I’ve had bicycles on my mind this week. On Sunday when I drove the car Gary asked me what it was like. “Like riding a bike” was my reply. Even though I hadn’t driven a car in months and months, and it felt a little awkward to be so close to the ground, I was soon driving with confidence.
Riding a bike is one of the first truly complex tasks that we learn as a child. It requires strength, skill, coordination, and determination. If we are lucky we progress from tricycle to training wheels to real bike without too many injuries. I remember struggling to ride the neighbor’s bike. He pushed, I fell. He pushed, I fell. The bike was too big for me, and it was a boy’s bike! Eventually I mastered it. And once mastered, the skill was mine for a lifetime. Our brain stores most complex tasks and remembers them when we need them. Hence the saying we so often use.
My students have been talking about their bicycles this week. Warm weather has prompted them to be out enjoying the sunshine. A few already have scrapes, but they assure me they are having a great time riding around their neighborhoods.
I saw two children pushing new bicycles out of WalMart the other day. Birthday presents, I overheard. I don’t remember having my own bicycle as a child, but I suppose I must have had at least one. I do remember riding with friends. My cousins and I rode around the high school in Selma, CA one day when I was supposed to “stay near the café and ride around the block” where Gran and Dad were working. That was and is one of the parental nightmares of bicycles- too much freedom, too many possibilities. Ironically on my way out of the parking lot at WalMart three young boys sped across the lot on their bikes and one nearly hit my truck.
My own children have had a series of bicycles. Of course they have also had problems and injuries. Karen probably suffered the most serious scrapes and bruises from an accident. But like most kids, she was back to riding in just a few short weeks. We’ve also had bicycles damaged and stolen, and some left behind when we moved.
Gary and I have ridden quite a bit over the years. Of course he participated in triathlons and did some very serious riding and training for those. We both owned bikes when we moved here, but sold them when we realized we couldn’t ride “racing bikes” on dirt road.
As proof that bicycle riding has been a joy for many generations I recently found this photo of my grandmother on a bike! (She is the one in the dark dress.) Aunt Martha is in the middle. I don't know the other woman. Thank you to my Aunt Betty for letting me scan this!
And here is one of my brother, Dan.
I don’t think you will see me on a bicycle any time soon, but it is nice to know that I could probably remember how to ride it!
Have a great day!