Weird as it seems, I am happy that I grew up with limited monetary resources.
First off, I know how to live on very little...if I must. I do not, but I can.
Second, I learned to value the inexpensive things...like hand me down bikes.
The only way I got my first bike was because my older sister earned enough money to buy her own. So I got her old bike...emphasis on old.
It was what we always called a "bmx" or "moto-cross" bike...not because it was, but because it WASN'T a ten-speed, and in our world, there were only two kinds of bikes in existence: ten-speeds or bmx. (Yes, I now know the difference).
The bike was a train wreck. The only reason Sue had it was because it was left in my Grandma Alda's front lawn for a few weeks. It had no chain guard. It had handlebars that could not be tightened, so they had the nasty habit of flipping forward if you hit a big bump.
But I had a bike and was ecstatic. In a way, it represented massive mobility. Instead of walking everywhere, I could get there in no time on my bike. It moved my boundaries from our house to Woody's 9about 6 houses up the block) to everything from 7th and West Street to 2nd and West Street...which meant all the trails by the Elk's Lodge, the Botanical Gardens (which had no flowers, no maintained botanical, and CERTAINLY no gardens).
There were lots of wrecks because I tried to do the same stuff my friends did on their bikes...jumping ramps and so forth. I would wreck, cry, get cleaned up, and go back to riding. I never really cared...that was just how it was.
But, being me, I probably got jealous or something and decided I wanted a 10-speed. Dad did not like them because he thought they were too hard to maintain. So I had to earn the money myself.
Out to the berry fields. It was probably about 75 bucks to get the first one. A dark blue number. A train wreck when it came to maintenance, also...I once had to get it repaired because the tire blew and the gears got wrecked. The repairs cost more than the bike had.
My third bike came years later when I actually had a job. I bought one for me, and one for each of the twins. That says a lot about my improved economics, because the bikes were about 110 each by then...but I was able to buy stuff for my younger sisters.
That bike got some riding, including from home to work...about a ten minute ride. Still loved bike riding.
Then I "grew up" and out of bikes. Why take a bike when a car gets you there faster?
But a couple years ago, my loving wife was there and supported my purchase of a bike that cost over 200. I do not remember how much...and that also says a lot. I reached a point where I no longer counted every penny, where I knew to the last cent how much I had in the bank, when I measured the purchase of an item against the opportunity cost of say...eating warm lunch versus sack lunch or something.
It is the finest bicycle I have ever owned. They actually offer free maintenance...and for the first time in my life, I have a bike worth maintaining. So I do.
And for the first time, I have purchased upgrades...a water bottle holder, mobile tire pump, and even a temporary flat repair kit.
And that is how I know it is too much bike for me...I now have a bike so nice...I cannot figure out how to attach the temporary flat repair kit even though it has a custom bag just for hauling it.
Or maybe I am just mechanically inept.
What I wanted to say - Dear Tootie, You are no longer suffering, and for that I am grateful. I've gone through so many feelings since you left this world Saturday. Grief, relief...
3 months ago