That first bike

My first bike quickly resembled a pancake but not in my eyes.

In my eyes, it had red steamers flowing from the handlebars, sparkles along the bright paint on the frame, and a big white horn on the front. I was only six and, knowing my parents’ financial state at the time, none of those things were true.

Story_squareBut it was my first and I had learned to balance on it with only a couple of skinned knees along the way.

I had the bad habit of dropping it on the ground when I was finished riding, usually in the driveway. My father warned me several times that it’d get run over if I kept doing that and I tried. But my six-year-old mind seemed to resist the idea.

One day I came out to find that my bike had been flattened when Dad backed over it with one of his big farm trucks.

I stood there while my brain connected the dots. Leaving the bike on the ground did indeed mean it would get run over.

I learned. I never did that again.

But my years with bikes was not over. In those days, Dad would visit farm auctions in the winter, trolling for bargains. And he often came home with a bargain bike.

Since I was the oldest child, I would get the new bike (“new” only in the sense of never living on our farm before) while my old bike went down the sibling chain.

These auction bikes usually lacked fenders and color. Certainly no streamers flowed from handlebars. One was so big that I had to ride on my tiptoes until I grew some more.

But we rode our bikes daily. Up the lane, over the bumps, into the wind.

I still like bikes. I’ve never had one with streamers or a white horn. But I’ve never ever again left one lying on the ground. I’m ok with plain bikes but still not so crazy about pancake bikes.


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