Bikes are cool

“Why do we always have to live on a hill?” Andrew huffed as he stood on the pedals of his blue-and-silver bike, which he recently christened “Hottie,” and started up the gentle rise outside our new house. A couple of days prior, we had traded our white colonial with black trim and terraced back yard, situated halfway up a steep hill, for a white colonial with black trim and terraced back yard, situated at the base of a slightly smaller hill. After a chaotic weekend of packing and moving, Andrew hungered for a little attention. Per usual, he didn’t have much trouble convincing me to drag out the bikes, so we set out to explore the new neighborhood.
Andrew lasted only a few pedal strokes before he wound to a halt less than halfway up the hill. “Push me, Daddy!” I dismounted my own bike, planted my palm on the back of his saddle and gave him a shove. After a couple of repetitions, we made it to the top of the hill and turned left to coast down an intersecting street. He teetered a bit on his training wheels as he rounded the corner, then picked up speed down the hill. Near the bottom he jammed on his coaster brake to lay a skid mark, then craned his head around to admire his artwork.
“Watch where you’re going, Andrew!” I shouted as he swerved towards me. I’ve learned not to follow too closely behind, or ride too closely beside him. He has a typical five-year-old’s ability to control direction, and the attention span to match. Despite that, I always wear a grin when we’re riding together. “Hey, you want to turn down this street?” I pointed left.
“Sure,” he responded as he swung his handlebars and pointed. “What does that sign say?”
“I bet you can sound out the first word. Do that, and I’ll tell you what the rest says.”
“N – O – T” he spelled, then went on to sound it out. “nnnn…oh…t. Note?”
“Pretty close, Andrew. It says `Not,’ as in `Not a through street.’ What’s another name for that?”
“Dead end?” He got it on the first try.
“Very good! Let’s go see what’s down there.” We pedaled to the end of the block-long street, waving to a couple of families playing in their front yards, enjoying a cool summer evening. We looped around to head for home, and Andrew made it to the top of the hill without stopping. We turned back onto our street and started coasting home.
“Who invented bikes?” Andrew asked on the way down. I shuffled my mental notes, trying to decide whether to start with Draisines, penny-farthings or the modern pneumatic-tired bike, but he cut me off before I could start. “They’re really cool. Lots cooler than cars.”
My grin widened a couple notches. “They sure are, son.”

3 thoughts on “Bikes are cool

  1. Tim, you’re right, he’ll probably change his mind. Until then, I’m gonna enjoy it!

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