As a kid I distinctly remember riding my bike EVERYWHERE. I lived in a small town, and I could easily get from one end to the other (literally) in less then 10minutes ride, if that. I had a black BMX bike. Not a hint of pink on that thing anywhere, though I might have put a rainbow sticker that was intended for a car window on the seat; you know, for good measure. I rode through the dusty, dusty trails with my step brother and pack of friends. Past sage brush and rabbit brush. Past jack rabbits and horned toad lizards. On the rare occasion of high desert rain, my tires would get caked with the clay mud. This made it nearly impossible to ride, but walking was just as treacherous. Slip, sliding and gaining an inch in height with each step as the mud made my high-tops (double laced, neon pink and black with Velcro at the ankle) into platform shoes.
I remember visiting my best friend during the summer. She had a steep driveway and we would often make it even more steep by started at the top neighbor kid’s drive way- flying crazy down the incline, doubled up on the pink Huffy banana seat. And laughing wildly as we hit the pedal breaks hard and skid out just seconds before crashing into the front of the brown house.
In college, I dated a guy who was big into mountain biking. I somehow was talked into the annual “twelve inch wheel race” that would take us FLYING down a single track atop of a bike meant for a 4 year old child. If you have ever single tracked, you can just multiply that by on million when it comes to adrenaline rush. Half way down you got to shotgun a beer. My friend Lisa and I apparently were the first girls to brave this “race”. Young ladies who grew up in rural Nevada don’t really blink twice at such adventure… Our “bravery” was rewarded with awe from the bike shop guys, as well as with ample free pizza (and more beer), so we didn’t complain – even if I still have the scar on my knee from the digger I took at the starting line.
Of course, don’t tell my mom about these two wheeled shenanigans. When I was just about the same age as my daughter is now, my mom and I were in a horrible accident where the bike toppled and my 3.5 year old, uncovered head came into direct contact with the asphalt below. I don’t think my mom has been on a bicycle since my fractured skull.
Needles to say, I let the kids ride bikes. Yes they scare the crud out of me sometimes when they get soaring a little too fast down a hill, or take that turn a bit too tight. But it seems to me that bike riding is such an important part of childhood.
One of the first truly sunny days we have had since moving to Tacoma, we found ourselves along 5 mile drive in Point Defiance Park. Don’t worry, the road is closed to cars in the mornings so the kids had free reign of the pavement and had an absolute blast practicing their pedaling and balance. What could be bad when you have shiny pink streamers fluttering from your handle bars?!