Posts Tagged ‘Bike Birthday’

The photo above is from July 1990. By this time, my sister Brandi (4) has inherited my old purple bike, my brother Chris (6) is on the blue bike, and I’m 8, on the pink one.

The year was 1988, and the bike was purple with unicorns dancing up rainbows on the bars.  It was exactly as you imagine it. My mom stood beaming next to the streamer-clad handlebars, and my dad had a socket wrench in his hand and the proud and exhausted look of someone who thought that bike assembly would be much easier than it was. A Bike Birthday is one a kid never forgets.  I think that year I rode every free moment, just to get the whoosh of wind through my hair when I went down The Big Hill on the Ellington School playground.

The purple bike is long gone now.  I’m only a scant 11 months from leaving my twenties behind. But this year, on a chilly February day, I left my driveway on my new bike, and it was 1988 again.  I rode down Maine Street from my house that I now own, and I swear I could almost hear my mom yelling to get out of the road and stay to the sides.  I might have gotten some strange looks from passersby who would have thought the cold, gray day wasn’t bike weather, but in my mind, it was sunny, my hair was crimped and tied with a big poofy bow, my stirrup pants were tucked into my saddle shoes, my mom was watching, and it was the perfect day for biking.

I went to my first meeting of the Quincy Bike Club on Thursday night.  You couldn’t ask for a nicer or more diverse group of people.  Some people in the group biked thousands of miles a year, others (like me) had just bought their first bike as an adult. Some were in their twenties, and there was at least one spry septuagenarian sitting among us.  As I sat wondering what could bring a group of people that seemed so different together, a man behind me started recounting one of his rides from last summer.  As he discussed the particulars of the trip: road conditions, parking areas, where to fill your water bottle… a big grin spread across his face.  And that’s when it kind of hit me.  You don’t need Doc Brown and a DeLorean to go back in time.  You just need to delight in the moments where you can feel like a kid again.  That’s what brings these people together.  Each person there had a Bike Birthday once, and each person still reveled in the feeling of wind rushing through his or her hair.

As for me, if you see me out riding, don’t worry.  I’ll come back to the future when I’m through.

Original post March 18, 2011.

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