Thursday, December 02, 2004

Damn kid! Get away from my fence!

Looking across the Internet for a Big Wheel for my 4-year-old today. This should not be as hard as it is turning out to be. Of course while doing this, I can not help but think back to my first bike.
I was around four also.

The bike was red and white, banana seat, and "gorilla" handle bars. I rode that bike for years. I never once had training wheels on it. My Mother taught me how to ride it, and I never looked back.

I remember the day. Early ‘70’s, Columbus, Ohio. The ground was wet from a recent rain and we were on the playground of the elementary school. I remember the playground being a huge concrete slab. At that age it seemed 10 miles from one end to the other.

Mom helped me learn to balance quickly. Showed me the basics. Staying beside me the whole time. After a little while of this, it was time to try on my own. We reviewed steering, pedaling, braking. Running behind me, mom gave me one last push and after a second I was riding BY MYSELF!

Now put yourself back to that age when you first accomplished something that had seemed impossible! I was on a two wheeler, pedaling across the school playground! It was a wonderful feeling that I did not want to end! So with the thrill that only a four-year old can have, I pedaled faster. And faster.

When my Mom describes this, she tends to leave out the thrilling feeling of accomplishment. I think it was short lived for her. While to the four year old flying across the land in a self powered vehicle was the best thing ever, to a young mother watching her eldest son pedal at suicidal speed toward the chain link fence at the opposite end of the playground, the feeling was closer to panic. I do remember her yelling at me to use the brake. I ignored that. I was in my groove.

The perfect ending to this story is that I did notice the fence, turned the bike around and meet Mom half way back to the starting spot. That would just be a lie.

I barreled into that fence at full blast. Never even tried to stop, slow or turn around. After making sure I was in one piece, my Mom carried the bike and me back to our house where my Grandma was waiting. I do have to mention that after the initial reaction of seeing "Larry versus The Fence, Part 1" my Mom recovered and could not stop laughing. Grandma yelled at her about it, but she would not stop! After the look over to see that nothing was broken, only a couple of scraps and bruises, my Mom laughed for an hour straight. In fact, she will tell you the story now, over 30 years later, and still break into laughter, and my Grandma will still tell her to stop! My uncles used to tell the story to people and point out the Larry shaped indent in the fence.

This was just the first adventure my bike and I had. Years later when I traded up for a racing bike, it was with a sad heart. Of course there are some racing bike and later 12-Speed bike stories, and well yeah even other fence stories. Those will have to wait for another time.


Blogger brooksba said...

Uncle Larry,

Cute story! I like how your mom is still able to get a smile on her face when she remembers the day.

I hope you have fun stories of your four-year-old and the new Big Wheel, but that they don't include pain. Something fun and memorable.

Thanks for sharing!


1:12 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was almost 12 or 13. Do you know how horrible it was to be caught riding a bike that had training wheels on it by the popular kids? Awful.

One of the most vivid memories I have of bike riding is when I traded in the training wheel bike for a three speed. I was riding down my neighbor's driveway and reveling in the feeling of speed, the wind rushing past my face. The look of fear in my eyes when I realized that I was headed straight for the car parked in said driveway. And I forgot how to use the brakes. The previous bike was one that you used by pedaling backwards. This one had hand brakes.

SMASH! Fortunately neither the bike or the car was damaged. However, the Dana was a little sore and greatly humiliated.

1:26 PM  

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Location: Lansing, Michigan, United States

Desert Shield/storm vet. I am the one at work who comes up with the ideas on filling up those non-work hours. (ok, who is up for canoeing this weekend?) After several wrong turns, have finally found the love of my life.

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