Friday, October 16, 2015

Hometown Memories: Learning To Ride A Bike

"Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming!"
- Joseph B. Wirthlin -


The other day when the most amazing man in the world and I returned from running some errands, I saw my next door neighbour helping her young daughter (who must be about five) learn to ride a bike without training wheels. Mom was holding onto the back of the bicycle as she gently pushed the youngster along, gradually increasing the speed enough for the bike to remain upright without support. She began letting go but sprinted alongside as her daughter took off on her own. Mom continued to call out encouraging words as the little girl rode off and, no doubt, shed a tear or two in-between.

I found myself overwhelmed with emotion as I witnessed this classic rite of passage because it brought to mind the day I learned to ride a bike with the help of the most devoted and kind and patient man: my father. It seems like only yesterday that he was holding onto the back of my bicycle, pushing me along and encouraging me to take flight. And when I finally did, he cheered me on; joy and pride and love so evident in his voice.

The most important thing in the world to my father was his family.

It’s been over eight years since my father left this world but the heartwarming memories he left behind, memories such as this one, live on forever. It is the greatest gift he ever gave me.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

(Please share memories of your own bike-riding (or other) experiences.)

34 comments:

  1. I love when you write about stuff like this. I think it was one of my grandpas that got me my first bike and I don't recall learning. I'm reaching back far into my brain, and I cannot recall learning, but I can recall riding A LOT. Both grands were in the same down but blocks over. So lots of riding back and forth.

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    1. (I can't see a way to write a regular comment, so I'll just "reply" to this one.)

      I don't remember learning to ride a bike, with two older brothers maybe it just happened by osmosis. But my dad died earlier this year and I told the story at his funeral of how he taught me to drive. I was very young and sat on his lap and just did the steering while he handled the pedals and the gears! The streets around our home were very quiet, but still! I'm sure that would be very very illegal now. When I was much older I learned gears and pedals on a paddock and in country lanes.

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    2. Hey Wonder Woman! I love writing up stuff like this. Takes me back in time to some really great moments. You were so lucky to have your grandparents close like that. I bet you have a lot of memories from spending time with them. Mine lived thousands of miles away and I only saw them once in my life.

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    3. That sounds like a heartwarming memory with your dad. It's these moments that we hang onto when they're gone.

      For some reason, the comment box doesn't show up for some. I've had the same problem on other blogs. What works for me is to hit the back button on those sites. And suddenly the comment box appears. Weird. You might want to give that a go and see what happens.

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  2. What a sweet story! We were poor growing up, friends of my mom's gave her 2 bikes that were their grown children's. They were in good shape. We live in a house with a grassy backyard. My brother and me for hours practiced riding and falling, but we did learn how to ride the bikes.

    Betty

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    1. Sounds like such a lovely time, Betty. We were also poor growing up. It didn't matter. We had a very loving home and didn't even notice.

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  3. What a heartwarming post, thanks for sharing!

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  4. Martha - having just yesterday spent time with my dear dad who is now 90yr I can so relate to this post. It is exactly what he did when encouraging me to take those first wobbly wheels without stabilisers on. He would run next to me, but of course wasn't always holding on. Of course parents repeat the same as their children also learn to ride.

    Another great memory I have is learning to roller skate in my Great Aunt's green house ... strange place to learn to skate but it worked. I used to hold on to the edge of the seed beds and skate along, they were just at the right height for me, and worked a treat ... I don't remember stumbling / falling too much.

    Happy Memories that stay with us - just great.

    Happy Weekend Wishes

    All the best Jan

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    1. These are such wonderful memories, Jan. Thank you so much for sharing them! I remember those old roller skates. So different from what the kids use today. Hope your weekend is going well!

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  5. My father had a much different method. He's make us go real fast and hope we didn't crash. I never liked this and refused to be taught that way. When he died, I taught myself how to ride a bike when I was ready to get back on.

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    1. Sounds like you found a way that works for you. I wouldn't want to be taught that way either.

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  6. Wonderful memories to cherish Martha!

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  7. My Dad taught me how to ride my first bike in our backyard using exactly that time-honoured method! I think I was seven.

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    1. These are such special memories, Debra. It's bittersweet looking back.

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  8. Oh, Martha! My first attempt at riding a bike ended disastrous! It was not funny at the time but it is now. I was being pushed along and my dad let go. Only I hadn't yet learned how to use the brakes. Down the hill I went, through the cross street (no traffic, thank god!) and over the embankment. I still have a scar on my knee! I clearly remember the handle bars shaking as I fought for control then.....zigzagging...whoosh! .... zip!.... (airborne!) .... crash, bang, rollover. Come to a rest. TEARS!

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    1. OHMYGOSH...I actually pictured the whole thing in my head from the way your wrote your comment. HOLYFLIPPINCOW...you must have been scared to death. And traumatized.

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  9. I am so glad you had such a lovely dad. Is you mom still living? If she is she must miss him terribly.

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    1. Yes, my moms is still alive. And she misses him terribly. They were such a wonderful couple and it is so heartbreaking that one of them was left behind. They should have grown very VERY old together and departed close together. It's very sad.

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  10. This is a beautiful post Martha! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mary. It's really nice to see you here! I hope you are well.

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  11. A nice tribute to your Dad. Yes. we hope so hard for success for our kids and then they are gone just like learning to ride a bike.

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  12. What a heartfelt post, Martha.
    Having two older sisters I learned to drive their bicycle. It was a BIG green one....a girls bike but I didn't care. I think I taught myself by practicing up and down the sidewalk. I remember I couldn't sit on the seat because I was so small......maybe 7. The next year I got my own boys bike....a brand new blue one!!

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    1. It must have been very exciting at your place with so many brothers and sisters. And fun, too!

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  13. Neat to see the family photo...and your father sounds like a wonderful man.

    When I was 5 an older couple who were like extra grandparents bought me a bike. My parents didn't think I was quite ready yet, so it sat in storage for a while...until I could learn to stop chewing on my fingernails! Eventually I did break the habit, and had a lot of fun learning to ride (my papa taught me too). I remember taking breaks from homeschooling, and we'd go on bike rides together around our neighborhood in Portland. Sometimes we'd go down to the Willamette River...on one back route there were the most delicious blackberries growing wild!

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    1. What a lovely story, Bethany! Those are memories that you will cherish forever. And that's what we remember about people we love. My father was a wonderful man with a big heart; so kind and patient. Not a day goes by that I don't think about him. And not a day goes by that I don't remind myself to be thankful for having had such an amazing father.

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  14. What a wonderful tribute to a much loved man. He is still with you encouraging you with every step you take.

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    1. You bet, Gail. He is and always will be with me. I'm so grateful for having had such a man as a father.

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  15. Ah, this brings me back memories too.
    My father bought and installed the training wheels for me.
    But my mom was the one who took it off my bike.
    My dad was still studying in uni then...

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    1. That is special! Each one contributed in a different way.

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  16. “The other day when the most amazing man in the world and I returned from running some errands…” well, that is just truly a special way to begin a sentence ;) i have great memories of riding a bike while little, and not so little. i also lost my dad. tremendous similarities of grief and life, though i am a tad younger than you. this life is interesting, ya know ;) glad i found your blog and your posts are always like chatting with an old pal. that is a very special sighting, my fave memories though, were with my mom and the library. something we still do and are happy to be the most eager readers we know <3

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    1. This life truly is interesting. I'm sorry about your dad and that we share that grief. Dads are quite special.

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