I can recall the day I got my first bike. It was Christmas morning. My older brother, one of my step-brothers on my mother’s side, and I walked into one of the back rooms of the house. It was a room that didn’t exist in any other memories. Its sole purpose in my mind is to house the beginning of the greatest love of my childhood.
There she was, resting on her gleaming kickstand, dwarfed by the other two bikes, but still too big for me….wow, I just realized that I still like the big girls with curves. Her chrome handlebars gleamed, her seat beckoned, and there painted in crisp white letters, was the word Cougar….holy shit, I also just realized that my wife is older than me! Is my love of older curvy women an unconscious attempt to have a real love affair with my childhood bike! Like when the TARDIS inhabited a woman’s body in “The Doctor’s Wife.” Come to think of it, the gooseneck did have some intimate contact with my testicles on more than one occasion, usually as a result of me crashing head on to a tree or car. Man, my therapist is going to have a field day with this.
Anyway, I loved that bike. No, not like that. Get your mind out of the gutter. There isn’t room here for the both of us. Ok, I loved that bike because it gave me my first real taste of freedom. Even before books, because I was too young to read. Names and faces of my early childhood friends have long since faded away. But my Cougar, she will always be with me. She is to me, as Rosebud is to Citizen Kane.
I don’t remember having to learn to ride. I think the knowledge passed into me when I touched her. A blue spark shot from the metal with a tiny *zap* My mother assured me that it was static build up from wearing wool socks, but I know the truth. Our consciousness’s melded in that moment.
I would be on that bike all day. Farther and farther I would roam, until I had the entire neighborhood memorized, streets, addresses, girls, other children my age, bullies, more girls, broken sidewalks that formed ramps, puncture vines or goat heads that could damage my tire tubes, more girls. I lived in dozens of houses, dozens of new neighborhoods to explore, and the one thing that was always with me, the only constant in my life, was my Cougar.
Once I got going, I wouldn’t stop. I would soar down the street like an albatross, never needing to land. But that was because I was so small I couldn’t reach the ground. I would have to stand on a block, then stand with all my weight on the nearside peddle, and swing my other leg over the seat like a cowboy mounting a running horse…..ok, this is getting weird….I was able to do vaulting tricks on a horse the first time I tried….I think the Cougar is still with me. I miss you old friend.
Anyway, thanks for reading.
P.S. If anyone has a picture of that bike, I’d be VERY happy to see it again 🙂