Ian Ralph Huckin
What use are stabilisers? Those third (and fourth wheel sometimes) on a bike to 'help you' to learn to ride? I learnt by my brother holding onto the saddle whilst I peddled and he let go, and I ended up in a hedge! The indignity of having to get my Mother to pull out a thorn from my scrotum, ensured I learned pretty quickly after that!
Gears? We slowed down or speeded up with the use of brakes and peddles (with a well oiled chain).
But, we had something no cyclist has now. Lights front and rear. And they had to work too. Either a battery or a dynamo to power them. We also had mudguards front and rear to protect us from splashes and save our clothes a bit. Every bike had a repair outfit and a pump in the saddle bag. Also a stand so that we could stand them up. Not needed now of course, as they just dump them on the floor.
Progress? Only in certain cases!
A Couple of Odes for you, from my book "How One Grows in Rhymes and Prose"
Broken fingers and bruised knuckles
I think us kids were bonkers
It wasn't fights that hurt us
We were only playing conkers!
I get quite unhappy when
Kids pinch my sweets and run
Revenge was mine, I got them back
Ambushed with my Spud Gun!