Riding a bicycle is a way of life. There, I said it aloud. Do you believe me yet?
I grew up on my bike. I loved it like no other thing I owned. My bike took me on adventures. It was pink and had a bag (originally) that I stuffed full of all sorts of things. Yes, eventually I lost the bag. This bike grew with me. As I got taller, well a little bit taller, so did the bike seat. I grew up in a small town and so was able to ride my bike everywhere. I would ride it to play at my friends homes, to my grandma’s house, to the outlet and back, and anywhere else I could think to go. I got into more accidents than I can count but got myself back up on my bike and continued on.
A few weeks before I began first grade, I had a bit of a major scurfuffle. I was at my neighbor’s house playing with my friend Wendy. She was four years older than me and really did a good job of dealing with my wanting to play with her (haha). One day we were riding bikes and she told me to ride her brother’s bike – he wouldn’t mind. Well, he really wouldn’t have minded but I should have retrieved my own bike anyway. The bike was a little too big for me and was a boy’s bike. I fell off the seat and began bleeding everywhere. My mom was not home, my dad was not home, my grandma must not have been home, and apparently no one in my family was home. Luckily, Wendy’s mom was home. She was able to take care of me enough until my mom got home. I ended up in the hospital and I remember the trauma of having to begin first grade soon thereafter. In my memory, I was hesitant to get back on a bike but that may not be the reality. I will never forget that accident.
On the last day of school one year – maybe fourth or fifth grade, my bike and I went on a long journey. I was allowed to ride to school. Now, you are probably saying to yourself, “Why wouldn’t she be able to ride her bike to school?” Well, I lived in a small town about five miles from the school. I only remember riding that one day. I am sure that my parents were hesitant to let me but there was a whole gaggle of us “Bern kids” riding our bikes together. It was allowed and I remember it being a fun but long ride. I only did it that once growing up. I think there is a very good reason.
I have had many adventures on my bikes. I have and ride the bike now that I got after my pink one. I love riding it and try to commute to work on it as much as possible during the few months of nice weather. I am a big advocate of wearing bike helmets. I never had one as a kid but now rarely ride my bike without one. Several months ago, my sister was riding her bike and got hit by a car. I think of how much worse it would have been for her if she had not had her helmet on. As I am driving to work, I silently curse the bikers I see riding on the road without a helmet. I think of how stupid they are to be putting themselves at risk on purpose. So, please, wear your helmets.
I hope that you all have bikes and that you all have adventures on your bikes. I am looking forward to this summer and getting my bike tuned up for the spring, summer, and fall. I feel very fortunate to live in a city that is so very bike friendly and encourages bike commutes. Go dust off your helmet and bike seat and start riding. Go rediscover your youth and what made riding a bike so fun!
Peace and Love (and bike-riding),
The Mad Pianist