This April, I’ll be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, where I’ll write an entry a day centered on my theme of Memoir. I’ll be using  Old Friend from Far Away by Natalie Goldberg as my inspiration for my daily topic. Each post will be a quick write (about 10-20 minutes) to help me notice and remember.

B is for Bicycle

Tell me a memory associated with a bicycle. The spokes, the wheels, the narrow seat.

The white and yellow Huffy, with the white thick-tread tires, wasn’t a girl’s bike. No banana seats, baskets, or tassels for me. I had to have the tough boy’s bike. At that age, I rejected everything girly. No pink. No Barbies. No dresses. None of that stuff would do.

Tearing through the quiet streets of my neighborhood, I pumped, not rode, to the sidewalk park, where I’d meet my friends for races, make believe, and hide-and-go-seek. That bike wasn’t made for leisurely rides. It was made for riding as fast as I could, at break-neck speeds. To stop, I reversed the pedals, and on more than one occasion, I nearly flew over the handlebars. But I didn’t mind; I was tough.

When I would come home to grab a drink of water or a bite to eat, I’d ride right up to the front porch and throw my bike against the concrete steps, scuffing the sides every time. My mom constantly nagged me to use my kickstand, but I had more important things to do, and her requests were always ignored. I knew I wouldn’t be home long anyway. After a pit stop, I’d be back at it, riding around til the streetlights came on and it was time to come home.

I don’t remember when I grew too big for that bike, when it was finally retired. I’m not even sure what happened to it once I moved onto a newer, shinier model, one I can’t for the life of me remember now. I wish I had a picture of me on that bike, with the curly, never-brushed blonde hair I was known for back then. The girl who rode that bike was sure of herself. She was who she was, unapologetically, and she didn’t care what anyone else thought of her. I want to go back in time and talk to that little girl and tell her that the world’s going to expect a lot from her. That they’re going to try and change her, fit her into the mold that’s expected. But she needs to stand firm in her beliefs and fight like hell to stay who she is. She doesn’t have to fit in. She can be whoever she wants to be, and that’s okay.

9 thoughts on “Bicycle

  1. karpenglish

    What a vivid picture of your girlhood self is painted here. I do remember the old “pedal backwards” stop, mainly because I did go over my handlebars once. Eek! I think you are still doing a great job of living unapologetically.

    1. aggiekesler Post author

      Oh no…hope you weren’t hurt too badly! I appreciate that…I feel like I am sometimes, and other times, so far from it. Thanks for reading!

      1. karpenglish

        I was not hurt too badly, but my younger sister (who lost control of her bike, slipped into me, and sent me over the handlebars) knocked herself out and broke a rib. I don’t think I have ever seen my dad so pale or running so fast! (This is why parents say not to ride flat out- we remember the bad stuff before we remember the feeling of freedom!)

  2. shaggerspicchu

    I love hearing stories from your childhood. I feel like that strength and certainty of who you are has held strong throughout the years and you have infused this amazing sense of care for others and friendship.

  3. Outside Perception

    My first bike was a bright yellow huffy with a banana seat. I don’t remember learning to ride a bike. I do remember being on that bike, one foot on the handle bars and one on the seat going down a hill at home. It ended rather spectacularly I’m told… for some reason I have no recollection of that ending… I do remember having lots of cuts and scrapes later though 🙂


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