by Susan W. Goldstein
“Pedal, pedal!” shouted mom as she held onto the handlebars and ran alongside my new bike. My “new” bike was a bubble-wheel used one. I had very practical parents: this is her training bike. Let it take the punishment as she learns. Let it get all dinged and banged and beaten-up before we invest in a nice, shiny blue Schwinn with a little bell and a white, woven basket in front. Maybe even some rainbow streamers from the handgrips! I was so going to rock that bike. As soon as I learned how to ride this sorry-looking ugly one. Sorry, Ugly Bike: but it was true. You were an ugly rusty blood red.
“Pedal, just pedal,” was my poor, winded mother’s mantra as she ran and ran and ran. I was petrified of falling and my feet just wouldn’t cooperate. If I had monkey feet, they would have been grasping those pedals as tightly as if I were hanging upside down.
I don’t believe that my mom was accustomed to such exertion, but she was determined to get me riding. Had I known how much I would love the exhilaration of biking, I would have made a greater effort to overcome my wussiness.
The afternoon progressed from Mom’s smiling encouragement to teeth-baring growls of “Just pedal the bike.” Did I finally take pity on mom or did something just click? Either way, I was ready and shouted, “Let go! I can do it!” And I began to pedal. I was riding a bike! Steering would be next on our agenda, as I glided right into the side of a parked car and crashed to the ground. It was ok. I had ridden a bike! My Schwinn was finally within reach.
PHOTO: “Pedal of old bike” by Sergey Khamidulin, used by permission.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Ideas just pop into my head; poems used to pour fourth fully completed. The older and wiser I get, the harder the process becomes. Don’t put too much thought into thinking. This particular memory that I chose left an indelible mark in my heart. My mom was my greatest cheerleader.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan W. Goldstein never had the pleasure of teaching her two sons how to ride bikes; they were born with natural grace and biking abilities. In addition to biking, Susan writes essays and flash-fiction for various on-line publications, including MAW [Mothers Always Write] and … Silver Birch Press! [check out her infamous, “Miss Frizzle” escapade].