When I was a little girl there was no money for new bikes, so my dad bought me one from a junk heap in some guy's backyard. I remember his last name was Hamm, and my bike cost $10.00, and I could still point out the house we bought it from in Martensville. I also remember him telling me that he'd fix it up nice for me, and picking out the can of sky blue spray paint from Canadian Tire. He bought me a plastic white basket and rainbow streamers for the handle bars.
I loved that bike.
I've been wanting to buy one like it for years now, but I've never found one that was the exact right whimsical shade of blue. And if it was the right colour, then it wasn't the right style of bike. Lately though, I've seen more and more old fashioned looking bikes. Last year there was a red one at the lake that I thought about stealing and spray painting more than once.
And then today as Hannah and I were walking to pick up our van from the garage where it was getting a tire fixed, a girl drove past me on "my" bike. So of course, I screamed at her, "WHERE DID YOU GET THAT BIKE!?!?!?!" I was expecting to hear that it was from somewhere I couldn't get to, sometime years ago, for some price that I couldn't afford. But it was from Canadian Tire. She'd bought it the day before. On sale. And I could afford it. Guess how quickly I drove over there after I picked up our van?
I paid for it and wheeled it out of the store and it was MINE. I pushed it around the corner. I didn't want anyone around to watch my first attempt to ride it. I haven't rode a bike since I lived in Martensville. I had this fear that I was going to be the person who would prove the adage "It's like riding a bike!" wrong. But of course, like everyone else, I remembered... Riding a bike really is just like riding a bike.
That first block I laughed the whole way. I couldn't help it. Once I got the laughing under control I still couldn't wipe the ridiculous smile off my face. I felt ten years old all over again. And imagine my delight when I realized there were no hand breaks or fancy gears. To stop I pedal backwards. Just like in the old days when life was no more complicated than which colour to paint my new bike, and we put those cards from packs of gum on our tires with clothespins, and tossed poor Jynx into a backpack to bring to the store for company. The basket came with the bike, all I need now are some rainbow streamers.
Happy. This bike makes me feel happy right down to my toes.
I hope dad can see me riding it.