A Bike … is just not a Bike

Bike-photoUndoubtedly, on any given day, one can walk into my garage and notice an array of bikes.  And most of the time, at least two of those bikes have just appeared and been left behind by some friendly visitor.

 At just about the time school started this year, we all noticed a bike, laying on its side, that had been left at the end of a driveway near our bus stop.  There it sat for many days, until one day someone moved it across the street and propped it up against the street sign.  I’m sure it was a well intentioned adult, trying to place the bike in a more prominent viewing position to remind whoever left it behind that it should be retrieved.

So this bike I passed daily driving in and out of my neighborhood.  The thought bubble in my head when I drove by it was – “I wish someone would claim that bike and get it out of here.”  One day I was driving home with my two teens, David and Eliza, and I articulated this thought, in somewhat of an exasperated tone.  David quickly said – “I like seeing it there.  It’s a symbol of our neighborhood.”

From that day forward, when I passed the bike, a little smile showed up on my face.  A bike, especially for youth, is a phenomenal symbol of freedom and independence.  And fortunately, we live in a fairly self contained, untrafficked neighborhood, ideal for bike riding.  When I think back to my childhood, many of my memories are of zipping around on my bike – with cards pinned to the spokes, stopping at a neighbor’s driveway to “fill up with gas,” or racing down the street with hands in the air.   And of course when I was older, it was my primary mode of transportation to visit my friends and get me into town.

 This week the bike is gone.  Who knows where it went – whether its owner finally decided to reclaim it, someone else decided to claim it, or someone just got tired of it and decided to dump it.  I guess we’ll never know.  But guess what?  I miss it.


  • Catherine Says:
    10-29-2010 10:24:38

    Today’s blog brought back some happy childhood memories. When I was growing up, my parents did not have money to purchase new bicycles for their 3 children. Fortunately, we had a wise, wonderful neighbor who picked up bicycle frames and parts at junk yards. He was willing to help us build a bike, but we had to contribute our sweat equity to earn it. We sanded and scraped and painted. I still remember all three of the bikes. Mine was red and white and had the smoothest ride of the three. While my sister’s had shiny, silver fenders, which I somewhat envied, it was not as fast as mine. My brother had a black and white Schwinn, which he rode furiously around the neighborhood. Those bicycles did give us wings and freedom and greatly expanded our zone of travel.

  • Charlotte Says:
    10-30-2010 07:19:04

    I loved this story , you should send it to the NY Times !

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