Improper use of a bicycle carrier should, in my estimation, be subject to the same penalties as disorderly conduct or common assault.
I’m prepared to lay odds too that this is the first time any one has sat down with the honourable intent to discuss impartially the the various uses to which carriers may be put.
I’m not saying that the bicycle carrier is an object of total scorn or that it is on the way out. No, what I am saying is that the student should be given the same opportunities in the study of carriers as are available to him in the case of soil erosion, water purification and mountain climbing, among others.
Having said this we will move on to some of the uses for which the carrier has been specifically designed. They are well equipped for the transport of pig heads, legs and shoulders of mutton, joints of boiling beef, and overcoats.
In emergency they are capable of carrying small children and good-looking but underweight girls. For the transportation of the latter it is important that the back tyre in particular should be pumped fairly hard otherwise a puncture is inevitable. It should be remembered, too, it is far nicer to transport the girl on this. In the first place she will be nearer to the driver and in the second case, if anything were to go wrong both passengers will fall off the bicycle together.
If the girl rides on the carrier she can ride side saddle or she can put her arms around her driver’s waist for safety.
In my young days when I had the use of a bicycle with a carrier I was always on the lookout for young ladies who were interested in short excursions with no expense. It is fair to add however that although the journeys were short, they were never dull and there was always a good chance that the girl was in a few stitches before the jaunt was over. I remember once to be coming down Pipers Hill near Duagh with a very good looking girl of seventeen on the carrier. At the time I was the same age myself. The girl liked to stand when the vehicle was moving at top speed. She would do this by placing her hands on my shoulders but when her balance was satisfactory she would stand with her two hands extended.
At the time the song Patsy Fagan was all the rage and she would sing this at the top of her voice. I would join in and what between the humming of the cycle and our joint efforts there was a very unusual and exciting little chorus.
As I say we were on our way down Pipers Hill with the girl standing on the carrier and proceeding at about 25 miles an hour.
“Leave go the handlebars” she cried. Always a bit of a sport I did as she asked, at that moment a large brown cat decided that this was the time for him to come out from his hiding place behind the hedge.
On went the brakes and up went the girl. Like a bird, she went head first, shrieking like a frightened seagull. While her flight was high it wasn’t long.
In mid air she suddenly stopped and fell with arms and legs akimbo on top of some white thorn bushes at the side of the road. My own flight was not as high nor as long and as a result I went through the bushes head first and out the other side to the astonishment of several cows and horses who were utterly bewildered by my sudden appearance.
Not a scratch did I get but I was concerned for the condition of my passenger.
She sat astride the bushes and if I say she had scratches I would do the girl an injustice, for the truth was that she was scratched head to toe. Getting her down from the hedge wasn’t easy. All I could do was shake the bottom of the hedge and hope that she wouldn’t hurt herself when she fell.
Luckily she didn’t. We got back on the bicycle again and drove off, it wasn’t long before she was standing on the carrier again singing Patsy Fagan. At the moment she is a nun in the Presentation Order and well on her way, so I am told, to becoming Reverend Mother. She would never fit on the carrier now.