Everyone remembers getting their first bicycle. My first one was a blue Schwinn purchased at Art’s Bike Shop on 22nd Street in Berwyn, equipped with a basket and a bell.

Bikes have progressed a lot since my first ride and since my kids’ first bikes.

Bike riding in our area has always been very popular. A picture of an early Riverside policeman, Charlie Lang, has him with a bike, the early mode of transportation for police, hard to use to apprehend those in need of being apprehended. 

Children in Riverside would attend a Bike Rodeo put on by the police who taught youngsters about bike safety and how to be a good bike rider. Children would have their bike’s engraved with a serial number in the event it went missing by whatever means. Police also were known to pass out “tickets” to a local ice cream or candy store to those seen as exemplary good bike riders.

There was also a bike store in Riverside where Sip and Sweets in the Arcade Building is now located. It was run by Rich Grove whose family was the “G” in the local O-G Cab Company. He could fix bikes better than many a parent, who were glad to have him do it.

Though I’m not quite sure of bike etiquette there are a number of serious bike riders who wind their way through Riverside, and I guess they don’t have to stop at stop signs. Many are conscious of the fact there are also cars on the street and will sometimes line up 2 abreast or single file. Their attire indicates a club or just a uniform that is comfortable for the ride, ever accompanied by the needed water bottle to stay hydrated. They look intense and I admire them. Early morning treks through town seem to be the best time. The rides rarely start in Riverside with our area being a drive-thru, coming down Longcommon, and out they go, appreciative of any communities that have areas designated for bikes.

Now, with the warmer weather coming (I hope), Riverside will have a new bike shop in town to assist riders in many ways. It will be a far cry from the original Riverside Bike Shop but a welcome addition. Watch for it when it appears at the Riverside Train Station.

Some things I like to see: youngsters wearing helmets and watching while riding in the streets or crossing streets. Cars have to watch for you but you have to watch for cars. How about only one person on a bike unless it’s a tandem. Lock your bike when you go in someplace, and particularly use the bike racks. People need to walk on the sidewalks, too. Make sure you have adequate lighting so you can be seen, very important.

So good luck to the new bike shop group and all avid bike riders. They say you never forget how to ride a bike, but in my case, I’m not sure that’s true and won’t be testing it. If I do, would you happen to have a set of training wheels handy? Of course they do make 3-wheelers for adults, but I don’t think so. 

I do remember having fun as a kid on my bike. “Look, Ma, no hands!”