Sunday, April 20, 2014

Red bike, first bike

I think I've only had one red bike.

My first two-wheeler, which started out as a four-wheeler, was red. It was a Schwinn. I was just about to turn four years old. I remember discovering it under the Christmas tree and being very excited. Soon after that Christmas, my father moved out, separating from my mother. Ouch. But he came every weekend, and we took the bike out to Riverside Park across the street, and he gave me riding lessons. I insisted that we put the training wheels back on after every lesson, because I didn't think it was right for it to be a two-wheeler until I had mastered riding. I remember the lessons very clearly and fondly. We had a good time.

When my father was a kid, he wanted a Schwinn very badly. In his mind, there was nothing better than a Schwinn, and he was pretty much correct. I have no doubt that's why my first bike was a Schwinn.
The bike had 16" wheels and chrome fenders and a coaster brake. The tires were solid, i.e. not pneumatic. It seems odd that Schwinn would make a bike with non-pneumatic tires, but they did.
When I was six, my mother and sister and I moved to W 96 St, and my mother had the super reassemble my bike. He put the front fender on backwards so that it hung way out over the front of the wheel, but I didn't realize this until the playground kids pointed it out. I didn't really care.
I learned to make skid marks with the coaster brake. Fun.
Oh wait. I just remembered that before this bike, I had a tricycle, and it was also red. I also remember calling it my "bike," because I didn't want to call it a tricycle, even though it was a tricycle. That sounded too little-kid to me.

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