Riding a Bicycle Again For the First Time

In preparation for the middle school cross country season that begins in two months, I bought a bicycle at a garage sale for twenty bucks. It’s in great shape, as opposed to the guy who climbed on it and started pedaling. My quad muscles were yelling at me after pedaling on a slight uphill slant for like…a quarter-mile!

They say once you learn to ride a bike you’ll never forget. As I stood there looking at my new-used bike, I asked Carol questions like “How do you change gears?” and “Is this how you brake?” The seat was set for someone about six inches taller than me. It felt like I was rock climbing the first time I stepped onto it.

Now I’ve got to get a bike helmet, something we never had when I was growing up. We were reckless and dumb, running out the side door of the house, picking up the battered Schwinn that laid on its side in the yard, and jumping on like The Lone Ranger as he took a running start and jumped onto Silver. Our moment of alarmed concern was seeing that one of the baseball cards was missing, that had been clipped to the wheel frame. It made this cool flapping sound as you rode down the street. However, I cringe when I think back and ponder whether I had Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron being slapped by the spokes of my wheel. The closest thing we had to a bike helmet was our baseball cap, the bill of which we pulled down low to act as a wind shield. I’m guessing that I’ll end up spending more on a bike helmet than the bike, which, I guess I can easily say, will not be hard to do.

With the gas prices going up faster than I can pedal, I’ve got to get used to my new eco-friendly form of service.

The twenty-dollar bike I bought belonged to a young man, who I used to coach in basketball. He’s a college student now, but evidently there had been a number of bicycles stolen this past year from the campus. He had a clever idea. He put stickers all over the bike frame. It reminds me of one of those old RV’s from the 1970’s that would have stickers plastered all over the back to let people know about all the places they’d visited…and how many uncomfortable nights of sleep they had endured as they bedded down on their skinny cots. This bike is like that to the max. There are picture stickers of cast members from The Office, daisies, random pieces of tape, witty quotes, Winnie the Pooh, Lassie, and gold stars. In fact, just to disguise its awesomeness even more, the seat of the bike has black duct tape covering it.

In talking to my school athletic director, we thought that we’d get some more stickers, name a “runner of the day” after each cross country practice, and let the chosen student put another sticker somewhere on the bike. That would be our scaled-down version of “Employee of the Day” plaque that you see hanging on the wall of a fast-food restaurant to the side of the menu. Maybe our sticker could have the updated price of a gallon of gas. The font would need to be small, however, so the numbers would fit on the sticker.

Once you learn to ride a bike you never forget, but you do suddenly remember why it is you haven’t had a two-wheeler for years. My quads are like barking dogs today!

A dog, something else I haven’t had for the past four decades!

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