Friday, July 4, 2014

Childhood bike memories

Just read a post over at the Trailer Park Cyclist that was about the freedom of our youth's spent on two wheels and how the bike represented our freedom when we were young.  He even had a picture (I borrowed) that I can totally relate to:


This is so true!

I remember riding my bike everywhere when I was under the age of 16.  We would ride 12 or 15 miles in an hour or two just cruising to various friends' houses to see if they were home.  We would ride to the mall, we would ride to the lake, to the community pool, we rode everywhere.

I remember one time I was a bit late getting home.  I was maybe 12 or 13 and I was riding my dad's old bike.  It was a 26 inch and had saddle bag baskets on it.  I was cruising across the side streets in a hurry to get home.  As I approached one intersection I saw a car coming towards the stop sign and slowing down.  I kept my head down pedalling hard and didn't pay attention to the car as the woman pulled right in front of me into the intersection.

At the last minute I see her pulling in front of me.  I hit the coaster brakes locking the rear tire but there is no way I can stop.  I slam into the drivers door and end up doing a cart wheel with the bike.  I fall to the ground with a couple of scrapes but am otherwise unhurt.  The woman gets out of the car and keeps asking me if I'm all right.  I say yes, embarrassed that it happened and scared of what my parents will say. 

I pick up the bike and do a quick assessment.  The only problem seems to be a bent basket.  The car wasn't as lucky as it had a dent in the door and the drivers side mirror had broken off. The woman is asking me where I live and I say follow me and pedal off towards home.

She follows me and when I get home I head into the house filled with dread.  I was late and now I had damaged the woman's car.  my mom sees me and knows there is a problem.  She asks what's wrong and I tell her there is a woman who wants to talk to her.  She heads to the door and I head to the bathroom to clean and bandage my scrapes.

I don't remember what happened with the woman or the car or if we had to fix it or not.  I never did get in trouble for the accident, I think they were just happy I was OK.

Another memory is a couple of years later:

My legs are pumping as fast as I can make them go. I am crouching down over the handlebars, getting as low as I can trying to get every last bit of speed from my yellow, 10 speed Schwinn. I am breathing fast and hard, trying to get oxygen into my lungs to supply my straining, burning muscles. My heart is pounding like a bass drum in my temples.
 
My brother is just ahead of me and I am inching closer and closer, trying to pass him before we get home. He looks over his shoulder, a brief glance, shows him that I am gaining on him. I can tell he has nothing more to give. I pull just even with him as we arrive at home. I didn’t beat him today, but one day I will. I let my Schwinn coast past the house and it is like I am flying effortlessly along.  The summer twilight is fading as we put the bikes into the shed and head in for a cold drink of water.