February Photo A Day: Your Name


I received this from my parents as a ‘tween for my bicycle. Clearly I never left my bike out in the rain because the tag isn’t much weathered. From the time of my first bike (and I remember the training wheels!) when I was a youngster, my bikes meant freedom. I try to believe that in small towns or at least suburbs somewhere, children still fly out the door in the mornings and grab their bikes, only to come home if they’re hungry or when dusk sets in.

Of course, back then, there were no helmets and lots of wrecks and crashes. In our family, my brother’s bike catastrophe was breaking his arm. I remember I was too young to be allowed in the hospital to see him when he had to stay overnight, but because I was a worrier, my mother let me stand on the grass outside and pointed out the window where he stood, waving his casted arm at me. My sister’s catastrophe: wrecking her bike on a hill. She and the bike slid down together, its pedal stabbing her in her leg, which had to be stitched. My mother said the resident putting in her sutures had shaking hands and wasn’t doing a great job. She was worried what kind of scar it would leave and gave the attending physician an anxious look. He tactfully asked the resident if he wasn’t long overdue for a break and offered to finish. Once the resident was gone, he removed the stitches and started over, making a tidy job of it.

There are only a few of my own accidents that I remember. My training wheel slipped off the sidewalk once and I was thrown into a ditch. I remember screaming all the way home and sitting on the kitchen counter, feet in the sink, while my mother washed my wounds and applied iodine (that hurt worse than the wreck). One time I found an iron rod, probably a piece of rebar, and was dragging it behind me as I rode. I stupidly let it get ahead of me and pole vaulted myself over the handlebars, landing in the middle of the street on my back and, as they say, getting the wind knocked out of me. The only witness was a woman standing in her kitchen window. She ran out to make sure I was okay and helped me and the bike to the curb. After a few minutes, I was on my way. She kept the rebar. Another time my foot slipped off the pedal and I scraped the top of it on the asphalt (it was the South; I was barefooted). For years, I had four little circular scars at the base of my toes, but those are long gone.

Then there was the time my bike and its tag betrayed me. It was probably ninth grade, and my boyfriend (Tim) wasn’t delighted when I spent lots of time with just Riley. But Riley had taught himself new songs on the guitar and begged me to come over after school one afternoon to listen. Riley lived several blocks from me, but right around the corner from Lynne, so I told Tim I was going to Lynne’s that afternoon, then pedaled straight to Riley’s. We were in the basement–where his drums, piano, and guitars were–when the doorbell rang. Riley went to answer it, and I heard Tim’s voice ask, “Is Becky here?”

“No,” Riley lied.

“Her bike’s outside.”

“Oh, yeah. She and Lynne went somewhere and asked if they could leave it in my yard. If you want to hang out here, you can probably catch her when she comes by to get it.”

By that time, I was out the garage door, grabbing my bike and hauling butt to Lynne’s. When Tim drove by later, Lynne and I were innocently sitting in her front yard, my bike next to us, making dandelion chains. Was he fooled? Who knows. But it gave Riley a favorite story to tell on me long after Tim and I were a distant memory.

Prompt from FMS Photo A Day.

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11 Responses to February Photo A Day: Your Name

  1. meesh says:

    Such an adventurous childhood! My bicycle memories are the pleasure I had in the freedom the moment I had the bike. How much I enjoyed the white basket with colored flowers. But most of all I recall how much I hated that the chain wouldn’t stay on the bike after the first month or so. I didn’t ride much after that.

  2. silly in slc says:

    your story made me think of my own riding horror. i loved riding my lime green bike, complete with banana seat, white basket, and long tassels hanging off the handle bars. i would ride all over the neighborhood, hilly parts were my favorite since i could coast down at great speed. on one occasion i was allowed to ride to rexall drug to spend allowance money. i bought a ball and jacks set, a comic book and a reese’s cup. i decided to eat the candy on the way home so i wouldn’t have to share with my siblings. so there i was riding along, reese’s cup in one hand, one hand on the handlebar. well, i hit a bump and a piece of the candy lodged in my throat and i began choking. i stopped my bike and tried coughing it out, to no avail. so at my ten years young age, i thought,” i am going to die here on the road, and my mother is going to be so mad, and my brother will get my bike.” having been raised catholic, i just knew god was punishing me for being so selfish in eating the candy. my good sense kicked in and i launched my chest over the handle bars a few times and out popped the candy. whew, i had escaped death. i was elated that i had survived, and glad no one had witnessed this. and so, feeling quite proud, i got back on my bike and began to pedal away. to my chagrin, i did look over to my right, 50 yards away, there was a man watering his lawn with such a look on his face. mortified, i pedaled home with such speed. to this day, i still eat reese’s cup, off bike.

    • Becky says:

      HA H–I mean, how terrible! Seriously, that must have been scary as hell, but I can see it perfectly, right down to the bike. I’m glad you didn’t die by Reese’s Cup, but I notice your lesson learned was not “share your candy,” but “don’t eat on the bike.” Smart woman!

  3. Robert Edler says:

    Alas, I have no bike tales. I had been floating the idea of getting a bike for my 12th birthday, and chances were looking good that it was going to happen. However, I had a cousin who was three weeks older than me and he received a bike for his birthday that year. The first thing he did was ride it around the block on the sidewalk. He was hit by a truck driving out of the alley. He and the bike were thrown from the sidewalk into the street where he was also almost run over by another vehicle. The bike was ruined, and he ended up in the hospital with a concussion and a broken leg. And the edict went forth from my grandmother (and also my mother) there would be no bikes for anyone. End of sad tale.

    • Becky says:

      I’m sorry you missed out. Because there was also putting playing cards in the spokes to make a clacking noise when you rode, the satisfying crunch of gravel when you rode over it, and bike races, riding with no hands, coasting on one wheel, riding on someone special’s handlebars–good times!

  4. Lynne says:

    no memory of that specific event… however my bike was freedom to go anywhere in town that i wanted to go. The flying down the hills was the best. out running dogs, racing, riding in the woods across the street (now it is houses), going to the square, taking the dogs in the basket, riding to Dairy Delight for milkshakes (i spilled many trying to put them in the basket and head home)… oh how i loved my bike! and then some one stole it at the pool… Daddy was so mad. One day riding with him i saw it in the bike rack at the high school as we drove by. I screamed “that’s my bike!” he said are you sure? then he went & took it right out of the rack & put it in his truck. No questions. No talking to anyone. He just took it back. I had my bike back! Daddies are great.

  5. Marika says:

    When i was little I was all about my bike … FREEDOM. Even in high school I rode my bike to school. I have no terrible bike wreck stories … I am sure they happened, I just don’t remember them. I do remember when my cousin Bud wrecked his though – perhaps it was because he was eating a fried chicken leg at the time.

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