Monday, June 11, 2012

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

Edie has no interest in learning how to ride her bike.  We took her training wheels off to sort of force the issue, but she has no desire to learn how to ride.  She has a pink Ariel scooter that she is content to scoot around the 'hood with, but it has no speed man.  This frustrates me to no end as my childhood would have been positively Dickensian without my two wheels.   As early as I can remember, I loved me a good bike ride.  From riding in the moulded deathtrap bucket on the back of my Dad's euro bike* to ditching my training wheels at a young age, my bike brought me from A to B in my small town, particularly important when parents didn't chauffeur us from A to B on a daily basis.

Edie's lack of interest in the velo arts has got me thinking about my own history with bike riding.   I remember the initial stress over whether you were going to get a boy bike or a girl bike.  As a girl, the femininity of the girl bike appealed to me, but the boy bar forced you to swing your leg off the bike when disembarking that made you look really, really cool.  If your parents were frugal (Scottish) you usually ended up with a bike at 6 years old that would last you until you were 19 years old.  This just reinforced a good sense of balance.   Accessories at a young age were most important.  A bell to annoy the fuck out of everyone was essential.  (Ding ding I'm here!  Ding ding I'm coming!  Ding ding I'm waiting for you!  Ding ding let's go!  Ding ding my bell is louder than yours!  etc etc).  The basket was also essential.  I went through a few of them,  from the aesthetically pleasing faux-white wicker ones to a balls out unfinished metal one (ugly, but it's the one that lasted for ever).  My basket was used for the transport of teddy bears, dolls and barbies from point A to point B.  Insisting they could not be trusted at home in my absence, my charges  were tenderly shoved and crammed into the basket, along with a jar of worms, caterpillars and ants whom I insisted co-habitate with a few blades of grass to sustain them.  As for a helmet, well, helmets were simply not part of the uniform back then - though if they were I imagine that they would be an awesome 1970's creations of steel, asbestos with awesome galactic paint jobs as well as lacking chin straps to keep them on.

Fun times I enjoyed on my bicycle:

1) A game called Ambulance Chaser.  Actually, it could have been Firetruck Chaser or Cop Car chaser.  As I mentioned, it was a small town and we were pretty flexible with what qualified for excitement.  In a nutshell, this game involved upon hearing a siren, seeking it out and then biking like a bat out of hell to follow the emergency vehicle to its destination.  The purpose of this game?  To "help" the cop/fireman/paramedic.  Yup, at the tender age of approx. 7, we honestly though we could provide assistance to an emergency situation.  I like to imagine myself in my Barbapapa t-shirt, Flintstone flip flops and Jordache jeans barking orders at civilians as the fire crew employed the jaws of life on a poor victim.  In reality, the only real contact we ever had with an emergency worker was one poor cop who actually stopped mid-chase, pulled over and asked us if we knew how stupid we were for chasing cop cars and that we would end up run over.   He squealed off, and, well being 7 and stupid, we tore out of there and followed him.  Surely he didn't mean it?

2) Biking to my boyfriends house.  I was only about 12, but we were at the crucial hand holding stage and I Just Had to See Him.  He lived pretty far away, on the "busy street".  I set out to see him that day.   I always had it in my mind that I should bike against the traffic because I always liked to see what was coming at me (I don't like to be sneaked up on).  I was pulled over that day by the cops, the pigs, the boys in blue, the fuzzzzzzzzzz.  They didn't like me riding on the wrong side of the road.  Think I obediently crossed the road and did what I was told?  Nope.  I explained my reasoning and they basically told me my reasoning sucked.  So I did cross the road - until they were out of site, then I crossed back again to my side, the right side.  I fought the law.  Remember this was the one busy street?  Well, they inevitably turned around to come back and they angrily pulled me over again.  The law won.  I got into a lot of trouble and there was noooooo hand holding that day.

3) Okay, this one is embarrassing.  I called this game Wedding (can you sense the desperation?)    Because of the nature of the game and my victim, I am guessing that I was as old as 11 when I played it.  I need to add here that there were a few summer days one year that I did not have a whole lot of friends.  This would have been the summer when my teeth were too big for head, my hair resembled a jaunty pyramid, acne had claimed my face, my legs were long skinny and dangly and I had a bit of belly that I had not yet grown into (thus the picture of the wasp - a pretty good likeness).  Anyhoooo, that was the summer of Rob Lowe.  I was in love with him and, well, let's make this fast.   I-would-tie-tin-cans-to-my-bike-and-bows-and-ribbons-and-pretend-that-Rob-and-I-were-riding-a-tandem-bike-together.  We-were-just-married-and-riding-off-into-the-sunset-to-our-honeymoon-destination(Tahitii if you must know).  

Shut up.

Okay, after that last point all fun memories are temporarily wiped from my memory.  I wish I could say it stopped there but I'm pretty sure the following year my marriage to Rob Lowe was annulled and Michael Schoeffling replaced his spot on my imaginary tandem bike.  That would have put me a 12 years old.  I have to go now.

All this to say I just want Edie to embrace her damn bike!

*(this bike was amazing - turquoise in colour, mirrors jutting out everywhere - it was like a non-motorized mod bike.  My Dad is from Scotland, so was this bike I think - street cred from early on.)


Little Red Hen said...

I had to ride my mother's red bike from the '50s with the wire basket (she's Scottish too) until I was 13 when I got a 3-speed brown Raleigh that I thought was the cat's arse but I couldn't ride to school because my mother thought it would get stolen. So bikes have never been a big whoop to me.

Rob said...

Maybe she would like a strider?

It's a good transition between scooters and bikes.


Rob said...

of course, I hove no idea if it's age appropriate!

Rob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Soon she'll be on her boyfriend's Vespa and the generation gap will have come full-circle... ;-)

- Your friendly neighbourhood curator.

PS: I'd be happy to get her interested in motorcycles, too.