Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

After Christian College became co-ed, the school bought 16 bikes

I hadnít anticipated the "together," but I snapped right back, "Bicycling!"

He countered with, "Thereís nothing to learn about riding a bicycle except staying up."

I argued that point, mentioning adjusting the saddle and handlebars, learning new techniques of pedaling, long-distance riding, care and maintenance of the equipment, preparation for taking a bike in a car or plane. Ö

He interrupted: "Sue, how fast can you ride with that new technique?"

"I donít know exactly," I said, "I rode over to Mexico for lunch a couple of weeks ago and averaged Ö"

"Mexico! Mexico what?" he barked.

"Mexico, Missouri, and I averaged about 10 Ö"

"You rode to Mexico one morning? Why, thatís 40 miles from here!"

Hill was sold on teaching bicycling for fellows and girls in the same class! "Get me prices from three companies," he said, knowing that my son, Walt Gerard, owned and operated the only complete bicycle shop in Columbia at that time, 1969 to 1970.

Student fees for two classes each semester soon paid for 16 new bicycles. We took bids from three companies and bought British Raleighs, French Peugeots and two tandems at a reduced price at Waltís shop, a short block from Christian Collegeís campus.

In l969, Christian College offered its first bicycle class for one hourís physical education credit. In 1970, í71 and í72 , I planned and led 45-day bicycle tours in Europe. The dean asked whether I could plan and budget the tours, overnights, meals, mechanics and special events; I had done that for our family previously. I charged a $50 emergency fee for each student, and in three trips, all of the emergency fees were returned unused. A few nonstudents in each trip paid the college an extra $15 fee.

To ensure a place to stay each night, I planned overnights to be in youth hostels, cooking our breakfasts in the "membersí kitchens." Students bought their noon meals. Evening meals were reserved ahead for the hostel dining rooms so that weíd get to know people from various parts of the world.

In three tours and with 30 students, we had one near-calamity: One student forgot which side of the road to use in England and dumped her luggage in the street as a driver saved her by bouncing his vehicle over a curb. I saw this happen and went to the crying, frightened girl at once. She was not injured. I hugged her in the middle of the street, and she whispered, "Mrs. G., Iím wetting my pants." No harm done!

The British driver and two women passengers stayed with us a short time. Other Christian College trippers repacked their friendsí belongings, and the girls formed a "door," standing side by side in front of the bicyclist as she changed underwear and slacks at a bus shelter.

Another girl in my group was riding on a veledrome, a bowl-shaped place for professional bike races. She became frightened, lost her balance and slid down, scraping one leg. We waited while a doctor gave her a tetanus shot.

After the first of these three 45-day bicycle tours, I convinced the Christian College dean that we were having new recreational experiences worth an hourís credit and that the 900-plus miles were great exercise.

Two hoursí credit were then granted to the bicyclists for recreation.

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