Remember the days when your bike was your best friend

Who remembers their first real bike? Not the tricycle kind, but the actual two-wheeled child bicycle? The day you get your first real bike is a day to remember.

The moment I first laid my eyes on my new bike is forever logged into my memory. It was a surprise. And I immediately leapt with joy. It was a classic 1980s bicycle, with the cool curved high metal handle bars with covered yellow hand grippers. It had a bright canary yellow banana seat and on the side panel covering the chain, it spelled out the words “Yellow Dazzler.” All the metal was shiny new. It had two or three red reflectors. The braking was the old traditional foot backwards style on the pedal to stop.

Every day after that, rain or shine, I’d take my new best friend for an adventure. We went all up and down the road, we went to the neighbors, we went into the woods. Then start all over again. And a favorite was making skid tracks on our old gravel driveway. I’d recently learned to balance on a practice bike and did not need training wheels anymore. It seemed like in a matter of days I could ride my new “Yellow Dazzler” like a pro.

Back in these days, you could actually hear cars coming from a distance much easier than present day cars. And then there was a lot less traffic back then. We lived in the country and biking was our main entertainment besides playing baseball.

Going up and down our road was so incredibly fun and relaxing. We could spend a hour or more doing this it seemed. Maybe hours. My siblings and I used a fireman-type relay to call out if a car happened to be approaching towards us. It worked like a charm. And rarely did we even really have to do it.

Time moved much slower back then. Of course, with so many choices for fun, there was always something calling. Be it baseball, catching fireflies or playing marbles.

One cardinal rule was to put your bike back in the garage to keep it out of the rain. Of course, this was common sense, too. Getting a brand-new bike was such a big deal that it was easy to care for it. Oiling the chain and checking the tires was basic maintenance.

Eventually everyone on our road had their own bikes, too. And it was easy to remember whose bike was who’s. Everyone’s bike was a different color and that made it much easier to recall. And there was only one “Yellow Dazzler.”

My best friend and I never crashed. Not one time. Although there may have been quite a couple intentional rides into our thickly soft padded grass ditches for fun. We both always landed softly or rolled right back out into our own yard. Everything on my bike worked like a fine-tuned grandfather clock. Nothing ever broke, nothing ever bent, not even one small dent.

As soon as it had arrived years before, all of a sudden it was time to say goodbye. It was a surprise. My heart leapt with fear. How could I say goodbye to my best friend? I was not good at goodbyes. How to say goodbye to the “Yellow Dazzler?” The whole notion seeming impossible and absolutely soul crushing. Then I was told that it was time to get a new bigger bike. And just think of how happy the next little girl will be to get the shiny yellow bike …

I could imagine how happy that day would be for the next girl. So I did say goodbye to the “Yellow Dazzler” that very day. And that too was a day to remember.


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