Silhouette of cycling on sunset background

Bumpy Rides
by Linda O’Connell

When Dad brought home a discarded two wheeler — the same color as my overprotective mother’s dark thoughts — I mounted the seat and squealed with delight.

Mom shouted, “No!”

Dad said, “Aw, let her go. She’s eight years old.” His hand steadied me down the block.

My knobby knees banged the handlebars with each pedal push. I tried hard to balance the inequities of my rotten life. When Dad turned loose, I crashed into the sweet-smelling honeysuckle, and cried and cried when he said, “Wish I’d found this two years ago when it would have fit you better.” He hauled it to the alley for the next junk picker to find for his kid.

Ten years later, I bought my own bike, zoomed off, hit a hurdle, flipped over the handlebars, knocked the diamond out of my wedding ring, the air out of me, and vowed never to ride again.

I broke my vows and remarried in middle age. My sweet baboo and I bought 10-speed bikes. I needed more padding on my gel seat, so I ripped open the seam on a toss pillow, slipped it over my seat, and away we rode, together, forever… down to the five mile trail. We huffed and puffed  back up hill, pulled into the driveway exhilarated, exhausted, and examined my seat to see why my hind end hurt.

A trail of snow white bits of stuffing dotted the neighborhood. In hindsight, I’d say that was the best bike ride of my life.

PHOTO: “Biking at Sunset” by yotrakbutda, used by permission.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda O’Connell lives in St. Louis, Missouri. She is a multi-genre writer, on-line writing instructor, and former teacher whose 200+ poems, articles, and essays appear in regional, national, and international publications. In pedaling down Memory Lane, she realized provocative writing is like a skinned knee when you fall off your bike. The bumps and bruises disappear, but the memories remain.