"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bicycling thru Life

I lived on a little semi cul-de-sac in an L.A. suburb when I was growing up.  There were 13 boys within 5 years of my age on this one little street and we were always playing something.  Everything I learned about sports and arguing I learned on Helmer Dr.

My mother, wisely, thought that little boys with too much privacy might find trouble so her iron-clad rule with me was; you can't be in anybody's house and you can't be in their back yard.  Stay in the front yards or on the street and ask before you go up or down the street.  By the time I reached 14, I was absolutely sick of this rule.  I still had to ask Mom if I  wanted to go down the street.  Then my older cousin, Tom, gave me an old bicycle of his.
[It was actually a strange bike; it had the racing type frame and the narrower tires but it was a 1 speed.  Who ever heard of a one speed racing type bike?  But I digress.]

My parents began to let me ride around the city.  I STILL had to ask permission to go down the street but I was now able to get on my bike and ride all over the city without telling  Mom in advance where I was going; often I didn't know.  So with my cousin's bike, I discovered freedom and mobility.  My love affair with the bike had begun.
Now my Dad, raised under a less suspicious regime, had spent his boyhood riding all over Los Angeles with his cousin and best friend Bill Bailey. So when I showed an interest in riding around, he ultimately supported me against my more fearful and concerned Mom.  Then when I was 14, I talked them into letting me ride 30 miles to my grandma's house in Hermosa Beach one summer.  We are talking L.A. when there were NO bike lanes, No colorful spandex to warn others, NO arroyos to ride, only big cars and wacky drivers and life threatening smog.  Even now I'm astounded they let me do that.  I remember being rather frightened on the trip because I had only ridden to Grandma's sitting in the back seat of the family sedan so I was pioneering a new route to Grandmas not at all positive where I was at any one time.( I'm pretty sure I had a map but at 14, who knows how to read a map?)  I was quite relieved when I got there without getting lost.  (This pre-dated the cell phone age by several decades, I'm not sure I could have handled a public phone to even tell anybody I was lost.  I was  that sheltered.)

But I got to Grandma's spent the week body-surfing and then rode the bike back home feeling like I had outpointed Christopher Columbus in the conquest of the unknown and the exhibition of bravery and daring-do.

Many decades later, I'm still biking.  It's still an adventure, it's still fun.
More biking tales to come perhaps.

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