Thursday, July 14, 2011

Riding My Bike

My parents were always sticklers for safety when I was growing up.  That included lots of rules for safely riding our bikes (helmets weren’t available for kids, yet or we would’ve worn them).  We didn’t have sidewalks on our street so we learned the rules of the road early. 
My sisters and I had hand-me-down bikes my dad got from the dump and fixed up for us.  The one I remember vividly is “Little Black Bike” (LBB).  It was a small two-wheeler that was our training bike before we “graduated” to a brand new bike a few years later. 

My dad put training wheels on it at first, raising them up as we got better at balancing, removing them altogether when we were confident.  Ah, the freedom!  We could bike down to the playground at the end of our street.  When we were much older we biked to the library and even to school.

It was during a ride around the neighborhood that I gave my across the street neighbor, Tony, a black eye.  I didn’t do it on purpose but my elbow and his eye collided.

See, he got on the back of LBB and wouldn’t get off.  There was a rule in our house:  never ride double!  I was so afraid I would get in trouble and LBB would be off limits so I nudged backward with my elbow to try and jab Tony off my bike.  Apparently I nudged at eye level with a bit more force than I realized.  Tony went home crying, threatening to tell his dad (whom I was petrified of).

I went home crying, too, afraid of the wrath of Tony’s dad.  It never appeared.  He got in trouble for riding double on my bike after I told him to get off! 
Thus began my love of bike riding.  As a teen, I rode up Provin Mountain (Agawam, MA) before school in the morning.  I even raced on Sunday mornings at Forest Park (Springfield, MA).  The one girl in a sea of men and boys flying around the loop, pedaling as fast as we could!  Then as they loaded their bikes into their vehicles, I biked the ten miles home.  That’s when I started wearing a helmet on every ride (required for bike racing, not for riding on the roads at that time).   

I still love to ride my bike, wearing my helmet and following the rules of the road.  Do you like riding a bike?  Do you have a favorite bike trail?  I'd love to hear about it--leave me a comment!

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