“I have recently taken up two new sports: roller skating and ankle spraining, in that order. I am getting quite good at both.

The day is chilly but still lovely with lots of sun and only a few clouds. On the way to breakfast I noticed trees with leaves and others with blossoms, some white and some pink. The flowers I saw in the front gardens as I drove by were bright and colorful. Yesterday I had a cardinal pair at my feeder. I hope they make the backyard a frequent stop. Gracie loves this weather and is outside a long time. Right now she is barking at something instead of being inside for her morning nap. The cats, though, are asleep. Nothing interrupts their morning snooze.

We aways called bikes with hand brakes and three gears English bikes though they weren’t made in England. My brother got the first one and his was a Schwinn. He got it for Christmas one year. It wasn’t under the tree but hidden in the kitchen to make it an added surprise. The first time he was sent to the kitchen, he didn’t turn on the light so he missed it. It was the second trip when he saw his new bike. His old bike had been one my parents bought second-hand. I remember the middle section was really thick and the bike was clunky so unlike the sleekness of the new bike. I’d get my own Schwinn a couple of years later. I remember trying to figure out when to use each gear. Three were difficult enough back then. I would never have been able to imagine ten or more.

Every kid I knew had three things: a bike, a sled and ice skates. Girls added one more: roller skates. I never saw boys with key skates you attached to your shoes, but I did see boys at the roller rink. I guess the rental skates seemed more masculine, a bit like hockey skates but with wheels.

When I skated around the neighborhood or in the parking lot at the top of the street, I never fell. Every now and then I’d have to stop to re-attach my skate to my shoe or to tighten it, but I was generally on my feet. A crack in the sidewalk sometimes did me in, but mostly I could skate for a long time without falling. The roller skating rink, though, was a different story. I fell all the time. I think it was the speed of the skates and the evenness of the floor. I’d go around maybe once or twice, if I was lucky, then I’d hit the floor. I was totally graceless when I fell. I went down hard. By the end of the evening, my pants were filthy from the frequent falls and my backside was a bit sore. I’d get home, and my mother would always ask if I had a good time. I always did falls notwithstanding.

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16 Comments on ““I have recently taken up two new sports: roller skating and ankle spraining, in that order. I am getting quite good at both.”

  1. Coleen Burnett Says:

    There are 3 things I cannot do – roller skate, ice skate, or surf. No balance. When the Good Lord handed that out, I must have been in another line…

    Fallen on my tush many times. At least it was a soft landing!

    I am finally hearing the birds in the morning after a long winter. The original Twitter…

    Waving from Jersey…


    • katry Says:

      If you can ride a bike, you have balance! I think skates with four wheels on each foot would be easier to stay balanced. I think it is a lot like walking slowly otherwise your feet get too far ahead and down you go!

      Aren’t the birds the best of all morning sounds?

      Waving hello from Cape Cod!!!

  2. Coleen Burnett Says:

    OMG, I’m first!

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I had big clunky bikes for most of my childhood. They were always second hand and of a size that I would “grow into”. It meant that the pedals would have wooden blocks attached to them for some period of time and I would have to pedal standing up until I grew enough to sit in the saddle and be able to reach the blocks. Often the coaster brakes didn’t work all that reliably and the chains skipped causing that painful meeting of groin and crossbar. Oh, yes, they were always boy’s bikes because they would have to be handed down to my younger brothers.
    The first bike I got that was a girl’s bike of the correct size was a black Raleigh three speed. I felt so cool and full of biking ability on that bike. Possibly having to use unsuitable bikes builds character and talent in much the same way as learning horseback riding on lots of ill-tempered horses. If you survive, you will be fantastic. πŸ™‚
    My last bike was an electric yellow Schwinn 10 speed racing bike that I bought back in the late 70’s. I rode that thing all over the place; sometimes racking up 50 miles in a day. I used all the gears. πŸ™‚
    It’s sunny and cool here. Rocky is snoozing on the couch after greeting the neighborhood kids and searching for the woodchuck. Yesterday we went to a Sato Reunion at the shelter where I adopted him. He got to play with lots of former stray dogs (satos) from Puerto Rico, his native home. There were a lot of tan, curly-tailed chihuahua mixes in the group. He blended right in. πŸ™‚
    Enjoy the rest of the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I remember bikes with wooden blocks. Mostly they were smaller bikes for even smaller kids. Luckily I was the oldest and had two sisters and only one brother so I always had a girl’s bike. One or two of mine were second-hand, but they worked just fine.

      My first bike was just my size when I was 9 or 10. I was so proud of that bike.

      I never got all the ten gears of my last bike. That seemed too much like overkill. I would ride down the bike trail mostly to Orleans but did make it to Provincetown a few times. It was a straight stretch across marshes from Orleans down.

      Gracie is back inside on the couch and is also snoring. She only likes one dog, her friend Cody, so we have no dog play dates. Cody comes down on his own, barks at the front door, comes in and goes out the dog door as if he lived here.

      Have a great Sunday afternoon!!

  4. Bob Says:

    When I was a kid I had the bike, the skates that attached to my shoes and a sled which I never used after moving to Texas. I wore the skate key around my neck and never thought that it was girly. As a matter of fact I learned how to make a lanyard out of plastic strips that I wove into a lanyard with a barrel shaped adjuster. Mine was very patriotic with red white and blue strips. When I moved back to NY at age 13 I acquired ice skates. I was not very good at either roller or ice skating, I could never master skating backwards, but I had a lot of fun roller skating around our backyard concrete patio or skating on a frozen pond or an ice skating rink.

