Since beginning this daily cycling endeavor in 2016, a handful of recurring memories cross my mind when I ride. They might involve people, places, or situations I’ve found myself in. Some of those memories are negative, some positive, but if they are there at all, it means they’re indelible. There’s one memory though, that has visited me more than any other. It never stays long, but it shows up nearly every day.  

In 1967 I lived in Morris Plains New Jersey. My father, a marketing executive in the banking industry, was one of the original members of United Airlines 100,000 Mile Club. Dad often left town on Monday or Tuesday and would return on Thursday or Friday. It was just the way of life for the man in the gray flannel suit. 

Every so-often I’d need my dad for some kind of dad-chore during the week. If he was out of town though, I’d as my mom. If she couldn’t fulfill the request, she’d come straight at me with…

“You’ll just have to wait till your father gets back…”

That was always enough to dissuade me from badgering her further. If dad wasn’t around to do it, and if mom couldn’t do it, I usually found a way to get it done anyway. 

I was 5-years old and went to half-day kindergarten in the mornings. After school I usually hung out with my two friends, Ben and Gail — classmates from kindergarten and each lived a few houses away on my street. We would play on the swing-set in Gail‘s backyard, watch the black-and-white Zenith television in my rec room, and ride our small bikes on the street between our driveways. Among the many things Gail, Ben, and I had in common, were training wheels on our little bikes. 

One day, after Gail and Ben left my driveway back to their respective houses, I decided I didn’t want training wheels any longer. I went inside and asked my mom if she could take them off. That’s when I got the…

“You’ll just have to wait till your father gets back…”

My father was out of town and wouldn’t return until the weekend. I don’t remember exactly how long it took, but after my mom declined to remove my training wheels, I found myself in the garage — with my bike tilted up on one side.

I found a small brick in back of the garage. I held the brick with both hands and began striking the exposed training wheel to bend upward — until it would no longer be capable of touching the ground. It only took a few strikes. I then flipped the bike over and did the same thing with the opposite training wheel. Moments later I was on the street attempting to ride my bike with no training wheels — for the very first time.  

It didn’t go so well. 

I more or less walk/rode my bike several houses up to Gail’s house, where she and her dad were standing in their driveway. I showed them what I had done to my training wheels. Gail‘s dad stepped away briefly and returned with some wrenches. Within a few minutes, my training wheels were properly removed. A couple minutes later and Gail’s dad was holding my shoulders and helping me balance while I rode without training wheels for the first time. It didn’t take long before Gail‘s dad let go and I was rolling, however awkwardly, on my own. I never looked back. 

A few days later, when my father returned, I explained that Gail‘s dad had removed the training wheels. I expected him to be upset, but if he was, he showed no sign of it. After I told him, he took me outside and wanted to see me ride. I made a few passes up and down the street in front of the house. I clearly remember him clapping as he told me how proud he was of me. That is precisely where my memory of riding that bike stops. 

It was a small red and white bike, possibly a Schwinn. I have no memory of riding it after that day — none, though I’m certain I rode it most every day. A couple takeaways from that experience are these…

1- Along with my first visit to a weight room, that was probably the most significant day of my life.

2- I remember riding my bike that day, but I have no memory of riding any day after. It’s amazing, the things we remember — and the things we forget.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 209

Climbing: 7,900’

Mph Avg: 14.9

Calories: 11,800

Seat Time: 14 hours 04 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Joan Armatrading. Enjoy…

4 thoughts on “Independence Day…

  1. Loved the story, Roy! This: ” It’s amazing, the things we remember.” Sometimes, I wonder what makes those choices. That could be an entire branch of psychology.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fond memories Roy, great story. Sometimes smells, and especially music of my days take me back to a time and place of good and not so good memories. The summer of 1974 brings back good memories of my summer crush.

    Liked by 2 people

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