When I was in third grade I became quite ill and spent 9 months resting (staying in a prone position with no activity). For a few years my activities were limited. Riding a bike was not approved until I started sixth grade. That year I was given a brand new, blue Schwinn bicycle. I rode it to school every day (weather permitting). Contrary to popular opinion, it was not uphill both ways. There was a great steep hill on Elm Street that gave momentum on the way to school but took months to conquer on the ride home. It was, however, a little over a mile both ways.
Last week a friend went into my garage and took that old bike to Russell’s Bike Shop. It was returned last night with new tires and a new basket on the back. It was tempting. But it had been 25 years since I rode that bike. Isn’t there a saying about never forgetting how to ride a bike? Or is it just the one about being as “easy as falling off a bike”?
I decided to try it.
Wobbly. Scary. Moving slowly. Hey, I’m doing it! Out the driveway and down the road. Turning before going downhill because that would mean coming back up the hill and already my legs were yelling at me “What do you think you are doing?” Sometimes, my mind forgets how old and out-of-shape my body is.
When I return from camp I hope to ride the bike a little bit each day, building up some strength in my legs and getting used to riding again. At my age, I need to build up endurance similar to how a runner begins building up strength and stamina to run in a marathon. (Of course, for me, a bike marathon might just be riding to Lindy’s and back.)
As I turned the bike back toward home, I picked up speed and felt the cool breeze on my face. And for a fleeting moment, as I coasted into the lane, I was that little girl again, riding home for lunch, ponytail flying behind me, knowing mom was waiting to hear how my day was going so far. As I put the bike away I was overwhelmed with the passage of time and how God sent me a treasure of memories on the wheels of an old, blue Schwinn bicycle.