Saturday, October 16, 2010

Living Vintage: Biking through Bucks County

One of the things I really enjoy is riding my bike. I bought this bike about 10 years ago, back when balloon tire cruisers weren't really in style- all the cool kids back then rode mountain bikes. But I bought it because it had great vintage style (even though it was new) and I didn't need 18 gears and knobby tires to ride around my neighborhood.

It has whitewall tires, wide handlebars, a comfy seat and coaster brakes. I used to ride to the library and the grocery store all the time. Sometimes I went almost a week without using a car. Then we moved to a more rural area and had kids and I found myself riding for exercise and pure enjoyment.

Thankfully we live in an area that is mostly flat and with very little traffic. I bought a Burley trailer and hooked it onto the bike so I could take my 2 kids along on my rides. They were small enough to ride together in the back, and it was great exercise pulling all that weight (I would say the trailer and occupants weighed close to 100 lbs) on a single gear bike. Now that they're too big to ride in the trailer, I am back to riding alone.

When I tell people I live in Bucks County, I think this is what a lot of people think of:

And I'm fortunate to live here, in a part of Bucks County that still looks like this. Because most of it does not. I grew up slightly south of here, in a part of Bucks that used to look like this 25-30 years ago. Now it looks like suburbia everywhere, with shopping centers, McMansions, and 4 lane highways.
Hopefully this area will stay like this for a while, because it's nice to ride on the road and not have to worry about speeding cars or trucks. You get to just enjoy the scenery, which is something like this:

Notice the Horse Xing sign? There's a horse rescue near here.  There are also lots of horse farms and a few weeks ago on my ride I came across a man driving a carriage pulled by two draft horses. Just for fun and exercise (for the horses). Many of these farms are owned by New Yorkers who just come out on weekends, as they have since the 1930s (like Dorothy Parker, Oscar Hammerstein and S.J. Perelman).

This is one of my favorite mid-century houses, and it just happens to be nearby. I always wish I had the guts to stop and knock on the door and ask to look inside. I can see a great 3-tiered pendant light in the entryway- I just know it's full of more MCM goodies. I have even exchanged pleasantries with the owner as I ride by, but never had the courage to ask!
Here's some more eye candy- you can see why I like to ride this route:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
-Robert Frost


  1. What a truly beautiful area you live in!

  2. Very nice bike riding country. I live in the Berkshires and although it is just as beautiful as your area, we have lots of big hills, so bike riding is a tad bit more on the legs. I would love a bike like that though.

  3. Fantastic post! I am getting a new bike next year and I want a similar bike to yours. Thanks for sharing all this beauty!ch

  4. What a gorgeous ride - or walk, in my case. I waited until I was 17 to try to learn to ride a bike, and one broken wrist later, I decided that it wasn't for me. Oops! I've been told that my great-grandmother (born in 1882) was only 4"11, but managed to ride one of those big, tall, oldfashioned bikes....I wish there were pictures!