in Geezer, Parks and Rec

Bike graduation

Travis hot-dogging on his red bike, June 2013.

Travis hot-dogging on his red bike, June 2013.

While Kelly was away for the weekend visiting a friend, the kids and I had a couple of opportunities this past weekend to go for bike rides. This opened up an opportunity for me to try the kids on larger bikes. When we rode downtown for Artsplosure on Sunday, Hallie rode Kelly’s bike while Travis rode my mountain bike (I rode my road bike). Both kids crowed at how easy it was to ride the bigger bikes, leading me to conclude it was time to go bike shopping.

Yesterday afternoon, Kelly found a very nice Trek bike being sold on Craigslist. After some discussion, she fetched it and brought it home to present to Hallie. More bike talk ensued, with Travis getting eyes for making my mountain bike his. While I’m not yet ready to yield my bike to him, we did agree that it was time to part with his red sport bike.

Kelly promptly wheeled it into the crawlspace and then stopped. So many happy memories came flooding back to her that she had to stop and appreciate it all. She was so touched that she had to pause and write it all down, tears streaming down her face. Reading what she wrote I couldn’t help but get choked up, too.

She reminded me of our long history with Travis’s red bike. Right after we moved into this house I had gone hunting on Craigslist for a basketball goal. I found one in Durham being sold by a family who was moving out of the country. As I was leaving they made me a deal on their kids’ two bikes. Though they were way too big for the kids at the time, I brought them home and stored them in the crawlspace until they were ready.

Travis loved his bike from the day I brought it home. He was too little to ride it so he would ask to visit it from time to time. We would bring it out and he would practice sitting on it, dreaming of the day he was big enough to ride it.

Then one day he was big enough to ride it, and he took off bound for everywhere! Through the neighborhood, through 22 mile rides along Raleigh’s greenways, at the beach, along dozens of miles of Virginia Creeper trail, the boy rode everywhere. He soon mastered riding with no hands and the bike and him were inseparable. During a lull in afternoons he would often ask to just go outside and ride around. I spent many, many happy hours riding behind him and his sporty red bike.

Bikes are curious things. Though I spend far more time in a car I’ve never felt particularly attached to any. Bike are different, though. Bikes become part of us. There are different bikes for different stages of life. Bikes are an extension of our bodies. They’re personal. After all, no one ever trades in their car because they’ve outgrown it.

Of course, I felt the same way about Travis’s previous bike, the little green one that he used to leave skid marks along the sidewalks of the neighborhood of Windsor Forest. Now the red bike joins it in the hall of fame and Kelly and I are reminded yet again of how quickly and cruelly these precious moments fly by.