A memory of cycling to school

… God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 46 : 1

There is a time when you are neither an adult nor a young child.                   There is a time when you are neither here nor there.                                       Not at home and not at school / work.

Maybe you are travelling??🤣❤

Our cycle route from 5 Glasgow Crescent ( our home ) to Townsend Girls’ Highschool. This was a school of 1,000 girls 4 miles away.  These directions are per kind favour of my sister Shelly.
Cycle around the crescent then right into Lancaster,
left into Durham. Then cross the Hillside road. Once over the Hillside road the name changes to Chesterton road.
There are then  some road changes around the Mater Dei Hospital ( Mum used to be night Matron there when the nuns needed help.)  Then from Burnsdrive, after we crossed a narrow cycle bridge, we would walk up a steepish gravel cycle track. We would then push our bikes  through a narrow gate and remember where we had left them amongst the hundreds of other girls’ bikes.🤣

I have mostly enjoyed these “gap” times.  I got my bike towards the end of my first and only year at Moray Primary School and I found movement with balance exciting.  The early mornings and then sometimes the thunderstorm afternoons were memorable cycling times.

A land open to the sun from 6am. Shimmering all over in gold so that the earth, grasses, insects as well as any seasonal tree or shrub in bloom fills the air with its special smell.  The harder you peddled the more you got of this air.  A reward in itself.

The birds quieter now, after the dawn chorus, squabled over food and swooped near us now and then giving us the privilege of a flapping wing sound, mixed with the whirr of our wheels on tar.

We soon had friends to cycle with and Rita, a Dutch girl, would join me at the Hillside road on our way to school.

Then one day on our return cycle from school to home, after saying bye to Rita,  I managed to get cycling in a cluster of girls.  Our bikes were all going at approximately the same speed.  We were heading down Durham road with its hot sticky tar and loose gravel not yet pressed in.  A newly made road surface.  The pack of cycles then opened up a bit but not quite enough as one girl, who needed to turn right, caught the back wheel of my bike with her front wheel.  The grit was soon tearing at my hands and knees with the elastic band of my straw basher under my chin allowing my hat to slip forward and cover my face.

So that is how I slid face down over the gravel.  The memory of the slow movement, the smell of tar and a stinging sensation  on my hands and knees with my bike going in another direction is easy to recall.

With no mobile phones and in a street where people didn’t know me, everything took a while.  I guess I must have managed to give my name or phone number because I don’t remember anything until I was in my own bed at home aching all over and still stinging from open grazes. However, remember my mum and dad were both nurses and mum particularly made sure all was well.

In time with healed scars, that I still have to this day, I was happy to be back on my bike.


I really don’t know how we all managed to stay alive without cycle helmits!

The path of your life can change in an instant.

Ann Breshares

5 thoughts on “A memory of cycling to school

  1. Oh how I remember that awful day! I worried myself sick about you. Don’t you still have a bit of gravel in your knee?
    How did we recognise our bikes and remember where we had put them? We’d never manage that today🤣. Loved this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! Sandy you had a very adventurous childhood. Thank God that even though unfortunately you got injured he protected you from having life ending injuries due to your cycling incident. I am so glad you were ok then and that you are here with us now sharing your childhood memories. May God keep blessing you always🙏🙏🙏🙏🤗❤🌸🙏🙏


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