Papa gave me my first real bike when I was about 10—a brand new, purple and sparkly 10-speed. I rode that bike like it was my job, and I felt like a rock star while doing so despite its awful girly feel to it (if there was ever something I was not, it was purple and sparkly).
This is when 10-speeds were to bikes what the latest iPhones are to cell phones today. So as all the other kids rode their much smaller, probably hand-me-down bikes, I floated along on my brand new 10-speed (though I admit to being jealous of those with BMX bikes—why I never was gifted a BMX bike, I don’t know).
Really, I was a rock star. So much so that my 10-year-old self would ride my sweet 10-speed bike in the middle of the street!
It wasn’t a busy street, just the street we lived on: a side street where the traffic could only go in one direction and where stop signs were placed at the end of every block ensuring motorists maintained the 25 mph.
When I wasn’t riding my awesome 10-speed in the street, I was racing it through the alleys. Up and down and all around the several blocks surrounding our home in the burbs. The wind whooshing through my thick bowl-cut hair. The sun tanning my olive skin. I loved the sound the bike would make when I stopped pedaling and just coasted along, my nose turned up at the others who weren’t on 10-speeds.
Yeah me and my 10-speed bike.
We lasted all of maybe two weeks together. But that’s the good thing about being a kid. Things seem to last way longer than they actually do in GrownupLand where two weeks would be a sneeze in comparison to the eternity of two weeks when you’re 10.
We had a good run…till I was pedaling my sparkly purple 10-speed down the street like a rock star and hit a pothole in just the right way that catapulted me over the front handlebars, slamming me, face first, into the cement road.
I didn’t feel like much of a rock star walking my stupid fucking bike home with blood dripping from my nose and mouth.
I never rode that girly bike again, nor have I gotten on a 10-speed since.