Given to us by Mom and Dad around (guessing) std 2 to 4 – grade 4 to 6. Which was around 1964 to 1966. They made the one mile trip to school and back a breeze. We’d park them under cover at school in special bike parks with a slot in the concrete for the front wheel to go in and metal hoops to hold them upright.

Ours were WAY more basic than the one above though. Only a back brake, no gears, no cables, no light. They did have a little L-shaped attachment in front of the handle-bar we could attach a battery light on.

I found this:

bicycle_Rudge_badge

The companyRudge-Whitworth Ltd. Coventry, England

Certainly one of the prominent makers of the classic British era … Eventually bought by Raleigh in 1943, the Rudge name takes a rightfully prominent spot in England’s cycling history.

Dan Rudge built the first Rudge high bicycles in 1870. In 1894 Rudge merged with the Whitworth Cycle Co to form Rudge-Whitworth. They made an excellent reputation for themselves over the next twenty years for producing a full range of beautifully made machines with many clever and unique features. They were ridden by King George V and family. The name was finally killed sometime in the early 60s in Britain but may well have been used in export markets later.

bicycle_1897-RUDGE-WEDGE

One Fine Day in April

Around 1965 or thereabouts. I got an early morning phone call filled with excitement and urgency: “Koos! Come quickly! Come see! There’s a snake in the hoona hock!”

Well, I was thrilled! This I had to see. You can live in a dorp and hike in the veld often and very seldom see snakes, so I hopped onto my dikwiel fiets and pedaled furiously. It was about a mile to the Joubert’s house, down Hector Street, along Stuart Street past Scotty’s house, past the MOTH Hall, then downhill in Piet Uys Street to their house on the spruit that ran between them and the meisies koshuis.

As I pulled up the whole family was there to meet me, Aunty Joyce, Uncle Cappy, Etienne, Tuffy and Deon, laughing and shouting “Happy Birthday!”

There was no snake. I’d not realised it was the 1st of April.

=======ooo000ooo=======

hoona hock – chicken coop (Afrikaans hoenderhok)

dorp – village

veld – fields, grasslands

dikwielfiets – sophisticated mode of transport, black balloon tyre bicycle

spruit – stream

meisieskoshuis – girls hostel

==== another time I forgot the 1st April ====