Monday, August 18, 2003

First Schwinn

We were mortgage poor. We had a new house on the hill with a beautiful view of sunsets on the Great Salt Lake, yet not enough money for a new bike. But as it turns out that was good. For a while I rode my big sister's old bike. It was something to learn on and it was the beginning of an adventure.

We lived on a steep stretch of Center Street at 1147 East in Bountiful. One day as I rode down the hill the chain broke which meant I had no coaster brakes. As I crashed a sharp edge of the chain guard gouged into my right thigh. The ten widely-spaced stitches I got that day formed a Scorpion-shaped scar which is still faintly visible.

Later I entered the KUTV / Walt Disney Greyfriar's Bobby coloring contest and won the second place prize -- a red Schwinn bike. It had a fancy Bendix "automatic" two speed hub -- just push back on the pedals and it would toggle between the first and second gears. The bike was a little big for me, but I grew into it.

If a new bike had just shown up for a birthday or Christmas, I'd have at lost least half a dozen great memories, probably more. The obvious ones are:

  • Crashing my sister's broken-down bike -- a great way to get rid of a piece of junk.
  • Getting stitches -- a little scary yes, but frankly I liked all the attention.
  • The fun of entering the coloring contest.
  • The surprise and thrill of winning the bike.
  • Not just winning it, but riding it, appreciating it, remembering it.
  • It gave me a story tell. The scar continues to fade, but the adventure remains vivid.