Learning to ride a bike.
Now that is a good topic to start with for my shared memories. We spent a great deal of time on our bikes when I was a kid. All the neighborhood kids had a bike; big bikes mostly, old bikes and “hand me down” bikes. I do not remember anyone ever getting a new bike. I do not remember who taught me to ride a bike. It was likely my father, Harold Smith, because I do remember him going through this ritual with my younger siblings so surely he did the same for me. It would have had to have been a Sunday because he worked 6 days a week back then. I do remember that he occasionally had Saturday off and a few years later, he had every Tuesday off.
|Janet(5) and Sharon(6 months) in 1960 - First day of school for the "big girls and I had to stay home. I was so disappointed because I knew I was a big girl! - The bike in the photo may have been the one I learned on.|
During the week, my older sisters, Sue and Pam helped me too I. I remember a time or two when Sue helped me a little too hard and made me fall too!!! The bike I rode had no hand grips on the handle bars and it was far too large for me. I could not sit on the seat as I peddled, so I stood the whole time I rode. So imagine the skinny little spidery looking girl trying ride this over sized bike. That was me! The lessons started in the grass. I do remember that. It was suppose to lessen the hurt when you fell but it still hurt. I remember so many road rash sores on my knees and legs, I fell down a lot at first and got very frustrated.
But having said all that, my best memory was the first time I realizing that I was actually pedaling and riding alone! The warm sun is soaking my face and the wind is blowing my pigtails back as I was pedaling as if my life depended on it...and it kinda did! From the top of Fritz Drive to 29 Mile Rd could not be more than a tenth of a mile but when you could ride it the whole time you knew that you had learned to ride a bike.. Now I see 29 Mile Road looming...I am getting closer...oh no, now what do I do? How do I stop? What did they tell me to do now? You see, 29 Mile Road was a pretty busy road with a steady gravel truck traffic so it was very important that you did not go darting across it before looking both directions. Oh yes, I thought, go in the grass, it will slow you down and give me time to think. Well, it slowed me down alright and then I fell. One more skinned knee was better than darting across 29 Mile Road. An now I realized I have a thing or two more to learn about bike riding! The rest of the summer would be used to perfect my bike riding abilities. I knew that this bike riding would be a ticket to much more freedom! And it was.