Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sans Training Wheels - II

While we're on the subject of my bicycle, I would like to write a bit of an ode, since it has now been my companion for almost ten years.

To my bicycle:

I think we both remember that one spring day in 7th grade, that day I confidently made the trip to the bicycle store with my parents. After test-driving several different models I finally decided upon a black hybrid Specialized bicycle. You had an adjustable seat, thick air-filled tires, and amazingly awesome grip shifters. You glided effortlessly across the pavement. Each stride with my feet sent us sailing down the street, together. I descended hills like a breeze and could climb them again almost as easily. I was so pleased, so proud to be seen with you, and I imagine you felt the same about me.

However, I don't think you remember what life was like before I found you. With six of us kids under one roof and my mother possessing [u]naturally frugal tendencies, we never had new bicycles. As I recall, my first bike ever was a hand-me-down that my dad fixed up and spray-painted magenta at my request. That hot-pink beast was so old that it had solid rubber wheels instead of the typical pneumatic tires one usually sees. Likewise, it had a metal cover over the chain mechanism so I wouldn't scrape my little calves and a hole at the end of each handle where the previous owner had plucked the plastic streamers. I fell off that bicycle often, but each time I climbed back up and eventually learned to balance on my own.

I loved my bikes. Each one slightly bigger than the previous, procured from a family friend or "roadside recycling." I loved the thrill of pedaling full speed down the hill in front of my parents' house. But I dreamed of the day I would have a REAL bicycle with handle breaks and gears. Yes. Gears. Or at least gear changers. At the time I didn't really understand the purpose of these integral bicycle components, but I assumed they had something to do with that sophisticated clicking noise that the bikes of more mature people made (now that I am older and wiser, of course, I realize that the clicking comes from the ratchet in the rear wheel, not the gears at all). But that sound is still just as lovely --- if not lovelier, with you --- as we soar down hills.

Anyways, as soon as I was old enough, I started babysitting with vigor (although why parents trusted their precious children to my eleven-year-old care is a bit baffling... and probably a whole other story). I saved all of my earnings and... well you know the rest.

But today, as we were riding back to my apartment from the Student Union, I realized that the years have not been so kind to you. Yes it is possible I may have mistreated you a bit. Okay, let's admit it, you are in pretty crappy shape. The chain grinds and clatters against the gears, and your paint is chipping in many locations. The rubber on your grip shifters is beginning to tear. And your seat has seen better days, mainly due to the befuddled neighborhood squirrels who have an appetite for synthetic leather and worn yellow foam cushion.

But, to be honest, you do the trick. I don't race; I don't try to maneuver over boulders and roots on mountain trails. I take you to class or the train station or occasionally to make the trek up the hill to the supermarket. I don't need any other bike than you. And through it all, you have been faithful, loyal, dependable. I couldn't ask for anything more. I love you, bicycle!

Sincerely,

Katie


Here you are, in all your glory:




5 comments:

Beth said...

Riding, riding on my bike
is the kind of thing that I really like
on the kind of days others go inside
I get on my bike and ride

I remember years ago when I was very small
a three wheeled bike all blue and red
I wanted most of all.
On the pedals wooden blocks
until my feet could reach
I'd ring the bell and beep the horn
'cause I had one of each

Then a two-wheeled three-speed handbrake bike I saw
I couldn't wait until I could get one
I knew that once I started it would always be the very very best way to have fun
On my two-wheeled three-speed handbrake bike I would
be careful when I rode across the street

Some day a racing bike
Some day for me
Ten speeds a sturdy frame
Fast and free
Out on the open road
Riding is fine
Ten speeds a racing bike
Mine, all mine.


uh, there are some gaps in my memory...help me out? That's all I've got.

The Dancing Newt said...

I think that's about it. Oh, except in the second to last line of "Racing Bike" it is someday, a racing bike not ten speeds, a racing bike.

Ah, the days of Mrs. Tassone! I think she's still teaching at WB, no?

Beth said...

Crasper, here's my blag: http://unserendipity.livejournal.com/

<3 Spinchy.

Alternatively:
Spinchy, here's my blag:
http://unserendipity.livejournal.com/

<3 Crasper

The Dancing Newt said...

This is a joke? I cannot tell...

lakkin said...

WB like Winnbrooke elementary? I went here years ago. I graduated in 2002. I went to WB for K-3rd Grades before moving to Cape Cod. I've had this song stuck in my head for years from that music class and I just got a new bike the otherday and this song played in my head. I tried to find out where it was from or where it originated and I found this post.