Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bicycles And The Wheels Within The Wheels

               One of the little surprises that came to me during this month was my sudden awareness of Bicycle Month.  Bicycles have always been part of my life in some way. My first was actually a plastic Transformers tricycle I could quite a lot of mileage out of until I got my first formal bicycle. That was a Huffy. Been far too long to remember the model number. But it was white and neon green. The second one I got when I was about 9 years old. was a yellow one that I had until I was about 15. Even if the other bicycles I've had were handed down from other members of my family,they all have one thing in common that my first one did not: the metal pole/brace right between the set and the breaks that all bikes probably have to have now. This led to the point of this article: some of my history with bicycles.

                 Not too long after I was out of training wheels,which took a surprisingly long time considering, a neighbor kid named Danny made a strange suggested to me and our mutual neighbor Rene. We were all the same age. But Rene',much as Danny had much thicker skin than I. Danny was looking for us to run a "bicycle chicken race" of sorts-a thirty foot run from the back of the parking lot to the door of the dumpster room. Rene' tried to talk Danny out of it but he didn't listen to her. As is typical of a six year old cognitively educated American male, I went along with little thought to the consequences of what was going to happen to me. And of course during the race that was when my breaks decided to go out. I crashed into the door of the dumpster house. 

            Without that middle bar under the seat,I fell down into the middle of the bike-the lower end hitting me in the groin. I ended up crawling rather like a pet dog back home with one sock hanging off-while a furious Rene' pursued Danny on her bike as he peddled away fast as he could. Upon a day off from school for what turned out to be a fairly quick recovery Danny,who was a classmate of mine,apologized very sincerely. Since this was extremely atypical of his character,I always had the impression that this had something to do with Rene's pursuit of him. Anyway that was one of the most valuable lessons of life I could possibly learn. NEVER EVER take a dare-especially if the person dealing it out is heckling you to do so.  And it also guided me greatly to what I looked for in my second bicycle.

            Now I seem to remember my second bicycle was a Pioneer if I recall. It was bright yellow of course. But the big deal about it was that it had that middle bar under the seat I've seen on all bicycles since. It was also a 10-speed,with much better break reaction and they were also adjustable as well. I actually ended up going on much longer range bike rides. One I remember was in the early 90's. It was from the family's summer camp to the nearest convenient store Rogers Market,which was roughly 2 1/2-3 miles away. I was very difficult going for me at that age-going up and and down what to me were rather treacherous hills. In fact I never did anything like that again. But it was the beginning of a period of longer duration and therefore far more interesting bike rides in the future. 

              The farthest bike ride I ever took was probably a twelve mile to and back trip from my apartment to Bull Moose Records about four years ago. Sadly a mysterious (seemingly allergy) related condition has kept me from bike riding since 2011. However,when someone can finally figure out what ails me and its dealt with fully I intend to be back out. One of my fantasies has been to take at least one ride on one of the old time bicycles as you see in the above photo. I think it goes with the general appeals of bicycles to me. Unlike motor vehicles they work a human mind does: always in some type of perpetual motion. And as with the mind, the bicycles never quite knows where it will be asked to go as its wheels turn.


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