A baby boomer recalls her biking experiences: both good and bad!


My husband and I riding bikes on vacation!

My husband and I riding bikes on vacation!

My first bike was blue , and I remember my dad teaching me to ride it. I have a vague memory of him running with me and pushing the back of the bike. I was about six. Suddenly, I turned my head to look at him and I realized I was riding it all by myself. The first taste of real freedom. I can still see him standing there with a satisfied smile on his face. Then he said, “see, I knew you could do it!”

I had a disaster with a bike when I was 10.  My mother told me, “don’t leave the house today because we’re going to Cedar Point.” (An amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio). I didn’t listen. As soon as she left for work, I rode  an old clunky leftover bike to the neighborhood pool. On the way home, I decided to carry all my friend’s swimming bags on my handlebars.

Disaster struck. The swimming bags, filled with towels, flip-flops and floats,  were too heavy. I stood up on the bike,  fell off the bike and onto the sidewalk. I spent the evening getting a  plaster of paris cast on my broken ankle.  My mother was more than a little annoyed with me.   She did slightly warm up when the doctor was putting that clunky soon-to-be- smelly awful thing on my leg. She wasn’t the only one who was upset with me. My two older sisters were not happy.  My father was the only one who displayed any sympathy toward me.

I hadn’t learned my lesson

No disasters —at least on a bike—until I was 19.  My roommate and I decided to go for a ride on the graveled alley by our apartment. I decided to stand up, and guess what? That’s right. I fell over again. This time I landed right on my chin. It smarted when I hit the gravel. Ouch!

Being the trusting naive girls that we were, my friend and I hitchhiked to the University’s hospital ER.  First we ran in the apartment to grab a towel. My chin and lower face was profusely bleeding and it frightened me.

Strangely enough, the  two clean-cut looking guys who offered us a ride also provided us with mixed drinks. They had a little set up with a decanter and some fancy drink glasses. I held a towel to my chin with one hand,  and drank the welcome drink with my other. By that time, I was  really worried about what I’d done to my face.

When I got to the hospital, they took me right away. I inadvertently caught my reflection in the doctor’s glasses while he was sewing me up. I watched as the dimple in my chin disappeared.  It saddened me because I was the only one of the children in my family to inherit my dad’s dimple  and I was quite fond of it. Fortunately the rest of my face was unharmed.

I still ride a bike

After all those problems, I still ride a bike. I’ve finally learned to be careful.  I bought a brand new one several years ago, and named it “Freedom.” I’ve experienced a lot of joy riding her around town.  I’m really glad riding bikes is now acceptable for mature adults. At one time this wasn’t a cool thing to do. (That tells you how old I really am).  It’s fun and great exercise.

My daughter wins a bike

Naturally, all parents want their kids to ride a bike on their own. It’s a proud moment, but it’s the beginning of the end. You suddenly realize that one day they will be leaving you.

I proudly remember when my determined little daughter won a bike in a contest. She had to ride a certain amount of miles in the local park to get a new bike. I was quite surprised when someone rang the doorbell and awarded her a shiny red brand new bike. It didn’t surprise her at all.

The Harmony Project

Now, another one of my links with bikes is the Harmony project, a philanthropic organization. One of the things we do is raise money and give bikes to foster kids.  I’m sure they will get a lot joy from their bikes. I just wish I could see all their faces when they get their bikes on Christmas morning.  You can still contribute to this worthwhile project. So far, we’ve bought them 150 brand new bikes.

I want to thank all the people who contributed yesterday to our one day event on 12/12/12/ . It’s an example of what people can really do when they want to change things!

If you want to know more about us, check out our page at http://www.harmonyproject.com/bikes

If you have a story about your bike, or want to tell me about your first one, please comment!

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2 thoughts on “A baby boomer recalls her biking experiences: both good and bad!

  1. I must say I don’t exactly recall the stories as you have explained them about carrying your friends’ beach towels causing you to fall off your bike, or even stranger, the cocktails you imbibed on the way to the emergency room when you fell on your chin. I’ve finally forgiven you for missing the trip to Cedar Point (it only took 50+ years) and agree there’s nothing more exciting than receiving your first bike. Congratulations to you and the Harmony Project for your gifts to those kids.
    Love,
    Eileen

    • Yep, that’s what happened all right! And I was in front of the Luxembourg house too. Yes,taking a drink before getting my chin sewed up was really odd. I’m lucky I wasn’t murdered. I’m so glad you finally forgive me!

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