Monday, July 30, 2012

I bought a bicycle this past week. It’s not for recreation, though no doubt it will prove to have recreational value. It’s a necessity—at least in my mind. I quit driving a car at night a few years ago because I could no longer see well enough.. Now it has come to the point that I do not feel I should drive at all. So, I gave my car away; hence the bicycle.

By my calculation, it’s been some sixty-plus years since I’ve ridden a bicycle. I’m aware that the design and fashion of bicycles has changed quite a bit in that time so I decided to find out what those changes are. I went to the internet, the source of all knowledge, and found there enough information to totally confuse me. When I was riding bicycles as a boy, that was exactly what one road—a BICYLE. There were a few variations to please exotic tastes, fillers for cross bars, horns, lights, etc. There were bikes for girls, without crossbars, because girls wore skirts. But they were still just bicycles.

These days, bicycles come in classifications—sort of like cars. There are racing bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, cruisers. And they have gears, some of them twenty-plus gears. There are even hybrid bikes, though I’m not sure of what they are hybrids and whether or not there are classifications of hybrids. And most of them don’t have fenders. I looked through screens full of such devices and became more and more confused. Then, lo and behold, I found the picture of a bike that had, apparently, slipped through the cracks. It had fat tires, fenders, high positioned handlebars, only one speed and a rear carrier. The one in the picture even had a basket on the handlebars. It looked like—a BICYCLE. I picked out one I really liked and noted down the model and its specifications. I could order that bike and have it delivered, the web page told me.

But I felt I was still confused. I decided the best thing to do was go to a store that sold bicycles and get a bit more information. So I did that. In the store I found racks of bicycles, all sorts and kinds, different models for different uses—enough to make me confused all over again. And then I saw it. The bicycle I had seen on line, complete with high handlebars, a rear carrier, fenders and a big, fat seat—a BICYCLE.

I bought it. I had to. Now I have to learn to ride one again. Sixty years is a long time. More about that later.

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