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YAY! BiKES! by Carl in celebration of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

My first bike was a hand me down from my sister and I didn't mind a bit. My dad painted the previously pink and mint green Schwinn to navy blue and added a red, white and blue striped banana seat to replace the floral one my sister had occupied. I distinctly remember my first shaky attempts in our back yard and the quick progress I made by checking the distance stick I'd place after each ride as a marker. Soon I was allowed to cruise on our quiet street with a pack of neighborhood kids. I was teased for riding a girls bike, but like before, I didn't mind. I had the freedom of the open road. As the summer progressed along with my cycling skills, the pack and I would create ramps, slalom courses and water features to dazzle and impress the lay-deez. Attempts often ended in humbling wipe outs as is usually still the case whenever a boy or a man tries to impress a girl or woman in any capacity. I grew up in a Mayberry like setting in Ohio where it was perfectly normal to send your kid on his or her bike for the four block ride to the grocery or hardware store and not worry about their safe return. Not likely I'll be letting my daughter cruise to our neighborhood grocery anytime soon for a similar childhood experience. My hopes are that there are still hamlets out there where kids can ride to the ball diamond, swimming pool or merely just saddle up Goonies style for an adventure with little more than a sandwich, a few friends and their trusty bikes.
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