“It’s like riding a bike…”

P1090837How many times have we heard the phrase “it’s like riding a bicycle?” Just about every time we haven’t done something for a while, right? Someone mentioned this the other night while talking to someone taking a refresher course in grammar.

It got me to thinking. Riding a bicycle has got to be the most common rite of passage for kids. We all learned how, and most of us did it the hard way…without the training wheels. I don’t remember those first riding trips, only the barest memory of my Dad hanging onto the back of the bike. And I’ve got a nice scar on my knee from one of those failed attempts.

But once I learned, that bike was my ticket to life. We rode everywhere in our neighborhood. Our bikes were horses when we played cowboys and Indians (no offense intended). They were our transportation to the pool at a nearby park, towels strapped to the flat rack on top of the back fender.

Bikes were our lives and our communication lines back then. There wasn’t email. We didn’t pick up the phone. We hopped on our bikes.

My husband remembers landing in a patch of blackberry briars as he learned. He just lay there and hollered until his Dad came and pulled him out.

We helped our children learn to ride, and have watched our grandchildren as the training wheels came off. I don’t chase behind the bikes providing stability anymore. I leave that to the kids. But I love to watch the process.

I have to believe that just about every child, from every walk of life, has learned to ride a bike. I guess that’s why it’s such a universal phrase.

What about you? Do you remember learning to ride? Have any stories about yourself, your kids or your grandkids you’d be willing to share? I’m grinning from ear to ear as I write this blog and take this walk down memory lane, so I’d love to hear your biking stories.

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26 responses to ““It’s like riding a bike…”

  1. I do indeed, Laurie. 🙂

    I can remember being so pleased when the stabilisers came off. “Hey, Mom, look, look, I can ride!” I guess she’d seen it all before, but she still smiled, pleased with my enthusiasm.

    Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane, Laurie. Now I’m smiling from ear to ear. 😀

  2. Jan! Hi, it’s great to hear from you! And I’m glad you remember that moment of pride and joy. I wish I did. That was one of our first endeavors toward independence, eh?

  3. Mine was blue. Me and my brother had bikes as early as we could possibly ride them because it was something my father wanted to an obsession when he was a kid. His mother died when he was 3 months old and he lived in an orphanage. He stayed there until 10 and no bikes. He said he dreamed of a bike.

    We lived in the country so like you are bikes were our lifelines for getting around a large neighborhood.

    • Ah, man, your Dad didn’t have a bike? That’s a shame. You know, I wonder if it’s like that today for some kids. I see so many bikes for sale at garage sales, I’m thinking we should be donating them to needy kids. Not something I can organize at the time. My plate’s a little full. But it might be a nice Springtime thing to do one of these years.
      Yes, bikes were our lifelines in the city, too. It’s amazing what we were allowed to do, where we were allowed to go, considering life these days. We grew up in an different world, eh?

      • You know I was thinking about how different the world is today as I wrote the comment. Me and later my kids were always in a group when they were out and about. So guess in that way it would still be safe. Just not as safe.

  4. Groups are good, especially these days. Gosh, I remember so many bike rides. That pool I mentioned was about 2 miles away, across a very busy street. But we were allowed to go without adult supervision. That part was a whole ‘nother world.

  5. Wow talk about a trip down memory lane! My bff in the neighborhood was a year older than me & her folks bought hera very fancy green & white Schwinn. She was afraid to even try riding it but not me. After a few attempts (and falls) I had it mastered. Patty would hop on the back of her bike and away we’d go. Finally one Spring day of the 3rd grade I came home from school and there was a bike, painted red and black and from the Goodwill. But it was mine, all mine, After completing the 4th grade, the family moved to the country and my bike went with us. In the country friends lived farther away…a half a mile,maybe even a mile away. My faithful red and black Goodwill bike served me well…clear into my high school years (no I was one of those kids who did not have a car in high school). It wasn’t a fancy Schwinn like my friend Patty had….but it was MY bike and I loved it.

