Friday, May 30, 2008

The Bicycle Queen

(with thanks to Cari of our favorite book of the year)

When the Impling was one year old, we didn't strap her on the back of our bikes. For one, we have no place to store bikes. For another, the idea of peddling around the outskirts of Boston on a bike with a toddler attached filled me with terror. So no bikes.

When the Impling turned two, she was big enough for the tough little trikes we saw tooling around the playground, but truth be told, the Impling was more interested, at that point, in climbing up the ratlines of the play fort, and pretending to be a dread pirate. Also, we still had the stroller hogging up space in our apartment. So the whole trike thing...never happened.

Then, the Impling turned three. We go to the library every Wednesday, and on one of our visits, the Impling picked out what became one of her favorite books ever. Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen. This was the sign. The Impling was ready.

Do you remember your first bike? Mine was a wonderful royal blue, just my size. We had a huge sloping backyard perfect for coasting. After about an hour of wobbling around with the training wheels, my older brother helped me take them off. Away I went, down the gentle hill, with soft landings when I didn't quite make it. A far cry from my brother's falls on the coral path at my Grandparent's place in the Keys.

But parts of these experiences were lost. When we brought the Impling to International Bike to look around, it all came back. The excitement of the new...the strange; of being astride a beast, of sorts, with it's own ideas of how it would move; of climbing up, and down, poking prodding, touching turning the different parts; of spinning the pedals; of struggling with those pedals, trying to get them up over the top to push them down and forward; of the sudden jerking stops when I pushed backwards and discovered how to brake; of looking down at my feet going in circles, forgetting that I actually had to look where I was going. It was a microcosm of life.

But once you learn, you never forget. It may be years in between rides, but you'll always find your balance again, and go flying off down the road, off to adventure. With a sore backside come morning, but hey, the more you ride, the less it hurts.

Crossposted at NE Mamas


Carolie said...

Thank you for memories of my own bicycles...first a "Robin Hood," an ancient, used blue bike that my mother got me at a yard sale. It was FAR too big for me, and I crashed it more often than not. but it was made in Nottingham, England, and I thought it was the cooooolest bike in the world. Before the Robin Hood, I had a shiny blue bicycle, with silver and blue handlebar streamers and a silver glitter banana seat (why yes, it was in the 70s, how did you know?) Wow...what memories are boiling up! Thank you!

And oh MY...the Impling looks SO GROWN UP!

carrie said...

That is awesome. Katie spent a fair amount of time on her big girl bike this past weekend too!

My first real one was baby blue with a basket and a banana seat. Oh, how I loved that bike!

Jozet at Halushki said...

That's a great description of getting on a bike for the first time, and a fabulous photo!

Here we go! Biking begins!

Rock the Cradle said...

Carolie: Love your bike's name. And I can't believe how much she's grown either.

Carrie: those banana seats, man. The coolest of the cool. Wish I'd had one.

Jozet: Thanks! and Welcome!