“Learn to ride a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.”

Today couldn’t be prettier, warmer but not prettier. It will only be 54˚ and then it will plummet to the 30’s tonight. I’m going out today. I need the sunshine.

I can see the yellow of the daffodil bulbs. They are getting closer to flowering. I also saw the tips of a couple of grape hyacinths. My garden is waking up a few bulbs at a time.

When I was a kid, I would have loved today, a Saturday, my favorite day, with all its sun and blue sky. It was bicycle weather for sure, the time to wrestle my bike out of the cellar and up the concrete stairs. From there, I’d hop on then ride down the grassy hill in the front yard and hope my father didn’t see me or the tire tracks in the tallish grass of the hill.

My first bike was blue. It didn’t have gears. They were in the future. It had brakes on the pedals and a wire basket in front. It had been under the tree, sort of, one Christmas. I remember taking my bike outside for pictures. There is one of me with a huge grin holding on to the handlebars. I was wearing one of my favorite jackets of all time, a blue wool jacket with snaps. My bike and I were on the top step right outside the door. The sun was shining that Christmas so I took my bike for its first ride.

When I was in Ghana, during my first year, I walked to town. It was downhill from my school, an easy walk. When I was walking home, uphill, cars usually stopped to offer me a ride. I always took it. We were not allowed to drive a car or a motorcycle except for the few volunteers who had Honda 125’s from Peace Corps because their jobs meant traveling. I traveled by mammy lorry, bus and plane when I was in the money. During my second year, the restrictions were lifted. I bought a Honda Cub 90, my first and only motorcycle. I had to learn the gears, the simple gears, when I bought the bike and before I rode the 100 miles home. I felt like the queen of the road when I rode that bike. Back then my town, Bolga, had few motorcycles. My friend Bill also bought one. Patrick, another volunteer who lived in Bolga, had the 125 Honda from Peace Corps. We were a motorcycle gang of three.

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5 Comments on ““Learn to ride a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Today the sky is a mixture of sun and clouds with a high temperature of 81°. We have the AC going because it’s also fairly humid. Late tonight another cold front is expected to bring more rain but with a low risk of severe weather.

    My first bike was a 20” bike with training wheels. Eventually, my dad taught me to ride it without the extra wheels. Later, I graduated to a 26” Red bike with three speeds and coaster brakes. I used to bike go all over my neighborhood in North Dallas. In the 1950s we were living at the edge of the housing developments and just a mile from the city limit within a block of small cattle and horse farms. It was my last bike. When I moved to NYC I didn’t need a bike. I was never into motorcycles or even motor scooters. My mother instilled in me a Jewish mother’s fear of anything like a motor bike. Had she lived, she would probably have showered me with guilt about learning to fly. Whenever I see a person on a motorcycle who is not wearing a helmet, I call out, “Dead man riding”.

    Today my daughter and I picked up a couple of barbecue brisket sandwiches at the local barbecue joint and had a picnic at the Grapevine Lake. One of the features of the parks at the lake is that the city keeps the bathrooms clean and well stocked. An important feature if you’re spending the afternoon.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      It felt chilly here all day and tonight is moving from chilly to cold. Rain is expected tomorrow afternoon. We won’t hit 81˚ until August.

      Nobody I knew had training wheels. We all learned to ride on our big bikes. My mother was my biking instructor. I remember her holding the back of the bike as I learned to keep my balance and pedal. Like you, I biked everywhere in my town. I loved when I could bike to school.

      I never thought about a motorcycle until Ghana. I could walk to town from school but for everywhere else, I had to take a bus or lorry. I didn’t explore the really back roads as I didn’t know if I could get back easily, but with my bike, I explored all over. It was wonderful. I usually call the helmet-less organ donors.

      • Bob Says:

        When my dad removed the training wheels he jogged along behind and beside me holding up the bike by grabbing the back of the seat. After a few runs in the carport area he just let go. After that I figured the rest out by myself.

        Actually, “Organ donars riding” is a fit description. A couple,of years ago I was driving on a Sunday morning on the six lane toll road going about 65 MPH in the right lane. In the far left lane a bunch of 5 or 6 motorcyclists past by me going at least 90 MPH in a group. Besides being startled by the sound of their engines I noticed non of them were wearing helmets. If you lose traction at that speed you become road kill.

  2. Christer. Says:

    Not so nice here today, very windy and rain will arrive at any minute according to all weather reports. We did actually see the sun for a few minutes every now and again earlier today so I had the kitchen door open. Not that Albin understood that he could go out that way any time he wanted though 🙂 🙂 Instead he stood by the entrance door demanding me to let him out 🙂

    My first bike, that my sister had before me, was red and pedal breaks, no gears of course but who cared 🙂 Now there are so many gears on bikes that I wonder if anyone ever use them all 🙂 🙂

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      Henry doesn’t try to sneak out the door. Gracie was a runner. Henry is not. He looks out even when the door is open but never tries to bolt. It rained most of the afternoon, but it is warm, 54˚. It would be nice if it weren’t damp.

      I didn’t care about gears either. Even when I bought a bike as an adult, it had three gears. Those were easy to use. I wouldn’t be able to figure out the gears ion there were many of them.

      Enjoy your day!!


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