20 May 2013

Riding a Bike


Women with bicycles, c. 1880-1890

I learned how to ride a bike when I was seven years old. My family had recently moved from Philadelphia to a small New Jersey shore town, and we were staying with my grandparents until we could find a house of our own. My grandparents lived in a townhouse, and directly behind their house was another row of townhouses with a driveway in between. This formed a long alleyway that got very little traffic during the day, making it an ideal place to learn how to ride a bike.

My dad went out with me nearly every day to teach me how to ride. I did all right going in a straight line, but corners were more difficult to master. A hazard in the form of a large beachgrass plant made one corner especially tricky--breezes would often blow the long, swaying blades of the grass into my face just as I was trying to turn,

Eventually I conquered that corner, beachgrass and all, and when I did I considered myself to have truly mastered the art of riding a bicycle.

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