Tuesday, May 15, 2007


There are a few things (the sound of cicadas late in the evening, carolina jasmine, green OFF! spray, running around half naked) that carry with them strong fond associations with my childhood. If I had to think of the one activity that has absorbed the biggest percentage of my life's hours, riding a bike would come a close third after sleeping and picking my nose. The street I grew up on was perfect for this particular pastime, and all of the many kids in the neighborhood would agree with me, I think, because they surely remember making ramps out of particle board and bricks, racing around the block, standing the bikes upside down on their handlebars and pumping the pedals with our hands to see who could make the wheels spin the fastest. Childhood milestones were reached via our bikes: when I was seven I broke my leg trying some fancy pedalwork; around the same time I got my first kiss by thrusting a stick into Jacob Davies' spokes and pinning him down when he fell off. At some point other interests stole the time I once devoted to coasting down the street with my feet perched on the handlebars, and the old bicycle was stored, forgotten, sold. I haven't owned a bike since I was probably twelve or so. Until today.
My friend Angela called and asked if I wanted to go for a bike ride, as I desperately need the excercise and she is trying to get into shape to take the test to become a fireman. Woman. Anyway I agreed, as we have four count them four bikes hanging in our garage for decoration. It must have looked pretty pathetic when she showed up with her shiny new purple Roadmaster and I couldn't find a tire among them that wasn't cracked with age, flat, lacerated, or completely detached. After a short fiasco involving an air compressor, I was in Angela's car on the way to Wal-Mart to fork over $58.96 + tax for my own purple and silver Roadmaster trophy sporting 24-inch rims and a water bottle. The majestic Circle of Life had once again bid me to hit the open road on two wheels. Powered by my feet.
I discovered that I can't ride without hands anymore and I have to stop a minimum of three times during a 5 mile ride to hyperventilate, but I could take my attention off of the pain in my arse for long enough to lift off the seat and pump the pedals as hard as I could and remember when that felt like the most exciting thing in the world and I could go anywhere. (Incidentally, the car does not make me feel like I can go anywhere because as long as gas is $3 a gallon, I would sooner try to flap my arms and fly to Ontario.) Tomorrow, when each butt cheek is bruised a velvety shade of purple, I might even take a picture because THAT is the color of nostalgia my friend.

1 comment:

Karen said...

I was the same way when I was younger, always on my bike riding around with my friends. Unfortunately, like you, I haven't owned a bike in years. Maybe I should go buy that purple one at Wal-Mart and make my butt cheeks match the bike.