Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Just Like Riding a Bike

Alone on the gravel, curving, downhill driveway with the sun shining brightly on her purple bike with the banana seat the young girl decided to ride without hands for the first time. Her brother did it, why couldn’t she?

She pedaled hard to get moving and then released the handlebars and clapped her hands. The front wheel hit a small rock and turned sideways. The bike toppled and the little girl flew into the gravel on her bare knees and hands.

After being bandaged up by her mother the girl got back on her bike a little older and a lot wiser. She would save the riding with no hands practice for a flat, smooth surface.

This is me on my first big girl bike circa 1970 something. I loved that bike. It was purple with a real banana seat and later a white basket with flowers on the handlebars.

Throughout my childhood riding bikes was fun and everyone did it. I rode this bike for many years. I did eventually learn to ride with no hands on this bike. In my teen years I traded my purple bike for a blue 10-speed and then 4-wheeled vehicles starting striking my fancy.

The 10-speed traveled with me to several apartments and then was relegated to live under the sundeck at my parent’s house and was eventually given away or donated. I moved on and for years never missed my bikes.

Last week, though, I was in Michigan visiting my sister. On a crisp, sunny Monday morning we pulled hers and her daughter’s bikes out of the garage. It had been 30 years since I had been on a bike that wasn’t stationary. Excited and a little nervous I took the bike helmet when offered.

I found that riding a bike really is just like riding a bike. It’s not a skill that’s easily forgotten. We took off through the neighborhood and then 1 block “in the city” as my nephew call’s riding on the sidewalk down one of the main roads to the park near their house.

After finishing our ride and returning home I felt thrilled all day. It was a feeling I haven’t felt in 30 years. It made me feel like a child again, living freely and enjoying life. It’s a feeling I should strive to find in my life more often. Being a grown-up is something I can’t change, but remembering to let my inner child have fun is something I can change.

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