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blast from the past

February 26, 2011

Blast from the Past

I received a letter from an old friend in Germany yesterday that contained some childhood photos of me. Among them was this picture, taken in the summer of 1991 – twenty years ago – when I was eight years old. It shows me and one of my most prized possessions at the time, my awesome red bike.

We had just immigrated to Germany from Romania the year before and this bike must have been one of the many donated items we received from generous individuals. I don’t remember how I got the bike but I do remember that I loved it. I rode it to the school bus stop in the mornings, I rode it with friends around the neighborhood, and I felt fast, cool, and independent on it. I also loved that it was red and had a rear rack that would hold my backpack with stickers, allowance money, candy, and whatever else I needed with me.

It’s funny to think that for how much I loved that bike, once we immigrated again in 1993 to Canada, I never thought to replace it. Maybe because we moved to a large city and riding my bike by myself would have been deemed too dangerous by my parents. Maybe we didn’t have the money and, this time around, no one donated one to us. Whatever the reason, the 1993 immigration saw the end of my bike riding days for nearly two decades. It wasn’t until late college that I picked up a bike again – Nerp – and gave cycling another shot.

Why is it that we can have so much fun on a bike as a kid but that we don’t really consider cycling or getting around by bike as adults?

So here it is, my love affair with bikes, twenty years ago and today…

Blast from the Past Friday Tweed

Also, please note the awesome outfit (hey, it was the late 80s/early 90s!), the sweet haircut (my father’s handiwork), and the buckteeth. Somehow I’m not surprised that I wasn’t the popular girl in the second grade. ~ S.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2011 19:10

    Hahaha – awesome!

  2. February 26, 2011 22:21

    Great shot! So glad your love affair has resumed in your adult years. In Australia, we need more acceptance of cycling or people-powered transport as a norm without wearing lycra and going as fast as possible! It has been exciting to watch the influx of upright bikes over the past couple of years as people embrace commuting or just running errands wearing normal clothes and taking time to catch the loveliness along the way.

  3. Dave permalink
    February 28, 2011 04:15

    I had really blond hair, which I didn’t comb, and about 10 cow-licks. I also dressed up as Orville Redenbacher for Halloween once (http://www.flickr.com/photos/poetas/4453913129/).

    I had a blue Schwinn with a removable top tube that my grandpa bought for me and my little sister later inherited, and I rode it probably every day until I outgrew it. After grade school, I also rarely ever got on a bike again until a few years ago. It just wasn’t cool, and then it wasn’t a practical option for the amount of travel I had to do, and then I just forgot it was an option at all. Glad to be back to it though!

  4. afromedusa permalink
    February 28, 2011 12:35

    Hi, i love you blog! I just started to ride my bike every day to the office and i feel free and fresh while biking.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences :-)

  5. Daria permalink
    March 10, 2011 11:54

    I’ve never been too much into biking, yet I check your blog every now and then because I just love your writing and your life principles (I’ve just posted on your other blog as well). I got my first bike as a present from my parents when I graduated 4th grade and got “1st prize” in my class (you were very young when you left, but you are probably familiar with 1st, 2nd, 3rd prize system in Romania). I did learn to bike that summer, but I never rode my bike too much because it was too big and too heavy and I was too scared. The bike we chose was a bigger model that would suit both me and my older sister, that we would not outgrow too soon, and it was just not doing it for me. By the time I could ride it comfortably in my teenage years it wasn’t cool anymore.

    Now living in Canada I bought a cheap montain bike from the drugstore on a whim just because the price seemed good (smart decision, I know) but again I am too afraid to ride it. My biggest fear is that I may panic when a car would be behind, and I may fall and hurt myself.

    I hope this spring and summer I will get the time and the energy to bike a little more to gain more confidence. I have a small daughter and I would love to teach her how to ride the bike, so hopefully we could ride together with daddy around our neighborhood.

    Now that I’ve said it “loud” I hope I will actually do it.

    • March 11, 2011 09:27

      Daria,

      I had the same fears of riding on the roads and with cars around me when I got back on a bike a few years ago. What really worked for me was taking the bikes and driving to trails where you could bike (paved or gravel) and taking a long bike ride with no worries about traffic, staying in too narrow of a lane, etc. I ended up loving those trail rides so much that it really got me excited about taking the bike through my neighborhood streets and starting to ride just around my house and then increasingly built up the courage to bike anywhere in town. Good luck with it, I hope you enjoy many fun rides this coming summer!

      • Daria permalink
        March 11, 2011 12:59

        That’s actually a good idea. We have about 200 kilometers of bike trails where I live, some of them along rivers, maybe I should start there instead of my neighborhood . Thanks!

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