First Bike Rides: 1956 and 1992

My first bike ride came in 1956 when I was five years old. Back in those days “free play” was the rule. Mom sent us outside, then called up and down the street when it was time to come home for dinner. On this particular day, some of the older, scruffier kids in the neighborhood decided it was time for me to learn how to ride a two-wheeler, so they put me on the seat, showed me how to steer, and got me going. No training wheels. I don’t remember falling at all, although that’s entirely possible. What I remember is when my Dad came home from work in his two-tone 1954 Chevrolet and observed me riding up the street. He scratched the back of his head and said, “Well, Billy, I guess it’s about time to buy you a bicycle.”

Flash forward several decades.

When our son was about four, I decided to get him a little bike with training wheels. My ace support crew and I took him down to a local bike shop to see what was available. The salesman came over to discuss the possibilities. Just as he said, “Well, four is still a little young even for a bike with training wheels,” young Benjamin hopped on a bike, started pedaling, and—as the automatic doors opened in front of him—rode out into the parking lot and headed for the street before I could catch him.

A few months later, he was ready to ditch the training wheels. I decided the best place to learn was on the soft dirt running track down the street at the elementary school, so my ace support crew and I took him there. I went through the usual routine of holding the back of the saddle and trotting along beside while he figured out how to balance. After a few tries, he decided he was ready to go on his own. Sure enough, he took off like a bat out of hell. After a minute or so he stopped, panting. Then he caught his breath, flew down the track again, but stopped and panted. After repeating that a couple more times, I caught up to him. “Benjamin,” I asked, “are you breathing?” He looked at me and panted. “No, Dad. Was I supposed to?” From that point, he was good to go, and ever since we’ve had a family mantra that gets used on many occasions: “Don’t forget to breathe.”

Benjamin rides in 1992. Not sure about the goofy looking guy with long red hair, big red beard, super short shorts, and pale legs.

They call me Old Grumble-Face. I have no idea why they do that....

4 response to "First Bike Rides: 1956 and 1992"

  1. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: December 19, 2018

    LOL! Great stories!

  2. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: December 20, 2018

    Does Benjamin ride now? Most of us oldies got back into cycling after a couple of decades break.

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: December 20, 2018

      I’m not sure Ben retained much of an interest in bicycling. But I have hope that over the next year or two we might have some new stories about the first rides of the next generation.

  3. By: The Navigator Posted: December 22, 2018

    That’s a nice story, Bill. I hope you can spoil the grandkids with lots of fun rides in the future 🙂

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