    The first light weight, multi speed bikes did come from England and the name stuck. I always called them 10 speeds, regardless of how many gears they had. I was never coordinated enough to use hand brakes and pedal backwards while changing gears so I stayed with a trusty American style three speed bike with coaster brakes.

    Sunny to partly cloudy day with temperatures in the 80s is forecast.

    • katry Says:

      I never thought skates on shoes were girly either but guys seldom used them. I too used to keep my key around my neck on a string.

      We called those plastic strips gimp, and I learned to make the lanyard at the playground. I was able to weave a hook right into the square part which hung down. One Christmas my mother gave the adult me a gimp set in my stocking to make a lanyard. I did, hadn’t forgotten the two types of weaving I needed for the lanyard.

      I could skate backwards only a small bit before I’d have to turn around, and I only skated backward on the ice, never when I was on roller skates as I would have fallen every time.

      The first ones did come from England as they were better made at the time than American 3 speed bikes, but the ones my brother and I had were made in the US. The name English 3 speed just stuck like saying Xerox when you copy something.

      It was always a 3 speed to me as those were the speeds it had. The additional speeds were way off in time when I got that bike so you were really imaginative to call it a 10 speed. My 3 speed had hand brakes, and I think my friends also had hand brakes on theirs. I don’t remember any with the combination of 3 speed indicators on the handle bars and foot brakes.

  5. Birgit Says:

    The weather is generally warmer over here (Thanks, Gulf Stream!), so every kid had 3 things: a bike, roller skates and snow sliding shoes. We shared the sleds. No roller rinks, we drove on the street, but ice-skating rinks, the lake was very rarely frozen. I was the best roller skater in my childhood street and I still have a scar on my left knee.
    I’m just wondering about the snow sliding shoes, because wikipedia doesn’t have entries in other languages. Wrong translation, missing links or unpopular in other countries? Here’s a photo:

    • katry Says:

      We never had snow sliding shoes, and I never saw a pair before this. It was a big thing to go to the roller rink, and we didn’t go often. Usually we went with some church group or other when I was a teenager. We never went when I was younger-I was a sidewalk skater then.

  6. splendid Says:

    Wonderful to hear all the skating memories–I was quite a good roller skater when I was in grade school, however years away ruined my abilities by the time my children were able, too much worry about falling I think. I have a Spaceliner bike that I am dying to ride, problem is it is sooo heavy! Too many hills in these parts–must take it over the river! Anywho all the trees here are shedding their pink and white petals, it is wonderful to walk through the carpets of colour on the sidewalks. Enjoy your sunshine we are in the middle of a cyclonic gulf stream rain, it is sitting over us for a few days. Guess I’ll work inside and enjoy the rain music. xoxoxoxox

    • katry Says:

      I fell then but I would have expected that-I’m a faller even now. I have ice skated in the not too distant past but my feet hurt quicker than I expected. Around here not many hills so you could ride the bike path. The only hills are a few in the next town over: Brewster.

      We are behind you in welcoming spring as the trees just started to blossom.

      We haven’t had rain in a long time. I’d welcome some!

  7. olof1 Says:

    The same three things over here but my generation sort of fell in between the periods when roller skates were popular,. They made a return when I was older so I did get a chance to try them. I was pretty good at skating so I had no problems with roller skates. Now days they have inlines and it’s always rather popular over here.

    I always inherited my sisters bikes but I never minded that. I especially remember my first bike that one could fould in the middle (a Royal), it was very important to check those hooks that held it together, otherwise I could get rather surprised when it started folding itself while biking πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    The wind finally calmed down but way too late, it’s getting colder and I’ll soon go to bed. It will be nice all week until Friday when my long weekend starts, then it will start raining πŸ™‚

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      Roller skates also transitioned into in-line skates over here. I haven’t seen my type skates except in antique shops.

      I haven’t ever seen a bike that folds. I don’t think we had those though we may have them now.

      We ave sun, but it’s cold. We may have rain on Wednesday, and I won’t mind. It has been a while since we’ve had any rain.

      Have a great evening!!

  8. Lori Kossowsky Says:

    I couldn’t ice skate, my ankles were too weak, roller skating wasn’t popular in our town for some reason. I did learn to ride a bike, and that was my first means of transportation ( besides walking) to visit a friend in our sort of country town, and especially at the beach, where I could bike to work and up and down the island. I can’t ride a bicycle now– for some reason, after I broke my knee, it freezes when it’s supposed to catch the pedal. It’s probably a good thing as biking here is somewhat dangerous–too many cars, even though we have bike lanes, and of course I can swim. Simone kitty is coming out of her shell, and driving me a little crazy. She wants to play, explore, yet she’s still afraid of many things and certain sounds scare her.. but considering I’ve only had her a month– today is our anniversary day, we’ve come a long way. The roller skates reminded me of a song, and I’m sure you can guess which one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIFknAdVvNM

    I realize I’ve rambled and hope this makes sense…

    • katry Says:

      My story is about my sister Sheila who got ice skates for Christmas. After skating the first time, she came home, threw them on the floor and said she wanted skates like her friend Karen had. My mother wanted to know why. Sheila said Karen’s didn’t turn over at the ankles the way hers did.

      I guess the song right away!!

      I’m glad Simone kitty is beginning to feel at home. One of Sheila’s kitties is the same way while is brother is quite at home. Bordy is still nervous too.

      Every bit of it made sense!!


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