Did you have a “Christmas Bike” when you were a kid? Maybe it was a birthday for you, but it was the same experience. There it was, shiny and practically vibrating with possibilities. Can you recall the excitement you felt when you saw it? When you knew that now, here and now, this bike was yours!
If your Christmas bike actually arrived on Christmas, I bet you rode it that day. Even though the weather was awful. The excitement was more than you could contain. You couldn’t wait to get on that amazing thing and go for a ride!
At first, you probably weren’t that entire expert in handling your bike. The finer points of starting, stopping, turning, and even watching where you were going pretty much escaped you. But it didn’t matter, riding your bike was fun! It drew you.
Later on, as you became more familiar with your bike, as the excitement wore off, it became a trusted friend. Your bike meant freedom. It took you places. It let you explore your world. Sometimes you rode with no particular destination in mind, simply to enjoy the act of riding. Why? Because it was fun. (You weren’t even aware that you were getting exercise, where you?)
Possibly, some of you started using your bike for more practical purposes. You used it to get to school. (And it was waiting patiently to take you away from school at dismissal time!) If you are one of my contemporaries, you may have used your bike on a paper route, to earn money and another degree of freedom and responsibility. A lot of us used our bikes to get to our very first part time jobs. I know, my first “real bike” helped me buy my next one.
Were you one of the more adventurous types? Did you take your bike off road? Did you go bashing along a trail in the woods? Possibly this trail was just a small dirt path through a thicket of trees between neighborhoods, but to you it was the trail! There was some obstacle on your trail, a ditch, a hill, a really tight turn. This obstacle made you stop and dismount. But you could see from the tracks that others managed to ride over it. One day you tried it. Do you remember how that felt? The fear, the adrenaline, and the incredible exaltation if you made it? Or maybe, like me, you got creamed the first time you tried it. But there was still a day when you did it!
Did your bike take you on long daydreaming rambles. Did you win the Tour de France? Or successfully fight the German Army? Or go roaring through space with the crew of the Enterprise? Come on, be honest. You know you did!
Remember your “Christmas Bike”?
Now here’s a funny thing. All your life you’ve heard folks say, you never forget how to ride a bicycle. It’s true, you never do. But… You do tend to forget just how much unalloyed fun it was. And here’s another secret, it’s even better as an adult. When we were kids, we were like fish in water, we didn’t know we were swimming. As adults, we know too much more. But, and here’s the news, we need the recreation, and the exercise. And our bikes can give us both, along with an that wonderful sense of freedom and joy.
Maybe we all need a Christmas Bike.