I was taught how to ride a bike by my older brother at 5 years old and he was 14 years old. My mother made him teach me and he was not happy about it. Sure he had better things to do than teach his baby sister how to ride a bike. I have some memories of this experience and my sister has filled me in on the rest. He had me on training wheels for 2 days and then lost patience and decided it was time for me to try it without the wheels on the third day. He promised me he would stay next to me and watch in case I fell. So obedient as I was I did as he said. My sister who was 9 was outside and said after I started a girl in short shorts came along and my brother got distracted by her, staring. I lost my balance and fell down on the pavement. There was a lot of blood and crying. He took me to my mother who screamed at him for what seemed like ages. I was taken to the hospital and got stitches. My brother got me an ice cream from his lawn mowing money after as he felt bad.
I rode this old bike for a little over a year and knew it was all I had. Now most of my friends had new shiny bikes so I was jealous of them. Asked my mom for a new bike for my birthday the following summer and she told me no. My birthday came and my grandparents gave me a new 16 inch girls pink Schwinn bike with a banana seat and a bell to ring! I was so excited and surprised. Now that I think about it don’t think my parents were too happy about it and was told my grandparents just bought it for me without consulting them. I did not care that my parents were not smiling as the bike was all I could think about. Asked to go down the street and get my best friend to show her. She was an only child so always got new stuff before me. I give her credit though she was always excited for me when I got new stuff. She screeched and jumped up and down with me. I hugged and kissed my grandparents. After they left asked if I could go on a bike ride with my friend, Holly.
We went around the block showing our friends my new bike and it felt great! I did not get a lot of new stuff being the last of 4 kids so this was a bit thing for me. I remember peddling very fest and coasting down a big hill and what a feeling. The banana seat felt so much better than the old bike’s seat and felt like i was flying. The next day since we were on summer vacation got to pedal my bike with my older sister and our friends to the beach. My mom put a white wicker basket on my bike that she bought and put my towel and stuff in there. I also got a bike lock to use in unsafe places. I got to the beach and chained my bike up and my sister told me that was stupid. I told her it was new and someone could steal it. She just laughed at me. We swam and then peddled out bikes to get an ice cream a few blocks away. In the 1960s you were safe peddling around that neighborhood. I sat on my bike there and ate my ice cream so proud of that bike.
All summer long we biked here, there and everywhere. My grandparents had a cottage down on the Cape so spent two weeks with them and brought my bike. That was a new freedom instead of walking to the little store to get candy or their paper. My beach friends loved my bike as well and we took rides along the water with my grandparents who also had bikes. Loved cruising on my bike with the sea air in my face.
I will always remember that bike as it was my first new bike that was mine. When I see the Schwinn bikes with the banana seats I smile and get that feeling again when I was 7 years old!!