Growing up my bike was my best friend. I rode my bike for literally miles and miles. I remember when I was 11 my Dad coming home from work one night and telling me to look in the back of our blue station wagon. Lying there was a the most beautiful shiny green bike I had ever seen. It had three speeds! There were brakes right on the handlebars! I was in love. Dad had bought it from a guy at work. I think I was on that bike before Dad had even finished pulling it out of the car. I was so proud of my new bike, well as new as we could afford. The next day I had a bike race with the boys from down the road. I knew that with my new bike I could beat them all. I could ride like lightening on my new green bike, I even named it "The Green Machine". The race was on, I was way in front, I knew that bike could ride like lightening. I don't know why I did it, but I hit my brakes half way down the freshly graveled rode on the hill. I flew like a bird over the top of my handlebars and skidded to a halt on my face. I gingerly picked myself up and tenderly walked what felt like miles and miles up the road, pulling my bike. As I walked up to the house I saw my Dad and told him that I thought I'd broken my nose. He took one look at me and informed me "I think that you have broken more than that." My right hand was only being held together with my skin. I had broken all of the bones in my wrist. I spent the next few weeks covered in bandages (I looked like a mummy) I had taken the skin off of most of my body with the skid. Gravel burn really smarts. I also spent the first part of my summer in a cast. "The Green Machine" and I were still in love, even though he had bucked me. I fell off that bike a lot, mainly because I have never really had the best coordination.
I had not ridden a bike since I was 17 years old. I don't really know why, I just didn't. For the last 17 years I have talked about wanting a bike, but things have always come up. The kids needed new bikes, someone always needed something, and I did not get a bike. Christopher taught all the kids to ride. He runs along side them holding them. When they master riding he rides his bike with them. I never felt any jealousy that he had a bike and I didn't. I always talked about wanting one, but never followed through, letting excuses be my guide. I guess I forgot how much fun it was to ride a bike, and remembered how much it hurt to fall off a bike.
Last Friday found Christopher with the day off work. We have been wanting to go to Watertown, New York for some time now and do some cross border shopping, but just have not found the time. When he had the day off and all of the kids were in school, and the workers were no longer at the house, it seemed like a great time to be spontaneous. "Spontaneous" is a word that we generally do not recognize, but we went for it on Friday.
When we were in Walmart there, we just happened to walk past their bikes. The mauve Huffy Bike yelled out my name. It was so pretty, I could see myself riding it. That was my bike!!! I mentioned to Christopher how pretty that bike was. It had a cute little basket in the front, and a cup holder and best of all shock absorbers under the seat. When he asked if I would like to buy that bike I did my dutiful "Can we afford to buy me a new bike?" His response was "No, no we can't, but we're gong to."
So we put the van seat down and loaded in my brand new bike. I was proud to pay the duty on my brand new Huffy bike. I wanted to ask the border control officer if he liked my new bike, but thought better of it (Christopher sweats pretty hard when we go across the border).
At the ripe old age of 41, this Huffy bike was my very first brand new bike. I never really felt done out not having a new bike. All of my friends growing up were poor too and none of us had new bikes. But there is something to be said for being the very first person to own this bike. I really like that feeling. We arrived home from Watertown at 9:30 p.m.. I immediately took my new bike out of the back and wanted to ride it. I ran into the house to see if the kids were still up (Mom and Dad picked them up from school for us), they were. Everyone all came outside to see my maiden voyage. The girls were oooooowing and ahhhhhhing over my pretty bike. I felt a twinge of guilt because Grace and Rowan are currently sharing a bike. Grace kept telling me how much she like my new bike. I told her that we could share my new bike. She was a happy little girl.
My maiden voyage was met with much fanfare, and a lot of wobbling. The girls were gasping and groaning as I nearly fell more than a few times. They say that you never forget how to ride a bike, but that's not 100% true. I remembered the basics, but remembering how to balance is another thing. I raced up the school driveway in the dark. I had forgotten how good it felt to have the wind blowing my hair. I had forgotten how good it felt to ride a bike. I will not be winning the Tour De France anytime in the near or foreseeable future, but I am really enjoying my brand new pretty bike. The best part about my new bike was yesterday afternoon Riley and I went for a bike ride. She was so excited to go bike riding with her Mom. Why did I wait so long?