Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Tuesday, April 13, 2021

On a Bicycle Built for Me

 

Bygone days . . .
My daughter and I were looking for new bicycles.
And the irony was just sickening.
Let me go waaay back and tell you why . . .
I was five and quite ready to move up from the tricycle that had served me well. I was ready to learn to ride a two-wheeler.
I could ride almost anything with four legs and, on the ranch, the choices there were nearly endless.
But when it came to bicycles, I had . . . less.
Choices, that is.
There was my oldest brother, Jerry's bike. But the bar made the fact that I was short and couldn't sit on the seat, impossible.
The one that was closest to my size was ‘Alfred’, my next older brother George’s bike.
It was a hand-me-over from Jerry and had already gone many, many miles.
Been refurbished and set to go many, many more.
Younger brother on 'Alfred'. Handed down again.
But it was out of bounds for me.
Because...George.
That left the biggest bike.
Mom’s.
A classic.
The old green one with the balloon tires.
The one that stood almost taller than my head.
There was no way I could remotely come near to sitting on the seat, but I discovered I could manage nicely if I just stood on the pedals.
The whole time I was riding.
The amazing thing is, for the behemoth it was, that bike was astonishingly easy to ride.
And a fantastic bike to learn on.
In no time, I was whizzing up and down the tree-lined drive, pumping madly as I tried to keep up with my fleeter, older brother.
I don’t remember actually riding it when I could reach the seat and the pedals at the same time, but for a while, that bike and I were good company.
My brother perched on my gold beauty
(sans tassels)
Until Dad brought home a solid gold beauty.
Just for me.
Complete with a banana seat and ape-hanger handlebars (with gold streamers) it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen.
We were instantly fast friends.
And I do mean fast.
And the novel ability to be able to sit while I pedaled was . . . novel.
And remarkable.
We spent many hours and miles together.
Until I outgrew it.
You’d think I would then have turned to the old, green reliable, now that feet and seat could actually work in conjunction with each other.
But I didn’t.
Nope.
After riding my gold beauty, I wouldn’t be caught dead on that old thing.
Moving ahead many, many years.
My daughters and daughters-in-law biked every morning. With assorted grandchildren as out-riders and three of us towing little trailers, we resembled a parade.
All we needed were the balloons.
And clowns.
Okay, just the balloons.
The little blue Canadian Tire $99 Special I had been riding had been sadly outclassed by my DIL’s vintage, pink Electra marvel.
I had ridden it.
It was delicious.
I wanted one.
So my daughter and I had determined to find bikes EXACTLY like it.
Now, for the ironic part.
These bikes were precisely like the bike I learned to ride on.
The old green reliable.
The one I wouldn’t be caught dead on all those years ago.
Balloon tires and all.
See? Irony. . . 
Today. See the pink beauty somewhere in the middle? Mmmmm.

3 comments:

  1. Ah, yes, we live and learn and often it's just a bit too late.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have an older style bike too, and wish I could ride it, but my hips objected mightily each time I tried, since the roads here aren't exactly flat, although they do look like they are and leaving home was easy enough, but pedalling the very slight uphill slope to get back home was beyond me. So the bike sits in the shed, gathering dust and needing new tyres.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Haven't written a bike in years, but your story is getting me inspired!

    ReplyDelete

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