THE LULU CHRONICLES
When I was ten-years–old, one Friday night, my parents took my brother and me to Montgomery Wards and bought us both a bicycle. It was so exciting because it wasn’t our birthdays or Christmas or anything. It was just an ordinary Friday night. Our bikes were twins, meaning mine was a female version of my brothers. My first ‘big’ bike. I had been limping along with the same bike that had had my training wheels—minus the training wheels now. And, if its chain had falling off once, it had fallen off a bazillion times. But, now, I had moved up to the big leagues. My beauty had a big tubular belly, fenders, a ‘tow seat’, and neatest of all neats, a headlight. Actually, that bike looked a lot like LuLu does now, except my Wards was teal.
It was the beginning of summer and I bet you I put a hundred miles a week on those fat tires for the next three months. I biked everywhere that summer. If my mom needed bread or milk, I was the first to volunteer. Off to the Seven/Eleven I rode. I ventured far beyond my neighborhood and explored unknown territories. Like the swamp where I met my first up-close and personal alligator (remember I grew up in Florida). I was a ‘ditch explorer’ so if I got wind of a new ditch being put in, I’d be the first one there after the workers left to crawl down into that big, shiny, new tunnel underneath the road. I caught my best tadpoles in those things. And, it was amazing how far one could travel if one didn’t constantly have to stop and finagle a bike chain back on. My best friend, Loopie and I were a matched set all summer, as our bikes became our wings. Did you ever play hide & seek on a bike? We did. Races around the block became an evening ritual when five or six of us would meet at the corner after supper. Cops & Robbers was another favorite.
But in that entire summer, I never once thought about riding my bike as ‘exercise’. It never crossed my lips to say, “I guess I better go give my heart a good workout.” And as for my cowgirl back then, I had ‘bike-cowgirl’ for maybe three seconds. Ah, to be ten again. However, every time I hop in LuLu’s saddle a little part of me is transported back to that summer; to a time when joy was to be had just by a little pedal down the road.
How about you? Tell me about your first ‘big’ bike. What did she look like? What magical places did she take you?
See you next week. By the way, I’m changing my post days to Tuesdays and Thursdays. I hope you’ll keep joining me on those days. So, see you next Tuesday.