Here’s a picture of me as a young girl at my dad’s sisters house on Cape Cod. I’m usually the keeper of photos, however, my brother surprised me when he arrived for the Christmas holiday with a whole album of family memories in his suitcase. It was nice to see this picture and realize it may be the only photo of me as a youngster with a bike. We had some laughs about the past knowing that we still manage to get into mischief to this day.
Getting around on two wheels meant a ticket to adventure. At home my mom had a super heavy Schwinn cruiser which I could hardly keep upright. There was also a Stingray and whatever else was kicking around until we invested in better stuff. I liked being on a bike, especially the feeling of being free and getting around with speed. And I remember every kid on the block seemed to have some quirky embellishments in their wheels. Streamers and noise makers were the thing. The louder the better. I also remember my brother making a ramp so we could test our skills in the air. It’s a miracle I only broke one bone in my childhood.
My dad taught me how to ride a bike. Far back as I remember, he only had one good arm, the other he lost in an accident when he was in his mid twenties. He was nick-named Captain Hook because he had a hook on the end of his prosthesis. Fact is, having one arm never stopped him. He was successful in his career, drove his car, and could handle his boat with ease. He taught me how to stay strong under any situation. He also taught me some tricks only a one-arm person could appreciate. I don’t feel so bad about my situation when I think of what he had to deal with.
In my first year of high school I got a Raleigh 3 speed complete with fenders and generator light. If I recall, I’m pretty sure I was the only student in my ‘hood who rode that far to school. Didn’t seem to be the “in” thing to do then, but I thought it was pretty cool. Cars were not a big deal to me so I didn’t bother to get my drivers license until I was 22. Bikes always ruled the day and made me smile. Funny how some things never change.
’till the next time…
All images and text © Robin MacDonald-Foley