Bicycle Commuting in 1952


After the first couple of weeks of riding the streetcar to high school, it was time to ride my bike back and forth.  She was hard to convince, but Mom finally relented and allowed me to do it.

Why it was so important for me to do it, I don’t know.  Maybe it was the adventure of riding a little over three miles from home on streets that were all strange. My paper-route basket was able to carry my books without any trouble.  This was the first school year that I didn’t deliver papers in a long time.

I plotted a route to take Woodlawn Avenue south all the way to the dead-end at 99th Street.  A right turn swung me toward Cottage Grove.  A left turn put me on Cottage Grove Avenue where I followed the streetcar tracks up to 103rd Street.  At 103rd Street I ducked right under and through the  viaduct to Dauphin Avenue. Dauphin runs parallel to the Illinois Central tracks in a southwesterly direction. It is a narrow street with little to no traffic.  I stayed on Dauphin up 109th where it stopped. I zigged west to Eberhart which turns into 110th place, and finally dead ends at South Park Avenue (Martin Luther King Jr. Drive). I rode the sidewalk along the Mendel property fence to the school gate. On a busy day, I might see two cars during the trip. The twenty-five minutes  it took to ride was less than using the streetcar, especially if the cars were running slow.

Bike route from home to Mendel High School

I parked in a very long bicycle shed with room for fifty bikes behind the Rec Center.  It had three walls and a roof.  There, I locked my bike to the rack and walked the path to the building.  The total distance was short, but I felt like I had ridden to the end of the world.

It wasn’t long before the days got shorter and the weather turned nasty and I was back on the streetcar again.

Let’s Have Some Competition

One of the arguments, I have heard about why we need big government run health care reform is that the evil insurance companies need some competition. Why is it that the insurance companies are restricted to practice in a specific state? Wouldn’t it make sense that the private sector would compete vigorously if they were allowed to?

My guess is that there have been problems with insurance claims in each state. Our law makers, in their infinite wisdom, and their drive to get re-elected, proposed new rules to protect us from those evil insurers. The result, fifty states with fifty different sets of rules about  how to run an insurance company. There went the competition between states.

If  uncle is really serious about health care reform, he would set up some simple standards for heath care insurance, similar to those used by Medicare supplements.  Why is it necessary to set up a totally unfair government run insurance company to compete against the private sector, when a simple set of standards would be enough?

Let's Play By My Rules