    • Ahhhh, I am loving this stories. Yep, still grinning over the memories. So, did anyone notice the clothespins and cards in the bike-spokes pictures? Did anyone do that to their bikes? I can STILL hear the sound that made, turning our bikes into clacking noise-makers. 🙂

  6. My first two wheeler was a Christmas present but I wasn’t happy as it was secondhand whereas my older sisters both got brand new bikes a few years previous. Mine was mauve, no stabilisers and I had to practice on my own till I got the hang of it. Then there was no stopping me. I painted it yellow, pegged playing cards to the wheels and was happy. My friends and I went everywhere on our bikes apart from to school. Both of mine were close to our house. Bikes are a right of passage, that first step to independence and recognition of growing up. However, I still have very strong affection for my first little three wheeler bike – red with a box on the back to put things in, and an extendable handle that mother would hold so I didn’t ride off. Happy days. 🙂

    • Yay, somebody else who remembers pegging playing cards to the wheels. 🙂 And major kudos to you for owning that bike (making it your own by changing the color, etc.).
      I’m loving these glimpses of the past. This has been a fun blog to chat about.

  7. My first bike was a red tricycle which I fell off of and broke my arm. I remember my beloved grandad rushing out to pick me up and whisk me off to the hospital. Later I progressed to a red bike (red’s my favourite colour) and we used to cycle for miles along the seafront feeling very grown up and independent. Happy days indeed.

    • Ouch! But I’m glad you got back ON the bike. 🙂 I fell off my tricycle when I was little and had to have stitches in my chin. Later that day, my babsitter took me to the park and I walked by the swings. Yep. A girl on a swing hit me square on the chin (accidentally). The sitter had to call Mom out of work (again) and it was back to the doctor for more/redone stiches in the same place. I’ve got the scar to prove it. Lol.

  8. Valerie J. Patterson

    My first brand new bike was a 28″ purple bike with purple handgrips. I loved to ride my bike and had no fear of stunts or jumps. The fire department had a playground and at the edge of the playground there was a massive pile of gravel they were intending to use for the parking lot. My cousin Tim and I decided to use it as a ramp to see how high we could get into the air before landing. I went first. I was determined to do it better than Tim. I hit the gravel pile, the gravel shifted, the bike launched into the air then sank heavily back into the gravel. I flew over the handlebars and the bike flew over me, dragging me back to the gravel. I had blood dripping down my legs and forearms with tons of gravel stuck to the wounds. Tim and I continued to ride around for about an hour. When I got home, my dad held me down while my mother poured bottle after bottle of hydrogen peroxide over my arms and legs. Then, my mom held me down while my dad took tweezers and pulled gravel shards from my skin. Worst evening of my young life. Best jump of my young life, too!! Thanks for asking, Laurie!!!! 😛 😛

  9. OMGosh, this is the best story yet. (Sorry, Tricia, but I’m thinking an evening of gravel-picking with tweezers may trump a broken arm). I can completely understand it being the worst AND the best. Thanks for sharing, Valerie!

    • Good grief Val, you somehow didn’t give me this impression of you and now I am impressed. You Go.

      • Valerie J. Patterson

        LOL, Lavada! A lot of people who know me as an adult can’t seem to see the tomboy inside of me as a child! There’s no way today I would ever sit still for tweezers picking gravel out of my skin! 😛

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      The glory days of youth, eh! As I grew up, I became less enchanted with reckless endangerment. However, my cousin Tim could talk me into just about anything. I was born Feb 1 and he was born Feb 2. We were thick as thieves as children. As adults, he still holds a very, very dear spot in my heart. I hadn’t thought of that bike ride in years, but your post Laurie brought it all back like it was yesterday! My mom and dad were so adept at cleaning wounds, I have only a squiggly thin scar on one knee to show for my effort. 😛 😛

  10. I’m not sure I have any biking stories to share, Laurie. The only one that comes to mind is the hard work it took to ride my bike up the hill to where my “next-door” neighbor friend lived. UGH Whereas your “horse” was your bike, my “horse” was my horse. The difference between growing up in the city vs. the country, huh? 🙂

  11. loved, loved, loved my bike. It gave me so much joy as a kid. I was all over the place on that sucker! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. As to a bike story, one time I was riding with my sister and friend and skidded around a curve and fell. Both of them ran over my inner arm. I got up and rode home with the arm against my chest and when I got off the bike, I thought my mom would faint since the arm was hanging at a crazy angle. Had to go to the hospital but since it was the elbow, they basically put in me in a sling that was tied to my body to hold the arm still. The tire treads markings lasted for a couple of weeks.

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