My First Bike*

Me and my bike, and my best friend, Aimee Desrocher

My first bike was a hand-me-down from my brother, Richard. It had training wheels at one time, but by the time I got it, those were long gone. The red building in the background is a church, and it was right next door to us. The dark haired girl in one of the pictures is my friend Aimee, who lived across the street from us. In the second picture, where I’m riding away from the camera, if you look closely, you can see some black metal bars, parallel to the ground. There were steps there that went down to the basement, and the black bars were to keep anyone from falling down the concrete steps into the stair well.

Once I had gotten comfortable riding my bike on the grass, I decided I liked practicing on the sidewalk better, as it was smoother and the bike was less likely to fall over. The only problem was that the sidewalk went around a big rectangle of grass, and the sidewalk was narrow enough that there were four very sharp corners, which were not easily maneuvered by a novice bicycle rider. One day while I was trying to negotiate one of those corners, I fell and my fingers got smashed between the handle bars and the metal railing. OUCH that hurt! I ran home crying, and showed my mom. She examined the fingers, decided they were not broken, and gave me some ice and a kiss.

The next day when I woke up, my fingers were swollen like sausages, and had turned an ugly shade of greenish purple. My mom rushed me to the doctor, worried that she had been too blasé about my fall, and surely they were broken, and it was all her fault for being a negligent mother. Perhaps they would amputate. (I’m sure she didn’t worry about amputation, that’s just for dramatic effect. My mom was also known to embellish a story if she thought it made it better.)

Aside from the finger, I LOVED that bike. Fairbanks at the time was fairly built up, but there were still a lot of wooded lots that sat vacant, and kids had created trails through many of them. We rode all over the place. I remember that the brakes had gone out on the bike at some point, and I didn’t bother to tell my mom. Probably not wise. Eventually, when we moved to California, I couldn’t take the bike with me (I had mostly outgrown it by then anyway), and I wanted to give it to my friend, Collie. She was thrilled, it was a very fun bike to ride. Her father decided she could have it, he would fix the brakes, but he insisted on paying me $10 for it. $10! My allowance was 0.75 a week, so $10 was unheard of. I was thrilled. But I was also sorry to move away from Aimee, Collie, my bike, and Alaska.

* For some reason I did a search on the word ‘bike’, and I see to my horror that I have posted about this bike, and my finger, before.  Back in 2009.  That’s the problem with long time blogging, I guess, and being unimaginative.  There are only so many stories inside me, and trying to post every day in November is really stretching it, apparently.  Also, my blog is almost 12, so I guess it’s inevitable.

This entry was posted in Musings.

6 thoughts on “My First Bike*

  1. My first bike was from Sears, but I got a Schwinn a few years later when I proved I could ride, I guess. My Schwinn was nowhere as cool as Ted’s. I like your story of being able to explore on your bike. We lived in the city, on a brick street, so my bike riding was bumpy and monotonous, up and down the street.

    • Ally, my mom would ONLY buy us Schwins. She felt they were better made and stronger somehow. And I could only have boy bikes. She felt that the cross bar made the bike more sturdy and therefore safe. But we didn’t wear helmets back then, which probably would have been the safest thing of all.

  2. I sympathize about repeating yourself after a dozen years of blogging. It’s tough.

    I was terrified of riding a two-wheeler, and I resisted doing so until I was quite an older kid. All the neighbors constantly nagged at me, teased me, and some even made fun of me (the adults!) about when I was going to ever ride a bike. For my 10th or 11th birthday, my father brought home a used bike (we were struggling after US Steel had gone on strike). I pretended to be happy, but I was devastated.

    At that point, I had no choice but to learn, so I did. The neighbors were finally satisfied.

    • The adults? Wow. Shame on them. I’m glad that you finally did learn though, it is a god skill to have.

      When we moved to California, my mom bought us both new bikes for Christmas. She put together a treasure hunt that had us searching the house for clues, and eventually led us out to the garage where they were. Very exciting, except that we couldn’t ride much because the Tule fog was so bad that morning, we couldn’t quite see to the end of the driveway. So we were allowed to ride in circles around the driveway. Not much fun in that.

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