A look back at bicycles
A lot of children will probably find a new bicycle under or near the Christmas tree when the big day arrives in a little more than two weeks.
These gifts are given with mixed feelings for parents. Learning to ride a bike is a big part of growing up. Bikes provide good opportunities for getting physical exercise aside from school P.E. classes and are a lot of fun; however, on rare occasions, they can be a cause of great tragedy, as the following news briefs from past years will show.
I used my own bike a lot in my younger days. My mother would often send me on a trip to Groover Grocery across from the depot for a few items she needed to complete our evening meal. Traffic was relatively light, and I never felt any danger – unless my bike fell apart, which it did one time across from the Methodist church when the front wheel became separated from the handle bars, and I hit the pavement with a thud. I wasn’t seriously injured, though.
Long after my peers had cars, I was still riding my bike, even though my dad was a car dealer. I didn’t have a car until I had been at UA for a couple of years.
July 23, 1896—The Morgan County circuit court, now in session in Decatur, took its criminal docket early in the present week and has rendered a verdict in the case of the State v. W.R. Wilson, charged with an assault with a weapon, sent up from the magistrate’ s court in Hartselle. This case has elicited a great deal of interest on account of the fact that the dispute which led to the stabbing arose between Wilson and a married man, William Evans, who attempted to interfere with Wilson’s intentions to a young lady, who has since become Wilson’s wife, on the occasion of a bicycle meet at Hartselle July 30 last.
At the bicycle meet Wilson allegedly stabbed Evans with a pocketknife, inflicting on his person more or less painful wounds, from which Evans soon recovered. The verdict against Wilson was assessed by the jury, which tried him and awarded 1 cent in damages.
Oct. 5, 1898—Louis Humphries, alias Tom White, who has been confined on Burkitt’s Island doing six months’ convict service for stealing a bicycle and who escaped last month, was re-arrested today by deputy sheriff Thomas Turley.
Dec. 30, 1915—J.F. Stewart bought a bicycle for $20.16 at S.E. Stewart’s store today. This will be the proud possession of his son Franklin.
June 30,1917—Bill Watson, son of Dr. W. H. Watson, is confined to his room today as a result of an accident. While riding down Bank Street in Decatur late yesterday on a bicycle, he was struck by an automobile owned by A. Polytinski of Hartselle and painfully injured. He was hurled to the street and the bicycle wrecked.
Jan. 21, 1925—Lonnie, the 10-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Collier, was badly injured early this afternoon when he was struck by a Hartselle-Cullman taxi, near the store of D. T. Thompson. Lonnie was returning to school from lunch and was riding a bicycle in the street when struck. Both legs were broken and his head severely bruised.
Aug. 2, 1933—Bobbie Sherrill, 7, son of Dr. and Mrs. John D. Sherrill, 2906 Canterbury Road, died Tuesday afternoon of injuries suffered when his bicycle
collided with a truck on Cahaba Road in Mountain Brook. His parents, four brothers and two sisters survive Bobbie.
Aug. 12, 1943–Carey Chitwood, of Birmingham, and Hugh Pattillo toured to Guntersville today on their bicycles to visit relatives.
Oct. 5, 1944—Yours if you can find them is the story on bicycles these days. For bikes are no longer rationed. Bikes were first rationed in May 1942.
Jan. 1, 2020—According to the website TrailLink, Hartselle has great bike trails. WebLink gives trail bike riders detailed descriptions, reviews, photos and maps of the best biking locations in our area.