I recently did something I haven't done in probably 20 years. It’s crazy that 20 years can go by so fast, it seems like just yesterday. I didn’t forget how…it was like riding a bike; because it was riding a bike. It brought back so many memories from when I was a kid. Riding around the lake by our house over and over again. Dodging the geese that would chase us, hissing. Riding uphill to the Tom Thumb down the street and spending all my money on a “Seventeen” magazine and candy. Those were such simpler times, good times.
Fast forward 20 years. My kids had been asking if my husband and I could get bikes so we could go on bike rides together. I immediately started envisioning us riding around together and all the grand adventures we would have. Everyone would be all “Oh, look at how much fun they are having, she’s the best mom ever.” OK. So maybe it wouldn’t be quite like that, but I thought it was a good idea. Despite all my dreams of being the best, bike-riding mom ever, I didn’t want to really spend much money on a bike because I wasn’t actually sure how much it would get used. With the realities of life, I didn’t know how many adventures we could truly squeeze in during the few short months of summer, especially with nothing to transport the baby with. A couple months ago, my dad was cleaning out his garage again and trying to get rid of old stuff that was taking up space. He likes his garage spic-an-span, so he was dying to get rid of anything that wasn’t getting used regularly. My mom had an old, teal bike that she probably got 25 years ago. It has the words “Zacko” written down the center bar. I don’t even know what that means…if it is the brand, I’ve never heard of it. But then again, I don't know much about the biking world. It had sat stationary in my parent’s garage for years just collecting dust. My dad asked if I wanted it, and I thought BINGO! Perfect timing. That is a cheap way to see if I like this biking thing. Can’t beat free!
Good Old Zacko is teal blue with yellow letters, slightly rusty, very dusty, and fully equipped with a kickstand and black metal water bottle holder. It even had the extra cushiony seat for my bony butt. Fancy. Aside from the little bit of rust on it, it was overall in pretty good shape. I don’t think my mom had any major bike incidents with it. My dad delivered it to me a couple months ago. There it was in all its 90’s glory sitting in MY garage. Zacko was mine…and there it sat for about two months before I got up the courage to actually ride it. I just wasn’t so sure I could even do it anymore. They say you never forget, but I was skeptical.
Last week, our neighbor was going on a bike ride with her two kids to the park a couple miles away. My older two relentlessly begged me to go along; they can be very convincing. It was nice Friday night…nothing else really to do. I didn’t have a good reason to say no, so… I not so confidently said yes. I ran upstairs and put on my royal blue, full-body spandex suit and matching fanny pack and I was ready to go. Biking is a fashion show, right? Ha….hell no. There was no spandex. Thank goodness.
Now, it was time. The big moment had arrived…It was time to actually get on the bike and ride. I hopped on that bad boy and down the driveway I went screaming all the way. I wish someone had recorded my face. It was probably sheer terror as I soared down the driveway into the street. I was a little wobbly at first and I kind of forgot how to steer. I nearly ran into a parked car because Zacko turned more than I thought when steering! But I quickly got the hang of it. I guess the saying is right, you never forget how to ride a bike. I may be a little rusty, but I got this.
So, off we went, me, the neighbor pulling her baby trailer, and all three kids under 8. We all rode like the wind down the street swerving and zig-zagging all over. The kids were far ahead of us. I think the neighbor was trying to be nice and go at my “beginner” pace. As we went along, I noticed that old Zacko made a clanking sound when I peddled. Hmmmm…I don’t think it is supposed to do that. Who cares. Nothing has fallen off yet, so I think I’m good. We got to the first stop sign which was just one block away from where we started. One of the girls needed a break already. She was too thirsty to continue. Good grief. This is going to be a long ride. We all got re-hydrated after the strenuous one block trek and carried on our way to the park. It’s funny because everyone that walked by on the trails or drove by us on the street was smiling at us...or laughing at our little freak parade darting all over the sidewalk, stopping and going because someone couldn’t get up a hill, yelling at someone else to stop at the corner and watch for cars, and avoiding countless near crashes between all the bikes. Must have been very entertaining for the neighborhood.
When we finally made it to the park, we wanted to park our bikes in the bike rack which was just around the corner in the back of the bathroom building. I slowly tried to get off the bike and somehow (I still don’t know exactly how this happened) my foot got caught up on the back tire and I lost my balance. There I was…tendering, knowing I was about to fall. There was no stopping it now. So, down I went, flat on my face and my green water bottle flew off into the grass. Leave it to me to fall off my bike when it was at a dead stop. I have a history of falling out of moving things when they are not moving (my good friend will agree with that) There I was laying on the ground, a little embarrassed. The kids were concerned I was hurt. I just laughed, got up, and parked that bad ass street cruiser in the front of the bike rack like a champ. I felt like I should have had a bike lock, that Zacko is some hot merchandise right there. Off to the park we went, laughing at my fall all the way.
I would have to say that my first bike ride in 20 years was an overall success. Other than the stationary fall and a sore butt next day, it went surprisingly well. It has been way too long since I felt like a kid and just had fun. The wind in my hair as I flew down the road just like when I was young. I truly enjoyed it, and so did the kids. A big thank you to the neighbor for inviting us along! It was a blast. Let’s do it again soon!