Thursday, December 17, 2015

a separate peace

It was a robust red.  With training wheels,  tubeless tires, a hard plastic white seat, and red and white streamers flowing from the handlebars.  It was the first thing I saw under the tree that Christmas morning.  I had recently turned 5 years old.

Looking back, having and riding a bicycle seems like such a milestone of childhood.  I'd seen the older kids riding them, of course.  I remember staring at a 10-speed as the girl upon it had stopped to talk with my mom.  Looking at those skinny tires and trying to figure out how it was possible that anyone could ride such a thing.

Luckily, that Christmas I got my first bicycle, the outside was not covered in snow.  I could bundle up and test ride it right away.  What a rush of freedom that was!

Fashion Disaster on Wheels

I'm sure I received other gifts that Christmas, but I have no idea what they were.  And I don't know that I can say it was the "best" gift ever, but I loved my new bicycle.  And the infatuation didn't wear off after those initial first "dates".  I remember riding it a lot, even if just around our little block.  Eventually, the training wheels came off.

One of the most vivid memories I have from those years is when I learned to handle the 2-wheeler.  My dad had been patiently pushing me up and down the sidewalk,  holding onto the seat.  At one point, I realized he was just jogging along beside me,  no longer holding on, and so excited.  I had graduated!

Bigger bicycles and more fun followed.  The neighborhood kids all got around on them.  If someone got a new one, we all looked on, and eventually, the owner let us take a spin.  In high school, my close friend Ingrid and I would go on long rides on roads we probably should not have been bicycling on.  Ingrid sadly and suddenly passed away while just in her early 30s, and I'm so glad to have the memories of those rides.

So many years have passed since that Christmas of the Bicycle.  And I don't know what became of that little red bike with no name.  I have no desire for competitive bicycling, but I'm not surprised that, at my riper age *ahem*, my bicycles are my chosen methods of transportation.  It's hard to describe in words the difference between commuting on a bicycle and commuting in a car, but the bicycle experience is just so many nice things the car isn't.  The line of separation is thick.

Older face... 
same expression?

Not religiously epiphanous or anything, just better.

I was at the bike shop recently, where all of the employees are avid cyclists who ride to work and beyond.  One of them mentioned to me, "Whenever I see you on the path, you've got such a big grin on your face".

Really?  I hadn't thought about it.  I guess that's a sign of a great gift.

Linking up with Mama Kat this week, for the prompt:
4. Best or worst gift you ever received.



Madamdreamweaver said...

Cute. I learned to ride a bike. I just couldn't figure out the stopping & getting off part.

LL Cool Joe said...

I used to ride around on a bike too. I kept 2 newts in a little bag I tied to the front. How come that sounded so rude? :D Unlike you, my love of bikes didn't continue, but my love of motorbikes did.

Abby said...

Oh, hehe. Well that part's important too.

Abby said...

2 newts in a little bag tied... what?
I can picture you all blinged out on a motorcycle. Newts optional.

ShadowRun300 said...

I don't remember my first bike or learning to ride. All I know is I musta learned somewhere along the way.
Can't say my love has ever been as strong as yours, although I envy your ability to commute by bicycle. Your community is very bicycle friendly which must help.
Very cute pic. Love your style! :)

Abby said...

There are others around here who whine that there aren't enough trails and paths, but I know it could be lots worse. I'll take what I can get!

Riot Kitty said...

OMG, you are adorable!

KatBouska said...

Bikes were always a big ticket item in our neighborhood too! A coveted gift. :) And I LOVE that photo of little you. Captures your love for that tricycle perfectly!

Unknown said...

My first bike was a red BMX, rather expensive at my part of the world, during that time. It was stolen once and my dad got it back for me after much screaming and bawling.

Tee said...

I remember my first bike. It was a red Schwinn and I was so proud of it. It was one that grew with me through my grade school years. The handlebars were later swapped out for a taller variety, and the pear shaped seat was eventually traded for a banana seat. Later, it was replaced with a ten-speed. I rode my bike everywhere as a kid!

Now ... I keep saying I want a bike, but have yet to do something about it. Maybe this spring. We live in a bicycle friendly city, but commuting to work a few cities away would be nearly impossible. The ones in between aren't so friendly. So it would have to be just for fun and exercise.