How I Learned to Ride a Bike

Sam BralleyStarred Page By Sam Bralley, 7th Sep 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/o7emtp3f/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Kids

In the childhood story, "How I learned to Ride a Bike" I attempt to convey the love and solidarity enjoyed by family members during those critical ‘growing-up’ years in rural America during the early 1950’s. The experiences and the knowledge gleaned would be carried throughout the lives of this loving family.

My sister's bike was old and awkward...

My sister Peggy was the only one of us kids to receive a new bike. But that didn’t stop the rest of us from learning to ride. It was a girls bike after all, but mom and dad said we couldn’t afford to get a new one when it came time for my brothers to learn to ride since dad was no longer working for the government, so in turn all three of us boys learned how to ride on my sister’s somewhat antiquated ‘amazon’ of a bike. I say that because it was nothing like the bikes of today, light weight, sleek, fast— The bicycle on which we boys learned to ride was more like a tank. It was heavy, awkward, and I believe it must have come over on the Mayflower. But, it was a bike none the less and even I became a proficient rider, after a while and many attempts.

'No' training wheels...

That old bicycle was a 28 incher, taller than the ones today. It was a big bike and back then there was no such thing as ‘training wheels. Either you balanced yourself and stayed up or you lost your balance and went down. I remember that when I first started I couldn’t even sit on the seat and reach the pedals with my feet. I think I must have been about eight years old and my older brother Jack already knew I was just ‘itchin’ to learn how to ride. There was a slight rise to the street in front of our house and all the guys in the neighborhood first learned to ride their bikes there. I remember hearing you need to be moving to maintain your balance plus, Jack had said when the time was right, he would teach me all I needed to know and I was beginning to feel, it was time. So, one day after supper, when I couldn’t stand it any longer, I ask Jack to teach me to ride.

The time had come.

As I was pushing that big ole bike up the street Jack was reminding me to always look straight ahead, don’t look down. Keep my mind on what I was doing. Hold the front wheel steady and don’t take my hands off the handle bars. We got to the top of the hill and Jack looked me in the eye and said, “Are you ready—“, I guess I said I was as I turned the bike around and looked down that long street just in front of me. I was somewhat glad that it was at least a girl’s bike since I could stand and place one foot on the pedal while Jack held the bike steady for me. He said he would be running right beside me and I wouldn’t have a thing to worry about. I remember later I wish he hadn’t said that.

The time had come and all the things Jack had told me over the past several weeks were racing around in my head. Do this, don’t do that, I just hoped I could remember and keep it all straight. I could feel the bike shaking a little as he pushed me off and I lifted my left foot off the ground finally finding the left pedal. He kept repeating the do’s and don’ts and I remember hearing Jack say I was doing fine as I picked up speed. It seemed like his voice was no longer beside me but was rather coming from behind me some distance away… There was one thing I don’t remember Jack telling me as I raced down that hill in front of the house and I screamed “where’s the brakes and how do you slow this thing down?” Mom must have heard me as I pasted by the front door of our house and I felt the front wheel pulling to the right just a little. Jack was shouting something from behind me but I couldn’t make it out as I ran into the hedge at Mrs Bronson’s, our neighbor. The bike didn’t fall over and I remember hearing mom saying to Jack “you’ve killed my baby.” He was laughing as he said, “He’s okay mom,” as he pulled me and the bike out of those tall bushes. I guess that was what kept me from falling over and getting hurt more for I come out with just a few scratches.

How I miss those times...

That’s when he told me that when I want to slow down, to just push backward on the pedals and that would engage the break. My feelings must have been all that was hurt that day because I got back on that bike the very next day and by lunchtime was starting and stopping that ole bike almost as well as my big brother Jack…

© 2011 SamSonS

Tags

Breaks, Brother, Family, Girls Bicycle, Handle Bars, How To, Jack, Love, Pedals, Training Wheels

Meet the author

author avatar Sam Bralley
Hi,
I'm Sam, and welcome to my page. I'm retired from the USPS and I like to meet people through writing. Hope you enjoy yourselves and please rate my offerings.

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Comments

author avatar Steve Kinsman
8th Sep 2011 (#)

Great story Sam. Took me back to the late forties when my dad taught me.

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author avatar Sam Bralley
8th Sep 2011 (#)

thanks so much Steve for you fine comments...

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author avatar Carol
8th Sep 2011 (#)

Oh Sam what wonderful memories you share with us.! I remeber my parents bought me a new bike whenI was 11 because I passed my 11 plus, but like you, before that I had old ramshackle things that I thought were wonderful at the time!

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author avatar Sam Bralley
8th Sep 2011 (#)

thank you Carol for sharing your kind remembrances. We didn't get everything we wanted maybe, but now we look back and feel we wouldn't change a thing...

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author avatar Val Mills
10th Sep 2011 (#)

Oh the memories, we seem to have learned to ride a bike at the same time. All these later I'm still riding. I enjoyed your story.

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author avatar Sam Bralley
10th Sep 2011 (#)

thanks Val for the visit and for sharing. Was ask recently if I ever got myself a bike and I'm happy to say, I did- I was 54 when I bought my first bike and I still have it...

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author avatar Retired
19th Sep 2011 (#)

oh how enjoyable!

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author avatar Sam Bralley
19th Sep 2011 (#)

Thanks so much Rebecca...

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author avatar Godwill
27th Sep 2011 (#)

Good old memories. Thanks for the share.

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author avatar Sam Bralley
27th Sep 2011 (#)

thanks so much for the kudos, good to see you again...

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author avatar johnnydod
30th Sep 2011 (#)

This brings back memory's to me Tom

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author avatar Sam Bralley
1st Oct 2011 (#)

thanks so much johnny. My writings seem to behave that way with many who read. Appreciate your kindness...

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author avatar Shivam_
6th Oct 2011 (#)

nice and cute

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author avatar D in The Darling
9th Nov 2011 (#)

I don't give up so easily but hey I did. I fell badly the very first time I tried riding a bicycle and called it quits. Up to now, I don't know how to ride it.

So, this is a nice article to me! Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Sam Bralley
10th Nov 2011 (#)

*thanks Shivam for your comments...
*and thank you D in The Darling for sharing your reminisce. You still have time to learn to ride; you'd love it...

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