Trikes, trams and trips on the train
How did we get anywhere before cars? It’s incredible how quickly cars have taken over and so many modes of transport have taken a back seat or disappeared all together. There was a time when your own two legs were the only way to get around!
The world may have been much smaller when we were young – a trip to the seaside felt a long way from home - but we explored every inch of it and knew every lane, tree, pond and hidey hole like the back of our hands.
So, take a seat on the top deck and travel back in time to the days when bikes, homemade carts and all manner of public transport ruled the streets and captured our hearts forever.
First trips out in a coach
A highly polished coach pram that is, chauffeured by your very proud mum.
They were the height of luxury; plenty of space for a nap and a backrest to prop you up and show you off to the neighbours. And they came in handy for carrying the shopping mum bought while you waited outside. Just had to hope she didn’t go home without you!
Pram wheels on bogeys, trolleys, gliders and jiggers
Whatever they were called down your way, homemade carts were the best way to travel. Hours spent searching for old pram wheels and knocking about in the shed, so you could hurtle headlong down the street with no brakes, just trees and walls to stop you. Worth every cut and bruise wasn’t it?
Bikes and trikes
Did your first bike have a few not-so-careful owners before you? And did anyone actually have stabilisers?
Learning to ride a bike was as a case of get the hang of it quick or fall off… a lot! And there was no helmet to protect your bonce. Of course, if you had a three-wheeler with a special little box on the back, then you were safe as houses.
Road safety in the playground
There wasn’t much health and safety around in those days but we did have to do things by the book. Kids who wanted to cycle to school had to get their cycling proficiency certificate and badge first. Cycling around the playground under the watchful eye of the local PC never quite matched the reality of the open road though…
Trips on trams and trolleybuses
The electric trolleybuses hummed along almost silently bar the odd thrilling flash and screech of sparks overhead. Tram conductors were like wizards, expertly flicking switches to pass over intersections and negotiate tight corners. But the best bit of tram travel was probably flipping the seat over to face the direction of travel…
‘Hold tight, all fares please’
To ride a double decker you just hopped on the back. It didn’t even matter if the bus was moving! The ever cheerful (and ever smart) Clippy would be ready and waiting to spin you out a ticket from the chunky machine around their necks.
There was only one place to sit, and that was on the top deck right in front of the big window so you could pretend you were driving the bus.
A sidecar for a family car
If your family was lucky enough to have its own transport, it wasn’t necessarily a nice comfy car. It could well have been Dad’s motorbike and a sidecar with the whole family squeezed in. How the bike managed to move with mum on the back and grandma, two kids and the luggage all in the sidecar is a mystery!
Watching locomotives go by
There was something enchanting about the sound, the smell and the billowing smoke of a steam train. Kids clutching platform tickets and notepads would hover around stations eagerly awaiting the next steam train with pencils poised to jot down its number. Still not sure why…
And finally… train trips to the seaside
The magic of steam trains didn’t end there. A day out or holiday by the seaside was as much about the journey there as the destination.
Bags packed, bucket and spade in hand, waiting for the train, whistles blowing, the constant clacketty-clack and the views from the window of towns and countryside so different to home, made for an unforgettable adventure.
What do you remember best about getting about when you were a kid? And what was your favourite way to travel? We’d love to hear your recollections of the days before cars ruled the road.
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