Click on the following link if you need audio: Bicycle Race — Queen.
My first bike was pretty fantastic. It was red with white handlebars. It had a soft horn. And it had this plate where it looked like you were supposed to write your name on it. I am not sure, though, because it was written in Japanese.
It also had a little seat on the back with three little holes that I’d use to place “carnations” in. The carnations were these little white flowers that grew in our back yard. I have on idea what they were. I just remember that they looked like mini carnations.
The bike sits in the rafters in my parents’ garage. It was supposed to be saved for the little girl I would have some day. Whether that will happen remains to be seen, but as every day passes, it seems like that bike will never be used again.
Anyway, I used to ride my bike in our small back yard. It was mostly dirt then. It was the place I practiced riding on 4 wheels, then 3, then 2.
Then I upgraded to riding out in the street. I remember going down the driveway, and my dad had his hand on the back of my bike. I looked back every now and then to make sure he was still holding on. He was. Then I got to the middle of the street, and I looked back, and, gulp, I was on my own. My dad was still in the driving, big smile on his face — the same smile I saw when he left me on the rollercoaster.
When I eventually got over my independence, I started riding farther down the street. There was a couple that lived 6 houses away — Jim and Aggie. They had some markers up for putting up a new fence — posts with some string. I rode up their driveway and hung a right. At this time I had not yet mastered the brakes, so I ended up knocking down the string and posts. Oopsie.
Over the years, I progressed to bigger bikes, though they were hand-me-downs. First was an upgrade to my sister’s old bike. It had this wheel lock on it. A couple of neighborhood girls decided it would be funny to stuff pan de sal dough in it. The lock never worked again.
I even test drove my friends’ bikes. I remember my mom was adamant about me not *borrowing* other people’s stuff. So when I was using someone else’s bike, I avoided riding in front of my house. I knew that either my sister would be watching from her bedroom window that faced the street or my mom would see me from the living room window.
One of my favorite bikes I rode that wasn’t mine belonged to my friend D. It was a purple and pink Huffy. It even had a little Velcro bag that attached to the handlebars. In those days, I probably rode it more than D did.
Another friend, M, had a Strawberry Shortcake bike. It was red, had a white basket attached to the handlebars and had streamer hanging from the handlebars. I never got to ride that one (bummer) because M was so careful with her stuff. What a smart girl. She eventually upgraded to a bigger bike, which was complete with those little things you put on the spokes. They’d make this kind of irritating noise when you rode your bike. It sounded cool when I was a kid, though.
Learning to ride a bike was probably my first major thing I could do own my own (wiping my own butt was a close second).
I never had a new bike until I bought my own about 5 years ago. The first time I rode it, it was like learning how to ride all over again. Every time I ride my bike today, I still think about those times. I actually still have issues with my brakes today. I almost took a dive a few weeks ago when trying to make a turn.
Lesson learned: Slow down… and brakes are your friend. (One out of 2 ain’t bad, right?)