Broken Bicycle Dreams


 My Dump Bike Was Cooler.

When I was a kid I had a bike. It was a beautiful blue cruising bicycle. At that time the gear had not yet been invented, so there was no such thing as mountain bikes. At least, this sounds like an elaborate story my Dad would conjure up to tell a kid who was upset about the quality of bicycle she was riding.

I can’t remember how old I was when my Dad drove up with this bike in the back of his truck. I can, however, remember that I was beyond excited to FINALLY learn how to ride a two wheeler. Growing up on a farm a few feet from a major highway, there weren’t many options for me. I could cruise around the hay field (impossible) or I could cycle up and down the 100m driveway. Since my parents did not teach me how to ride my new toy (or maybe they gave up after hours of failure; I can’t remember which story is true), I mastered the act of dropping my bike and scraping my hands and knees on the gravel.

In those days, another thing that was not yet invented was the bicycle helmet. We led very dangerous lives and if it weren’t for my Type A personality and extreme caution, I probably wouldn’t have made it out alive.

I was invincible on my brand new bicycle; an unstoppable heroine.

My Dad would venture to the dump a little more often when his kids were younger. He would bring home all kinds of things to keep us entertained, including the beautiful blue cruising bicycle I have been praising. That’s right, just like my fake Cabbage Patch Doll Kit my Mom made me, my bicycle was a sham!

ASIDE: About a month ago, I saw a photo of my cousin holding a Cabbage Patch Kid and it brought back fabulous memories. My Mom overheard me telling Jack of Most Trades that I had a Cabbage Patch Kid with blonde hair and blue eyes.

“Oh, you thought that was real? I bought the kit with the doll head, nylon and stuffing; it was a lot cheaper. It even came with a birth certificate!”

Another broken dream.

“WHAT?! I did not know this!”

“Come on, no one could tell the difference. We couldn’t afford a REAL Cabbage Patch doll.”

At the time, I felt tricked. I don’t like feeling tricked. Now, I see it in a different light. Just like the bicycle my parents couldn’t afford for a kid that was just going to ride it up and down a driveway for a few minutes, fall, cry, and then give up, that Cabbage Patch Kid was a compromise. They loved us and they wanted their kids to own cool shit. They have shown me that living frugal does not mean living in poverty.

Fast forward to the present . . .

I bought “His and Hers” bicycles today. They were used and yes, they were cheap. Jack and I are going to have a blast on these bikes the one and only time we take them out for a cruise in the subdivision this season. I drove up with the bikes in the back of Jack’s truck and I couldn’t wait for Jack to get home. The snow hasn’t even all disappeared, but I just had to try it out. I have to admit: riding a bike is not just like riding a bike. It’s tough, especially with a flat tire. But you know what? I dig that shit. It kind of reminds me of a simpler time in my life when I owned a dump bike and a counterfeit Cabbage Patch Kid.

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