Watching Little Miss Sunshine wobble down the street on her new pink bike with white training wheels has brought back so many memories of riding bikes as a kid. I will never forget my very first bike. My Grandparents bought me a shiny red Schwinn bike. That bike survived not only me learning to ride, but also my brother and two younger cousins. I loved that bike. Our home at the time had a stone driveway, so I was limited to learning in our pole barn garage. My parents cleared the floor and away I went circling, circling, circling the garage. In just a few days I was bored and asked to have my training wheels taken off. My parents told me it was too soon, but I kept insisting. If I’m remembering things correctly (I’m sure my Mom will tell me if I’m not!) I convinced my Grandpa to take off my training wheels when he came to visit. He took them off and that was it. I was hooked. I zinged around the garage free as a bird.
Later, we moved into a neighborhood and I had quiet streets to ride – with friends!! Our bikes were part of our identity. We could ride around and know who was playing with who based on the bikes parked in the driveway. And then there was the peer pressure to transition to a ten-speed. The ultimate in bikes. You have arrived when you graduate to a ten-speed. One of my neighbors who was a year younger than me got her ten-speed first. She received it as a present for her first communion. I remember being sooo jealous and wishing I was Catholic so I could have a first communion and get a ten-speed. Then another friend, also a year younger than me, got her ten-speed as a first communion present. So unfair!! Somehow, I talked my parents into getting me a ten-speed. After all, I was growing up and my bike was now too small for me. I loved my purple ten-speed and rode and rode and rode around the neighborhood.
In fact, the first time I got pulled over by the police was on a bike. I was trying out my brother’s new bike that he had gotten for his birthday. I was just taking a slow, leisurely ride around the small block and didn’t stop at the stop sign. No one stopped at that stop sign on a bike! There was no traffic in our neighborhood. I had no idea there was a cop car riding quietly behind me. Oops. He gave me a good-natured warning, and somehow I told him it wasn’t even my bike, as if that was a valid excuse.
As I watch Little Miss ride her bike, it brings a pang in my heart. She’s making that transition from toddlerhood to childhood much too quickly.