Planes, Trains, Bikes and Rollerblades
Transportation of days past – what an interesting contemplation. Summer did come with adventure and excitement, but being one of four kids, it also meant independence and getting where I needed on my own.
In the early days, I remember the Big Wheel. Ah, that hard plastic seat, and the forced leaning back to get the right angle to the pedals. My favourite part was keeping the handle bars turned and spinning in circles. One such day, I couldn’t have been more than four, I remember being in the middle of the road of the small crescent where we lived, and I so engrossed in the spinning that I failed to notice the giant (I was four, everything was giant) truck coming along. Thankfully he saw me and stopped. It scared me when I saw the truck so close, and like a smart child of that age I abandoned the Big Wheel, leaving it for dead, and made it safely to the side of the road. The guy must have thought I was a dumb kid. He got out of the truck and moved my Big Wheel out of the way. He didn’t say anything, just shook his head. I remember it vividly. I guess it scared me more than I realized because I never went on the Big Wheel again.
I graduated to a yellow bicycle. Oh, the thrill of getting that bike. It was a hand me down and had clearly been loved before, but that didn’t matter. It was the best birthday present. And it was mine! Oh and the colour! It was yellow. It was the colour of everything summer. Yellow like the sunshine, yellow like the sunflowers, and yellow like yummy lemonade. At four it was the most magical thing in the world to me. It had coloured straws on the spokes, and streamers that went on forever. They flew behind me in this gorgeous array of colours as I sped on that bike. And it was great. I felt like the luckiest kid alive with that bike. And, it served me well. It took me all around our tiny crescent to my various friends houses and to the nearby park. “Girl” bike or not, I could beat my kid brother in races with it every time! I was powerful and fierce on that bike. I could conquer the world. Funny, I am sure I outgrew that bike and would have graduated to others, but I don’t remember the bikes that came after. However, I do remember when I graduated into my final pre-car transportation that served me well into my early 20s.
I loved my Rollerblades. The speed you could achieve with them was incredible. I also loved how portable they were. I was less encumbered than when on a bike. I could use them, tuck them in a backpack and still be able to take public transportation if I needed. I went everywhere with those. I even took the dog for her exercise on Rollerblades. Though a small word of caution, if she stopped quickly, the spills could be disastrous. The speed and the solitude, I felt so connected outside, and so alive! It was invigorating, and it was great to get to places quickly. I knew all the paths and all the shortcuts that you could never take with a car. It felt like my own secret way to transport myself. Short of teleportation, nothing could have been cooler than this.
Eventually, suburban living and grown up responsibilities necessitated the use of car, but in the summer I long for the return to the bliss of outdoors with the wind blowing through my hair. Thankfully my kids have re-awakened the use of bikes in us, and I enjoy the return to childhood when I am on the bike. Now to find those old Rollerblades and dust them off. I am sure it’s just like riding a bike right? Ha, that might be another story entirely!