Andrew Get's His First Bike

Andrew Gets His First Bike

FTLComm - Imperial
May 18, 2001

Freedom, accomplishment, a rite of passage, all of those things are part of growing up and getting your first bicycle and learning to ride it have to be one of the turning points in a child's life.

It was the early spring of 1977 time to celebrate birthday number three. To say that this boy was energetic would be like saying ice was cool. He seemed to be exploding with vigour and his mind and body could barely keep up with his race toward getting old, getting bigger, getting faster and doing everything that could be done with a body that size.

It was the time of Steve Austin, a television show about the $6,000,000 man, an astronaut with cybernetic implants who could run as fast as a speeding car, leap over buildings, you get the the picture. This little man loved the energy of the show and would climb atop the back of the sofa and bound from there to the floor and to the top of the arm chair without the cybernetic implants.
The tires on his tricycle were
bald from spinning his front wheel on the sidewalk his father had built in the yard and the back tires had no treads either, from sliding turns, it was time to put this guy on a two wheeler.

As quick as he could polish off a piece of chocolate birthday cake, the transition to two wheeled bicycle rider was almost automatic. His new bike was of the vintage of the day with a sissy bar at the back of the seat and with his father jogging along holding that sissy bar in less than a minute the trick of balancing a two wheeler was automatic and the supercharged legs of this three year old made the bike hurl down the street with a puffing father only a few feet away.

Around the corner down a block an on to the main street of Imperial the procession went. Older brother on his bike, the neighbours kids on theirs with Ann-Marie (who could fly, but that's another story) jogging along behind the boy's father. The high chopper handles of the era gave a rider great arm pulling power but could snap the front wheel almost cross wise in an instant. That's what happened and the birthday boy became a missile predictably taking the fall on the head.

We weren't sure if he was unconscious or not, he was shaken up but with little or no whimpering he was determined to mount up and ride away. Instead his father guided him home as they walked the bike back to the yard. Mom gave him a nervous once over and though he seemed a bit subdued this guy was demanding to ride again.

In 1977 bicycle helmet had not yet been invented so a Cooper SK300 hockey helmet was out of the hockey bag and firmly strapped on. Helmet in place the parade was back in motion, the father was played out in a few minutes but up and down the street around the block back and forth on the sidewalk in the yard, down the back alley. Round and round the perpetual motion boy went for that day and each day there after, so much so that by fall that bike needed new tires.

The tires were inexpensive and saved the living room furniture and when winter came that year his mother asked about what he thought he would like for Christmas. The answer was simple and resolute, "keys". So it was that he had spotted some television programmes showing cross country skiing and for Christmas that year each member of the family had cross country skis Each weekend for the next four years, every winter weekend when the temperature would permit and sometimes when it didn't, he lead his family cross country.

This came to an end when trying out the downhill ski hill in Watson Lake Yukon, wearing wood skis, he had a wonderful end over end crash and was cursed by the ski hill people for the rest of the season because there were bits and pieces of those destroyed skis all over the hill. The cyberboy's ski-hill crash was so complete that the bindings on the cross country skis had remained on his feet and all that remained of the skis were less than a foot of wood connected to the binding on each foot. No injury occurred but the wrath of Jenny, the ski patrol on the hill, was to take the edge off of survival. New downhill boots and skis were to follow immediately and the following year he was competing in the BC Northern Winter games.