I love riding my bike. I can’t help but start smiling the minute my foot leaves the ground and the peddling starts. The smiling continues as I ride on down the road grinning like an idiot nearly the whole time. It has always been that way.
I remember learning to ride on an old red bike ... the same red bike that some of my older cousins learned to ride on. It was a kind of tradition for us to pass that bike along through the family to the next kid to learn to ride on. By the time I got my feet on the peddles it was well loved, scratched, bent, and rather rusty from it’s time in the salt air on the coast. It seems I rode that old rusty thing all over the neighborhood. What liberation for a kid!
(Hmm.. that's quite an outfit. Can't exactly see Lance in that one...)
Thinking back now I can clearly remember riding that old red bike across from our house on Grant Street. I recall that ‘scene’ in particular because a small piece of the metal chain guard was bent out and it cut my leg as I was riding. I can still see it in my minds eye. I felt the slice and looked down at the cut on my leg as I was riding. It was bleeding already... but not bleeding so bad that I needed to stop. I was pretty sure it didn't need my mother's attention, and I wanted to keep riding... so I just kept on pedaling. Pedaling and smiling.
My next step up from that bike was when I got my very own turquoise blue, flowered banana seat bike.
Santa Claus brought it when I was in 1st grade I think. I was so jazzed I could not wait to ride it across the street to show my friend Timmy Poindexter. Timmy and I would join up with a couple of other school friends and we would ride to the school and make jumps out of the playground mats. (This was the age of Evel Knieval just for a time reference.) Apparently, as it turns out our ramp was not properly constructed. We had no idea at the time... it looked good to us. So I decided to be the first to give it a shot. Looking back now I realize why my friends decided to let me try it first. I backed up my bike the appropriate distance according to our precise geometric mathematical algebraic configurations and then I took off as fast as I could pedal towards the ramp. (FYI... it was not really a ramp it was more like a pile of rubber mats.) Anyway... the result was very Evel Knieval-like. I hit the ramp with my bike, and my bike stopped immediately. I, however, continued on through the handlebars, over the “ramp” and onto the asphalt. *Splat.*
A few years later, I also once again followed along my cousins lead.
I started to ride a unicycle.
A unicycle is a lot more work than a regular bike. Much more stringent exercise because of the balance you are having to maintain in every direction, all with legs and body, nothing to hang on to. It was a lot of fun, but hard work. I was still smiling as I rode down the road, but riding a unicycle gets you much more attention than I was used to or wanted being a pre-teen... it was just people wanting to look but I was already feeling pretty dorky so I rode it less and less. Then I got into middle school and graduated to a red 10 speed. Now THAT was very cool and I rode that sucker all over the city!
As it turns out David also was quite a bike rider as a kid. Much better at ramps and jumping than I ever was. David... being David... put on bike shows and offered to jump his bike over the top of the neighborhood kids... for a small fee of course.
He even had a real jump he had built with his stage-name
“Dare Devil Dave”
painted on the side.
He made programs, and also offered refreshments for the show...
again all for a small fee.
As an adult, he rode a mountain bike for awhile, careening crazily down hills and mountains crashing and breaking bodily parts more than once. I don’t think he sold tickets for those shows, but I will have to ask him. Maybe he should have... X-GAMES featuring Dare Devil Dave... the later years.
Anyway, we both have loved our various bikes over the years, and now we have new ones. They were delivered by UPS in a couple of boxes from Amazon.com a few days before we left Michigan. We tossed them in the back of the truck and rode around with them tied back there for a few states until we got to South Carolina. David put them together while we were at Huntington Beach State Park. The bikes have 7 speeds and were not expensive or fancy... we just wanted beach cruisers really but thought that a few gears would be helpful now and then. It was great, they had stickers on the pedals for the right and left foot. Good thing I suppose. Once assembled we hopped on and rode around the camp to that Atalaya house and on some of the Huntington Beach State Park’s bike paths.
I am sorry to say that at first David was kind of disappointed. He complained he did not have much “play” with his new ride. He pulled, and scooted, bounced, and then sighed. He said he could not flip the end out and splash me with water or jump it up in the front over rocks and curbs and things. I paused and said, “oh...ok. Well... I am not quite sure why you want to do that.” He laughed and said he didn’t really know either actually. We were silent awhile, pedaling along. I looked at him... then down at myself... and then back at him.
I then announced, “We have old people bikes!” We laughed... reached out... and held hands while we pedaled along a few more rotations. Then we grabbed hold of our handle bars and raced past the alligator swamp to the end of the road.
P.S. You may wonder what Queen Delta does while we ride along... Sometimes we go alone and leave her in her bed in the trailer. But being a good strong girl she has learned a new trick... and it turns out she loves it: