June 02 2004

[b]Lines from Lucy [/b]

Posted by Kim
Bike ride down memory lane
by Lucy Halverson

Covered in cobwebs and nearly four years worth of dust, the 12-speed bike my son longed for when he was 12, but has now forgotten, leaned against the wall of the shed. Every spring when I go to the storage shed to retrieve the garden hoses, the lawn chairs and flower pots placed there in the fall I see the bike.
This spring as I was hauling items out, clearing a path to the back of the shed where the bike leans, I decided to bring it out into the spring sunshine, just to check its condition. Sitting in the shed untouched since my son turned 14 and discovered the joys of driving 4-wheel vehicles, the bike was in need of some maintenance. With two flat tires, brakes and chains as dry as a South Dakota pasture on a hot August day, and so much dust and cobwebs covering every surface that distinguishing the color of the bike proved difficult, I knew I needed the assistance of a bike mechanic. Thanks to my husband Kims efforts he soon had it in good working condition again.

It may be true that once you learn how to ride a bike you never forget but after a 4 to 5 year hiatus from riding one I found out it does take some time to acclimate yourself to riding one again.

Once the repairs were completed, I cautiously mounted the bike. I tried to avoid any missteps that may send me sprawling across the bar. It may have been awhile since I last rode but I do remember what its like to accidentally come down on that bar. I warily applied pressure to the pedals and sent the bike into motion. Turning out of the driveway onto the gravel road that runs in front of my house I experimented shifting gears until I found a comfortable one. Soon I was sailing down the road, with the wind blowing through my hair, and feeling like a kid again.

Growing up the sixth child in a family of seven, my first bike wasnt a fancy 12-speed bike with hand brakes. It was just a plain old hand me down bike that I was happy to have and rode all summer long, until that fateful day that I made an error in parking. In a rush to dismount I left it parked (laying on the ground) behind my older brothers car. Anyone who has grown up in a big family can guess what happened to my bike when my brother, probably also in a rush to head to town on a Saturday night, jumped into his car and backed out of the driveway.

My bike riding days came to an abrupt halt with the collision of the bike and car. But, being a resourceful student of auto body school, my brother repaired and replaced parts until he had the bike back in working order and I was once again riding up and down the gravel road. It wasnt long after when I started saving my money in anticipation of the ultimate bike of the 60s; the spider bike. With a banana seat and tall handlebars with multi-colored plastic streamers hanging from them, it was the coolest bike of the times.

Riding my sons bike this spring has brought back many memories of those carefree summer days I enjoyed as a kid. Now that Ive blown the dust off it and its now parked in the front of the shed, Im looking forward to riding it on a regular basis this summer. I wonder if my son would care if I added colored plastic streamers to the handlebars.

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