Remember when your bicycle was your only mode of transportation? When I was a kid my friend Alan and I would ride just about everywhere – pavement was optional. And our bikes weren’t mountain bikes with 18 gears and European traction. They were Schwinn’s or Huffy’s with big fat tires and fenders and baskets in the front to accommodate our paper route jobs. Later we graduated to “Banana Bikes” with the crazy handle bars and “banana seats”. We would ride to school. We would ride to our friends’ houses. We would ride to the neighborhood stores. We would ride to the park or swimming pool. Having a bicycle meant freedom and we relished it! At about 13 years old we road our bikes across two river ferries to a State Park in a neighboring state – to my knowledge our parents still don’t know about this. My point: if we could get somewhere on two wheels – we would go there! We didn’t need to ask for a ride (in a car) and we often didn’t ask permission to go beyond our normal boundaries (see State Park trip above). We just rode our bikes.
Now I know that those were simpler times and maybe there weren’t as many child predators then (but I doubt it). We grew up in a relatively small town and I suppose there was a certain amount of naïveté that came along with small town life – bad things only happened in the BIG CITY. We were safe. The only thing we had to worry about was getting home before dinner or dark – whichever came first.
Recently my wife and I bought bicycles. We thought it would be healthy and fun! We bought BIG cruisers with BIG seats and BIG tires. Debbie’s bike even has a bell, like the one she had as a girl. Apparently these bikes are made for “people our age” as the snotty-nosed punk at the bicycle shop pointed out. Incidentally, I think that kid was high.
Anyway, you know how they say “it’s just like riding a bicycle; you never forget”? Well I’d like to know who in hell said that and how they know, because I seem to have forgotten a lot about riding bikes. For instance: I don’t remember my thighs burning after a 3 mile bike ride. I also have apparently forgotten that you pant like a dog and sweat like a pig just cruising through your subdivision. I also don’t remember my butt being sore from a short trip to the Qwiki-Mart down the street. And I certainly don’t recall ever having to soak in a tub after a FUN BIKE RIDE. Oh, my!
God certainly has a sense of humor. Why else would he let middle-aged people think that they should ‘start’ riding bicycles again after a 40 year hiatus? Come to think of it – calling ourselves middle-aged is pretty funny, too – unless I live to be 110 years old. And that’s not too likely if I keep riding my bicycle! I need to quit writing now and go ice something. Happy Trails.