Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"New" bike and old memories

This weekend we cleaned up a dusty, slightly rusty bicycle from my parents' garage. Twenty years ago, as a child, I lived in Tokyo for a few years. When we moved back to the U.S., my parents brought back a couple of the simple, everyday Japanese bikes we were riding. This is one of them:

Gabriella  fits on it  (as does my 5'1'' mother, who used to ride it in Japan). It is a single-speed with 22" tires, a rear drum brake, and front side pull caliper brake. (Thanks Google, for teaching me about bicycle brakes!) It also has several wonderfully practical things: fenders, bell, chainguard, skirtguard, and... 

Front basket and generator light. Notice how the basket is attached to the front fork and how the support bends around the light. 

Bike lock-- not engaged.

Bike lock-- engaged. It prevents the wheel from moving. I remember these dinky locks on every bike.

Kickstand that keeps the bike super stable.

As we played with the bike, I enjoyed the memories of Japan that it brought back. Bike-related memories include watching my mother learn how to ride a bike on a BMX-type bike pilfered from the garbage heap and my being very embarrassed about it. I also remember the huge bike parking lot near our local train station and the attendant whose job it was to smash all the bikes close together and then, when you needed your bike back, to help you weasel it out. I remember too a park designed as a mini-city with traffic lights, road signs, etc. that you rode your bike around in. (Perhaps this was to teach bicycling safety? I just remember it being fun!) I also remember getting lost on a bike ride, thinking I was very far from home, but after asking for directions finding myself near our local train station. And lastly-- I didn't witness it, but my parents tell the story of the rolling turkey. One weekend, they rode their bikes to a foreign grocery store that sold American food and bought a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. My father put the turkey in his front bike basket. As they were leaving the parking lot, the basket came loose (heavy turkey) and the turkey fell out and began rolling down a hill. With the help of the parking attendant, my father chased down the turkey and, I believe, we did eat it for Thanksgiving dinner.

Our weekend bike adventures weren't quite so exciting as rolling turkeys. We mostly stayed home and listened to a semiannual church broadcast, but I did  let Gabriella and Daniella enjoy a little freedom on their "new" bikes. (Daniella's "new" bike is Gabriella's old 20-incher.) They rode to the local drugstore to look at Halloween costumes. Gabriella wants to be a witch, but absolutely does NOT want me to sew a costume because--says she-- the things I sew look "weird". Oh well, at least the younger kids are still happy with the "weird" things I sometimes make:

Joseph wearing dress-up clothes, including a skirt and cape I sewed.

1 comment:

  1. Biking can also be an important means of transportation for kids, as well.

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