When I was a kid, BMX or bicycle motocross was on the rise. It was the eighties, and these stunt bikers, their helmets, and the crazy colors of their uniforms were calling to me. I wanted a bike. And I got it. I still remember its sleek chrome lines, its rubber smell, its black and white checkered grips. I remember imagining jumping it and all the tricks I was going to learn. I learned how to stand on my seat.
Sure I spent a ton of time thinking and lusting over my buddies super-awesome blue bike, but mine was pretty sweet too. Oh and I learned to do a stoppie, which is where you slam the front brake and go into a sort of front-wheel wheelie. Man I was so cool on that bike. Or at least I was going to be cool when I grew up.
But we moved from that land of BMX to a new land, the land of suburbs and team sports, a land of conformity and video games. Sure I still rode my bike and stuff, but it wasn’t the same and I felt a little saddened by the fact that I never learned to actually jump a bike, regardless hop off a curb. As a boy turning into a man, I felt like something in me had chickened out. I just had never jumped my bike.
Years go by. I’m 25, and we’ve moved to a new land. I’m walking with my wife, holding hands and I see a kid setting a board against a fence about 4 feet off the ground. “Oh boy I think, he’s going to jump his bike off that. Awesome!” The little boy in me was about to jump out of my old boy skin. “Me want to do!” I thought.
To make a long story short, “Me did” even getting to know that kid and hang with his bike gang. And at 36 I still do. I can really ride a bike now. There’s super-sweet-awesome candy colors, wheelies, and jumping, lots of it. Even as I write I’m about to go ride. There will be colors, there will be tricks, there will be speed. And even maybe a front wheel wheelie at the end.
I don’t think we ever grow up. Our bodies just slowly retire. So here’s to that boy in me. He likes the color of my sweet gloves, he likes my bike, he marvels at what a suspension fork is and most of all he thinks, I can see him walking around my bike and saying, “This is so totally rad.” You got to love impressing kids, even if that kid is yourself.