Thursday, January 6, 2011

First rides, last rides...

Yesterday, after a quick morning ride, I took a more sombre pace by attending the funeral service of a neighbor from my days of youth. This was the father of three children who were the same age as my siblings and myself, and we therefore spent considerable time together. Because he was the parent, there was not a lot of interaction between us, but he was around, and I naturally have various remembrances of him. Over the last, I don't know how many years, he and my father had become breakfast buddies at least one morning a week. Dinner and other meetings between the two sets of neighborhood parents were regular occurrences as well, after all they, and my parents, have lived across from each other on the same street for nearly fifty years.

Anyway, how does this tie into cycling? All three children of Mr. Zucker spoke at the memorial, giving very moving remembrances of their father. The middle child, who is the same age as myself, spoke of how he remembers his father helping him to learn to ride a bike, and then shepherding him through his first crash, into a basketball post, that same day. I think this shows how strong memories of our first bikes tend to be, and more often then not, they also involve a parent in a similar way. I suspect that anyone who has had a first bike has similar strong memories of time spent on it. Our bikes are generally the first taste of freedom that we are able to recall years after the fact; sure walking usually comes before riding, but generally we are far too young to remember this monumental event in our lives. How about you, what do you remember of that first bike, first ride?

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