I think I had three two-wheeled bikes over my childhood. The first one was my least memorable. It was painted a rusty color and had a triangle-shaped kickstand on the back wheel. I disliked this bike from the day it arrived and I begged mom and dad for a new bike. The tires kept going flat and it was very hard to steer.
My second bike was painted green, blue, and white. I remember that it was much easier to ride and control. I loved the feeling of freedom my bike gave me. Exploring the neighborhood, with the wind in my hair, I felt free.
One day, on Carroll Street, the city workers laid new gravel to cover up road work that had been done. I didn’t see it until it was too late. My bike started to slide and the left handlebar came back and hit me in the ribs. I lay on the tree border groaning in pain. It took me a while to recover and head for home.
I didn’t go into detail with mom because I was afraid she wouldn’t let me go off on my own if she knew. It took a good six months before my ribs felt somewhat normal.
The bike I remember the best was a bicycle built for two that dad bought for Sandy and I to share. We used to go out touring the neighborhoods, especially at dusk. We loved to look in windows and see how people decorated and arranged their rooms. Sandy often insisted on having the back seat so she could look and not have to pay attention to driving.
After Sandy got married, we would still go for our evening rides. We would laugh and share ideas with each other. I would drop her off at her house and then head for home. People would often tease me about having lost my passenger.
One night it was getting dark fast. I had my head down and was peddling as fast as I could. Suddenly there was an obstacle in front of me and I couldn’t stop. I hit the back of Mr. Fairhead’s fishing boat. He had it propped up to drain and the impact threw it out into the middle of the road.
The Fairheads both came running when they heard the crash. I wasn’t hurt, but the front wheel of our tandem bike didn’t look good. Gratefully the boat was sturdy and didn’t show any damage.
I walked my beat-up bike home. Dad was not happy and I felt very guilty. The moral of the story is to keep your head up and look where you are going. Fortunately, the bike could be repaired and my sister and I continued to enjoy our evening rides, more safely and with no further mishaps.
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