It’s in the Blood

A young Mars Girl poses with bike at her grandparents’ house.

Every time I was at my grandma and grandpa Emhoff’s house, I would make my grandpa pull out one of the bikes he had in his garage so that I could ride it. He had a few — they were the bikes my dad, uncle, and/or aunts used to ride when they were kids. I loved these old rickety bikes. They felt so different from mine, they rode different. I’d ride them up and down the sidewalk in front of their house and sometimes (without my grandparents knowing) I’d explore around the block as well. I had to do it quickly so that my grandma wouldn’t loose track of me. I had a few tiny routes that I rode whenever there was a party going on and my parents weren’t paying attention either. I still see that neighborhood in my head, but it’s probably changed. I haven’t been by there since my grandparents passed away.

I’ve seen remakes of these retro bikes around and in bike shops. I’ve always been tempted to buy one. They bring a warm feeling to my heart, like the urge I get to hug a stuffed animal whenever I see one. It’s like reclaiming a piece of my childhood, the innocent and playful little girl that still resides inside of me. I’m dying to feel the skid of coaster brakes on pavement. I forgot what that feels like. And the simplicity of riding without gears, of just going as fast as your legs can pedal. Mind you, I probably wouldn’t ride far (I’ve been spoiled by several years of riding with gears). It would be fun, regardless. It would be nice to just have the bike sitting there in my garage to admire. The curviness of the frame was elegant and pretty. They don’t make them like they used to (and probably for good reason).

I wish I’d been a little more cognizant of my love of those old bikes. I wonder if they were still in the garage when my dad cleaned it out after Grandma E’s death in 2001. Had I known, I would have taken the red one (shown above) and refurbished it. These old bikes are the only type of antiques I would like to own. I wouldn’t just admire them, though; I’d take them out for a spin around my block every once in awhile. Like the old days.

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