I loved my first bike so much. I slept with it every night.
One summer, a long time ago, my father brought home a sturdy BMX kid bike with training wheels and my life was never the same again. I was gleaming, I was in love. I had reason to get up every morning, every day.
Day in and day out, I would get on the bike while my father took several photos with his Kodak Disc Camera (very 80’s!). In no time, I mastered the art of bicycling and developed several riding techniques. The “Look, pa, no hands!” or “The Evil Knievel”, standing on the pedals and other stunts that left my father bragging to his friends that he has a budding stunt man for a daughter. Ah, I was a fearless six year old when it came to my bike.
One day, my 12 year old friend got on my kiddie bike and broke both the training wheels. I never knew riding a bike would be much different without the training wheels. These two wheels meant the difference between being able to wear a mini-skirt later in life or not! I had wrecks here and there and often came home with a red, raw elbow or knees. But despite the wound and scars, I was never happier. I would never trade the feel of the wind kissing my face and blowing my hair for anything in the world.
Hah! At six, I thought, I had reached the prime of my life!
My bike love story doesn’t end there, though. That time, we lived in a less secure part of town. There were several unemployed fellas hanging out in the dark alleys smoking the whole day. Stories of theft were widespread in our small neighborhood. We didn’t have a fence around our house so my father knew that to keep my cherished property safe, it has to be parked inside the house before night falls. I was diligent and very protective of my first bike. Every single day, after washing off the dirt in the wheels, my bike and I would call it a day. While young girls kiss their teddy bears goodnight, there I was saying night-night to a bunch of metals with rubber wheels.
A couple of months passed. A huge storm visited my town just after I got home. I didn’t want to get wet or get struck by lightning so I watched TV inside instead of cleaning up my bike and bringing it in. Then I slept.
The next day when the skies cleared, my beloved first bike was nowhere to be seen.
At six, I had my first heartache. My heart pained everytime I hear my friends zooming the street with their bikes. I despised whoever stole it at the same time hating myself for leaving it alone outside, making it a prey to the thieves. Like a scorned woman vowing never to fall in love again, I never asked for a bike and refused any offers that came my way.
“Would you like a new/replacement bike on your birthday, Gracie?”, my concerned father would ask. “No, a Barbie would do.” was my constant dry reply. The truth is, I was not (never) into dolls but at least if I get Barbies, my heart wouldn’t have to break every time my younger brothers break the arms and legs or use the Barbie legs for teething or if someone stole it.
All I know is that like cockroaches, thieves are here to stay whether we like it or not and I didn’t like to risk my bike and my feelings again.
It was only after more than a decade that I got into another bike again. This time, in a more secure place, in Japan where thieves are almost unheard of. There was no need for me to chain my precious bike to my bed post every single night. I would hop on to it, deliberately take it up to the hilly part inside the university premises and with legs spread out and eyes closed, I drive the bike down with overwhelming speed. The feel of the wind on my face was pure joy. It meant happiness, freedom and most of all, it brought back the warm, fuzzy feelings I had when I rode my first bicycle.
This post is submitted to Scribbit’s Write-Away contest with theme: First Bike.