Warning! Nerd alert! Gonna geek out a little.
On a Sunday night ride around the neighborhood, mind wondering, it struck me that a bicycle was present at some of the most memorable moments.
My first spider bike with the sparkle-flecked, glossy metallic blue banana seat was awesome—learned to ride it with pedal blocks strapped to my Buster Browns. Remember when the only way to put on the breaks was to pedal Backwards? Or you just jumped off in the grass, still in motion, and let it fall where it fell as you raced to be the first to get a drink out o' the hose on a hot summer day. There's nothin' like the joy and pride of being six years old and having your older brother spend a summer day teaching ya how to ride a bike for the first time. It sure beats him throwing dried dirt clods at ya cause they look like grenades exploding when the dust flies off your head as they hit your noggin. My dad had a standing bet to every kid in the neighborhood for a hundred bucks to anyone, of any age, who could learn to ride a bicycle backwards for 30 seconds (which he could do himself for just about as long as he wanted). He'd sit on the handlebars facing backwards and peddle around in circles. It's actually pretty impressive. In 23 years, no one collected.
My most memorable christmas was when I was a fat kid at the age of twelve. I wanted a 10 speed. At that time and that place, the pentacle of desire for every kid I new was a Schwinn drop bar 10 speed. My father took me to the Schwinn dealer and had me fitted on a red Varsity. He told me we there just to gauge for size because it happened to be open when he had time to take me. The next weekend, he took me by to see the "real" bike I was gonna get, which was a cheap-ass hoopty from Monkey Wards. For a month he'd take me to look at that P.O.S. Montgomery Wards bike. He still laughs 'cause I said I'd find a way to pay the difference (not many 12 year olds with jobs). On Christmas morning, there was the shiny red Schwinn. When summer came around, I road that thing into puberty and shocked the hell out my class mates the following first year of junior high—showed up tall, tan, and super lean, from a summer of long days biking all over town. I had that hunk of steel 'till I was 36. Then came a C-Dale Hybrid H200 to make the most of the unpaved bike trail off the back of my apartment complex. Note: If you wanna have a successful, excellently fun date—take her biking. Some of my best days with girlfriends past, was time spent on that C-Dale hybrid and the evening that followed (nothing like physical activity of one kind, to get in the mood for more physical activity of another).
Now at 48, I'm rediscovering the joy of the the great outdoors via two thin spoked wheels rolling over ground, sending vibrations up a seat post. From there, those good vibrations only have to take a short trek over spinal chord, from ass, to cranium, to a cerebellum floating in Dopamine. When some men hit 48, they buy a sports car. Others spring for a Harley. My goober ass went for a C-Dale supersix. I sh!t you not, this thing has changed my life in a very short time. It's deja vous all aver again—I think this bike is gonna get my middle-aged fat ass back in shape again (put on weight after a broken leg), just like the that red Schwinn did, 36 years ago.
I was flying down a hill this weekend and it made me think of the sign-off my local TV station used to run, back when TV wasn't 24/7. Do you remember the waving flag, the jet, and the narrator reciting "High Flight" just before the TV screen turned to snow...?
"And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God."
That's how my new bike feels. This is one piece of equipment that won't become an expensive coat rack.
Got any bike moments to share?
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