Sunday, April 5, 2015

We Were Once All Bike Commuter: Chapter One

Once upon a time there was a boy.  A boy who was just old enough to ride a bike, albeit with training wheels. He pedaled hard and had fun.  His riding talents improved as he grew.  He rode for many years and this is his story.

At the age of four young Lad stepped up on his new two wheeler while his dad held one hand on the handle bar and the other upon the rear of the saddle.  Lad pedaled.  He was nervous looking to his dad hoping to find security and said, "Don't let go."

His dad reassured him saying confidently, "Just keep pedaling and balance yourself.  You can do it."

Laddie hung on tight.  He smiled as his legs pumped up and down.  The bike picked up speed.  He wobbled a few times as his dad let go of the handle bar, but Lad didn't fall over.  He never hit the pavement because he knew his dad was still running beside him, holding on to the saddle.  Lad was safe.  His confidence grew and his balance stabilized the more he pedaled.

Within an hour, Laddie achieved freedom.  He didn't realize it, but his dad had let him go.  Laddie was riding alone.

His dad cried out, "Keep going, son.  Your doing great.  Its all you."

That's when Laddie discovered he lost his safety net.  He swerved right.  He swerved left.  Panic started to creep into his head, but he remembered to pedal, just as his dad had instructed him.  he pedaled and stayed on two wheels.  He did not fall.  He screamed out with joy, "I'm riding.  I did it."

His dad caught up to him, and breathing heavy, he said, "Push back on the pedals to stop."

It worked. Laddie stopped after pushing on the pedals in reverse and his dad grabbed hold of the saddle and congratulated the youngster.

"You did awesome."

That was how it all started.  It started that way for most of us.  Riding a bicycle was the beginning of our journey toward independence.  We could ride anywhere.  Our first rides were to our friends homes.  Then together, with our best friends, we rode to the five and dime, to the park, or just around the neighborhood.

Laddie had a similar experience, he immediately rode his bike to his buddy's house.  Jake could ride a two wheeler and their journey started riding up and down their block for a few weeks.  They soon desired to ride around the block; a few times they even rode to the community park to play on the monkey bars and the swings.  Riding a bicycle was fun, and it also gave them a way to travel to other places without asking for a ride or depending on their parents, however.  Laddie and Jake did ask for permission to ride throughout the neighborhood; their parents knew where they were going, and Laddie and Jake always wore their helmets.

Oh, the helmet.  These two fellas loved their helmets.  The helmet was for safety, but for these two boys, the helmet was an expression of who they were.  Laddie wore a bright red helmet.  It was a traditional bike helmet with sleek lines and small openings for air to flow through to keep his head cool, but he added a few stickers and a small pin that read "Keep on Pedaling" that remained pinned to his chin strap for several years.

Jake wore a skater helmet that his older brother had worn while skateboarding and it had well placed scratches and small cuts on it from Jake's brothers small falls and spills while doing tricks at the skate park.  Jake thought it was cool.  He painted it electric blue and added a few stickers, too.  Jake had one sticker on the lower portion of the back of the helmet that read, "Just roll'n."

From training wheels, to dad holding on to the back of his saddle, Lad now could ride to see his friends and ride to play at the park.  What adventures could he plan next?  Or would a bike adventure find him?

Til then,  I will see you on the road.

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