The Mighty Schwinn Still Lives

Out from the dust of the attic, I got out my first bike. I remember getting this bike on my 5th Christmas and how hard it was to not ride it until the snow and ice went away for the spring. Dark blue and white shiny fenders, red handle grips, and my own city bike license filled me with pride and excitement. It was my first taste of independence. Mom allowed me to ride my bike to the corner and back as much as I wanted. I remember that feeling of freedom as the wind pushed back my pony tails and kissed my face.

Creative and imaginative me could see worlds not possible until I got the Schwinn to transport me to these places and adventures, even though the corner was just four houses down from my own. The wonder of it all! Racing on fat tires with the sound of baseball cards pinned to the spokes was my favorite sound and feeling as my imagination took me up and down mountains, across rivers, through thick forests to rescue my friend Tommy who lived just down the street. The faster I went the louder the sounds on my bike spokes as the cards clicked back and forth.

And then I grew up. My bike was replaced with bigger and “better” bikes as I grew, but no bike could replace the feeling I had with that Schwinn. I kept it for all these years when the bigger bikes were given away.Rust grew on its fenders, the handle grips are no longer racing red, the shining handle bars are brown from years of moisture and neglect. The fat tires that raced me on my adventures were now flat and cracked. It is considered an antique now.

Yesterday I decided she could be put to better use than cluttering up my attic. I washed and dusted her off, and as I did memories flooded back of a little girl who found magic in this wonderful bike now rusted and broken. She was stationary for so long that she squeaked. Like me, she has grown old, but her imperfections are beautiful. The rust on her bike rims and wheels were well earned and told me stories of years of use and adventures.

Today I made a special place in my garden for my bike. Dusted off and clean, she proudly boasts a special spot in my garden. On her seat is a beautiful basket of flowers. Nature surrounds her. The squirrels have noticed. The birds have noticed the feeder that attaches to the handlebars they perch on. I have given her life again, despite her age.

I’m not that different from my bike. Time has worn me, but I can still be beautiful with new adventures and friends. It’s all good.

I would like to hear about a childhood memory you have held on to. Please write in the comment section.