Vintage Wheels

Walking with Cake: My Vintage Schwinn Bike

(My new-to-me vintage bike.)

My dad cleaned out his garage recently, and asked me if I’d like a pair of old bicycles he’s had for years. I jumped at the chance, since Ryan and I have been talking for months about buying bikes to ride with the boys.  The bikes I’ve inherited belonged to my parents, and I used to ride them when I was growing up. One is a basic brown bicycle from the late 1970s or early 1980s that reminds me of Jack Tripper (“Come and knock on my door…”).  The other is a blue vintage Schwinn that my mom rode as a girl, and it’s my new bike now!

When my parents came to visit while Ryan was traveling, they brought both bikes and we dropped them off at a local bike shop to be cleaned up and repaired. The process took about three weeks, mostly because the tires on the Schwinn had to be special ordered, but it was definitely worth the wait. And for less than the cost of one new bicycle, we now have two refurbished bikes in excellent riding condition, as well as the family memories that come with them.

As a girl, I’d go on long rides with my dad and sisters, sometimes accompanied by neighbor kids. We would ride to the undeveloped edges of our subdivision, often seeing cottontail rabbits along the way. Those rides are one of my happiest childhood memories, and I can’t wait to share the same experience with my boys as they get older.

I didn’t grow up wearing a bike helmet (did you?), so that is something I’ll have to get used to, along with actually riding a bike again. They say you never forget how to ride a bike, but it’s been years since I’ve ridden, and I’ve felt really nervous and unsteady the few times I’ve sat on the bike in my backyard. I have to practice before I start riding with the boys, and I’m sure I’ll be nervous at first, but I’m looking forward to that feeling of freedom I had as a girl on those long bike rides. I hope I can feel it again.

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