As an adult, I have enjoyed bike rides with each person in my family-of-origin, independent of one another. This is not a goal I realized I had ’til it was accomplished.
I’m from a project-based family. We like to do things, collect experiences, learn, examine, uncover, understand. And we like bikes!
I remember being a little thing and my paternal grandfather’s adult-sized tricycle. The sound of bike tires bumping over a boardwalk’s wooden slats. Family mythology has it that same tricycle once ran over my mother’s foot, by accident.
I recall the thick, this-might-be-chemical-y-dangerous smell of grease and seeing bikes in bits in my back yard, old chains soaking in a pickle tub, waiting to be scrubbed silver.
My Strawberry Shortcake Big Wheel; the red tricycle belonging to a neighborhood kid that we’d zip around on like it was a scooter ’til our backs ached; the pretty, blue Columbia that was stolen from my front porch, gone possibly a long time before I noticed. Barreling down broke-up concrete sidewalks from 8th Avenue to 7th, back around to 8th, no adult accompanying me because, as long I stuck to the sidewalk, no need. Learning that freedom can be bought at Toys-R-Us and sized up when my legs grew too long.
Place to place, and person to person. Child to sibling to parent.
There’s nothing like that early love, or the connections it offers. The relationships it helps sustain.