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A Bicycle Expands a Boy’s Horizons

Historically Katy
A Bicycle Expands a Boy’s Horizons

| August 1, 2017

This unidentified boy is in front of the old Juergen Store in Cypress, probably in the 1920s or early 1930s. The brand of bike is also unknown.

This unidentified boy is in front of the old Juergen Store in Cypress, probably in the 1920s or early 1930s. The brand of bike is also unknown.

This photo is from one of the Juergen family photo albums that were donated to the Cypress Top Historic Park collection. It shows a boy of about 12 with a shiny bike which may be new. He is in front of the old Juergen Store in Cypress. The photo dates from the 1920s or early 1930s. We have not figured out who the boy is nor have we tried to have the bike identified. Perhaps our readers can help us with those questions.

Bicycles were everywhere by 1900, and there were many manufacturers. The market became saturated by 1905; sales declined and consolidation began. Bicycle sales continued to drop rather precipitously as motorcycles and cars replaced them as the vehicle of choice. However, bikes were still the primary mode of transportation for adolescent boys up until recently. Young boys can walk three or four miles an hour for extended periods, but on a bike they will average three times that speed, so their sphere of geography is dramatically enlarged with the acquisition of a bike. I recall vividly my Schwinn bicycle that was a Christmas gift and how I roamed far from home. If my mother had known how far I roamed, she would have been upset, but I suspect my dad had a good idea!

My granddad quit school after sixth grade. He used his bike to deliver goods for a pharmacy in downtown Houston. He would often deliver to Pecan Park near Hobby Airport, about 12 miles from downtown. He would carry his 22-rifle with him and shoot squirrels while in Pecan Park, much to the delight of the local residents who did not want the pecan-eating squirrels. He would then ride back to town and sell his squirrels at the market square before returning to the pharmacy for his next delivery. His delivery customers started asking him to bring other items from town such as light bulbs, spark plugs, fan belts and other hardware items, so he began doing that as well. He was soon in the business of supplying goods to Pecan Park and soon expanded to other areas. That business evolved and his bike was replaced with a truck. He became an auto parts supplier and eventually opened a store in Houston. When my dad and his little brother were not attending school, they soon were delivering auto parts to various service stations around town on their bikes.

If you would like learn more about Cypress, Texas, or American history, visit Commissioner Steve Radack’s Cypress Top Historic Park at 26026 Hempstead Highway. Contact the park at cypresstop@pct3.com or 281-357-5324. The Cypress Historical Society is in the California Poppy yellow train depot replica in the back of the park. The Society has genealogy and historical information for the greater Cypress area. Contact the society at cypresshistsociety@att.net or 281-758-0083. If you have questions or comments about this article, contact Fred Collins at fcndc@juno.com.

Historical facts courtesy of Cypress Top Historic Park Collection & Cypress Historical Society: Preserving Cypress History for Posterity.

 

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