My mom recently found a Western Flyer bicycle at a thrift store. She wanted to use it as a yard decoration and put flowers in the basket, but upon seeing it I felt that I had to intervene. I love riding a bike, and it’s been a while since I have.
Every time I ride a bicycle, I’m reminded of all the fun times I had in my younger days. Me and my cousin used to ride from Mawmaw’s house to her house. I was little and not supposed to be on the road, but there was a little hill that sure was fun to coast down. And anyway it wasn’t two hundred yards from here to there. I got caught when some double exposed film somehow had an image of me riding in the road.
When we got older and were actually allowed on the road, we’d each start at our own houses on our bikes and meet in the middle. From there we’d ride to the end of the cove and back. I’d say “Car!” loudly anytime I heard somebody coming. When she moved away I’d make the ride by myself. And then I moved away, and I haven’t made the ride since.
There are a lot of other memories regarding bikes too. My brother always got me my new bikes, and always yelled at me for leaving them at the stop sign at the end of our road. Sometimes I just felt like walking home though.
One time my brother was supposed to take me to a Girl Scout meeting while my parents were at work, but he refused. I was mad as an old wet hen, as they say, and took a bike ride across the dam that’s next to the muddy pond at our house. I went coasting down the hill, faster and faster until I found myself tangled up and mangled up in barbed wire fencing. I still have the scars on my stomach.
One of the funnest days of my life was when my dad dropped me and my best friend off somewhere in Woodville with just our bikes and a stack of campaign flyers. We rode around and knocked on door after door asking people to vote for Jake. Somewhere along the way it started raining. Boy did we have fun riding all over the little town in that storm. It must not have been raining in Limrock, because Daddy never did come looking for us. We found refuge at Nita’s store and one of my brother’s friends bought us lunch. I think that my mom and my friend’s mom were none too pleased with the situation, but it really was the best day.
Yeah, there’s just something about a bike that makes for good old fashioned fun.
I got my dad to air the tires up on that old Western Flyer, and the boy lowered the seat with a wrench. I tested her out in the yard. My brother bet me I couldn’t make it three times around, but I did.
I came back the next week and took her on the road. Just from the house to the stop sign at the end of the road, not the stop sign at the end of the cove which is my old route and considerably further.
I pedaled a little, but to the stop sign it’s mostly downhill. I coasted quickly. The hot air that hit my face cooled down that faster I went. I saw a big red rat. I saw a little gray squirrel. Then I turned around to go back uphill and saw my life flash before my eyes as my legs got heavy and the breeze got hot again. I’ll admit I had to get off and push the bike a little ways. Still, it was nice to be back on the bike.
Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.