Bikes have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mother often told the story of how, when I was 3 or 4, I’d look out the front window of our little duplex in Cleveland and excitedly shout “boyonabike!” when someone would ride by. It became a running joke in our family. “Boyonabike!” they’d say, as I got older and rode around the neighborhood on my own bike. My childhood exclamation seemed the perfect title for my blog, especially insofar as I often feel as joyful as a little kid when I’m gliding along on two wheels.
I got my first real bike on my fifth birthday. I’ll never forget the magic moment when I walked into our living room and saw that shiny blue and white steed set up next to the fireplace. I couldn’t wait to get it outside and ride. Oh, the possibilities!
My parents knew I wanted a bike—and nothing else—because the previous Christmas I’d disappointed my father (it’s what sons do, right?), who’d stayed up all night putting together a Christmas train set that by all rights I should have been thrilled with. Not just any train set. A beautiful O-gauge set that he’d had as a young man. He’d painstakingly set it up that Christmas, expecting to share his love of trains with his son, and instead I walked right past the train set and looked for a bike. He was heartbroken, but I was looking for a more personal mode of wheeled transportation. That spring, my father sacrificed his beloved train set and bought me my first bike. His sacrifice became my ticket to ride.
I’ve had many bikes since that blue and white beauty, but you never forget your first bike.