This weekend a big milestone occurred.
My sons live in a slightly hilly town with lots of things that are in biking distance. A 7 year old could get to school, to libraries, bookstores, soccer fields, swimming pools, ice rinks and playgrounds. A teenager could ride to the woods, to the T, to many parks, aikido dojos and other areas of as-yet-unknown great interest. Actually, a moderately ambitious bike rider could probably make it to an IMAX theater. When we go camping, most of the kids bring their bikes and spend their time until dark whizzing around the even, partially paved, quite safe roads of the campground. To sum up: my kids need to have bikes, and they need to know how to use them.
Now, I’d wanted to get Grey a bike last year, but my husband thought he was too young. But that argument timed out, so yesterday I walked with Grey down to the local bike store, where Grey chose the very first bike he was shown, it is a silver and green Schwinn.
Of course, Thane might actually spontaneously combust if his brother got cool new transportation and he was left behind, so I decided to do a two-fer and get him a trike. May I just say, for the record, that trikes have come a long way since my day?
We went to a local parking lot and went around in satisfied circles. It was awesome, with the bright sunshine and biting winds.
I have a lot of memories of bicycles. Riding on the back of my parents’ bike. The trike I had when I was four in Merced. The beautiful wine-colored 10 speed Schwinn that brought me anywhere in all of Prosser. That was the best bike ever. I flew like a bird. I went everywhere, with complete liberty, on that bike. Ask me sometime about the time my sister and I got epically lost in the Tri-cities, in the wrong time on the wrong side of the river. Turns out you should NEVER trust my sister with directions. That’s a tip, folks.
As I watched my sons speed (see also: snails) around the parking lot I thought about when I STOPPED bicycling. For years I thought it was when we moved to Mineral. There was a) nowhere to go b) no sidewalks c) narrow winding roads with big log trucks. But I know that I did take the red Schwinn into town to Dick’s Store. When I really stopped was when my sister nearly killed herself on a bicycle. Wear your helmets, folks. If you admire my sister’s intellect, it is likely that such intellect was only preserved by a bike helmet that completely split in two after a high speed wreck that required extensive repair. And I don’t think the bike made it at all. When I think about it, I’m surprised I have the courage to start my sons on a two-wheeled path. But life is full of rewards, risks and odds.
And this is worth having.