Saturday, June 22, 2002

Baby You Can Ride My Bike

I have a new bike and something cool is happening. Got it at Target. Every time I take it out for a quick tour around town like this morning, I enter the golden age of Halley, (age 12, that is) and am transported to the North Shore of Long Island, Orient, Greenport and Shelter Island in particular, where I hung out with a girl tribe and rode bikes non-stop. I'm remembering my wicker bike basket on the front of the handlebars, festooned with the occasional hair ribbon, or maybe a 4th of July ribbon, which by Labor Day would be faded beyond recognition to a sun and rain ravaged pink, grey and faint blueberry.

We girls were tough. I was the queen of LOOK MA NO HANDS and shunned the handlebars. I rode everywhere with no hands. Any biker worth their salt could steer with their hands in their jeans pockets ... I even remember the jeans ... yes, the original denim pedal pushers, tight and skinny, I had yellow ones and bricky red ones, they hung from a hook on the bedroom wall in our rented barn at the beach, all I wore all summer, with a few white girly sleeveless cotton blouses to go with. There wasn't a turn or a curve I couldn't manoeuvre with a quick shift of my hips.

I also remember my long lost friend Hilary who invited me down to Florida with her family that 8th grade year for February vacation. We dedicated the week to swapping special girl skills -- I taught her to ride handlebar-less, she taught me to pucker up and whistle. I could never get the hang of whistling until that great vacation. Hilary, did we eat enough Arby's Roast Beef sandwiches? Talk about fun.