Just thinking.

No photos exist: My first bike lives within my memory only, snippets of details here and there – some quite detailed, in fact – but otherwise a composite, a montage, a dreamy pastiche of a green “spyder” bike (but not really a spyder of course, because mine came from Coast-to-Coast Hardware and not from Sears), with ape bars and a banana seat; never as cool in my mind as my little brother’s, because he had a sissy bar in back – yet it was the transportation mainstay of a ten-year old, in a constant cycle of embarkation from the driveway to the sandlot at the end of the block and back again. A baseball glove dangled perpetually from the handlebars, draped over one end and through the leather strap, baking and forming in the summer sun to the curve of the bars. Racing Tony on his muscle bike, and losing to Andy, his older brother, who stood regally above us all on his five speed Raleigh; or Darrel, his next door neighbor, who had a muscle bike with a five speed stick shift in the middle of the top tube. My bike stood in the driveway at night, neglected and forlorn – “bring it into the garage,” my father said. “Or it will be stolen.” And so it was.

Yes, that green thing may have been my first bike, but far from my last. And in the forty some years since those early days, two wheels have carried me far from the sandlot of my youth; they have ever meant a sort of freedom that – wistfully at times – I cherish.


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