This is actually a pretty funny story I am going to tell about my first bike. When I was a couple of months shy of age five I wanted a bicycle desperately. My neighbor had one, a beautiful pink bike with a white plastic basket in the front and a wonderful flowery banana seat. I LOVED her bike.
Everyday I would walk up the street to her house, knock on her door and ask her to play. Simply because I wanted to ride her bike. (And because she had an awesome tree house in her backyard, but that story is for another day) This particular day all the children in the neighborhood were outside riding bikes and skateboards down the street. I lived on the corner of the street, but down the street from my friend . . . down a small hill.
All the children would take their bikes and skateboards and ride as fast as they could down this small hill. All the boys were older and would ride down without holding on to the handlebars. I.WANTED.TO.DO.THIS.TOO!
It was my turn to ride down the small hill on my friend's bike and off I went. I still remember the excitement that I felt going down the hill, pumping my little legs as fast as I could go to gain speed. I remember that I was smiling so wide that my lips were hurting. The sun was shining brightly and toasting my pale skin and it felt wonderful. I sat down on the seat and let my hands go, stretching my arms outward. I heard the screeching of tires. I remember hearing my older brother shouting at me as he and his friends were running down the hill and I tried to grab for the handlebars but couldn't grasp them both and I started to lose control of the bicycle.
I don't remember anything from that point on . . . just waking up in the hospital. I have a couple of flash memories from being wheeled to the operating room and being in the room for surgery . . . but that is it. I remember everything after I woke up and it was not pleasant. At the time this happened I lived in a small town and the Dr made a house call to find out why I was unconscious. I had ruptured my spleen and appendix and was bleeding internally.
Needless to say . . . I was NEVER allowed to ride my friend's beautiful banana seated bike again.
The following summer I still desperately wanted a bike of my very own. My parents absolutely refused. I did not get a new bike that summer.
But the following summer when I was almost seven years old, I once again started the begging for a new bike. No was the only answer I ever received. Mostly because I think my parents were still paying for my medical bills from the previously mentioned accident.
Another neighbor girl approached me and asked me why I did not have a bicycle. I told her why. She nodded her head understanding the dilemma. She then called me over to her garage and showed me her old bike that she never rode anymore (she had a new 10-speed bicycle). I told her with big saucer eyes that it was very pretty. She asked her mom if she could give me her old gorgeous, flowered banana seat, white big basket-ed pink bicycle. Her mom said yes. I was OFF to beg my mom if I could keep it. My mom agreed on the terms that I was to keep my hands on the handlebars AT ALL TIMES. Of course, I agreed.
I ran back to my friend's house and told her that my mom said I could have her old bike. My new bike. My First Bike. I loved it. I was so happy. I was even happier because my older brother DID NOT have a bicycle and I could rub it in his face that I now did!
I rode that bike all over the little town that I grew up in. Telling everyone I saw that my friend had gifted me this bike. Oh, it was a joyous day for me. I took great care of this bike too. I parked it in the garage with the kickstand. I never left it laying about in the grass or out in the rain.
My older brother started to 'steal' my bicycle each morning for his paper route. Stuffing his papers to be delivered into my perfect white basket. I would wake up in the morning and find my bicycle just thrown on the front lawn. Each day the basket would be stretched just a bit more until it started to fray from the overload of the newspapers. I would cry and complain to my parents. I would hide my bicycle. I would shout at my brother. Nothing worked and he continued to use and abuse my gifted bicycle. He ruined that basket until it had to be taken off. The kickstand was broken and the handgrips were torn.
Eventually my brother earned enough money on his paper route to purchase his own brand new 10-speed bicycle. But by then, my bicycle was completely and forever ruined in my mind. And whenever I saw my brother's new bike parked nicely on the sidewalk . . . I always gave it a little kick to tip it over. You know, sisters are like that.
When I lived in Beijing, China in 2005, I purchased a new bicycle reminiscent of my beautiful banana seat bike of my youth. I happily rode it through the streets of Beijing with my big white basket leading the way.