This morning I was sitting, reading, in the living room, and I heard hollering and laughter outside. I peeked out the front window, and across the street was a family, the mother riding slowly along the edge of the road on a mountain bike, the father trotting along the sidewalk, Timmy’s in one hand, and the other steadying the seat of his daughter’s bike. The bike was pink and white, with training wheels and handlebar streamers. The little girl was five or six and blonde, dressed in pink running shoes, pink and white striped tights, a denim skirt, pink jacket, and pink helmet. She was pedaling like the wind (even though they were going slightly downhill). It was cute to watch. A minute later I heard shouts, and peeked out the window again, and there she was, just around the corner, riding on her own from one parent to the other. Yay!
It made me smile, given that I was in the living room waiting for Andrew to arrive to pick me up to take a rail trail ride with him and his parents. I’m a quarter century older, but not all that much more proficient on a bike (to which the bruises, scratches, and scrapes on my legs currently attest). That little girl also has a leg up on me. Riding a bike was one of those right of passage things I never got around to when most people seem to do them (along with learning to tell time, learning to drive stick, and other such handy things).
By the time I learned I was around eight, and too big for anything with training wheels, really. So I learned on a borrowed green banana-seater with my brother complaining at me (exactly how he’s imparted everything useful that he’s ever taught me). And I learned, much as I learned to drive, because someone else decided that no, it wasn’t perfectly okay for me to go around lalala not knowing how to do it, not because I felt any pressing need to add the skill to my repertoire.