The Sound Heard Around The Neighborhood
When we moved to Florida in 1982, I didn’t have a bicycle. I had one when I lived in New York State but I think we gave that one away.
My cousin D had gotten a new bicycle. So I got to use her old bike. Yes, it was a girls bike but that is all they had. When we moved to Florida, we did not know the salaries for workers were way below what we thought. Due to that, we did not have money to buy extravagant things like a bicycle.
A few weeks later when we moved into our apartment, I took the bike with me. I stored it just outside the apartment door in an alcove near the stairs. This area was built for that purpose.
The bike was navy blue with a white stripe. It had a metal basket attached to the front. I rode that bike all the time. That was the way to get around. I rode on the local streets. I rode all the way up to Ocean Avenue, which was about 7 tenths of a mile. I rode to the post office. I rode to the beach. I rode to the fishing pier. I rode to the park. If there was a place to ride a bike, I rode it there.
I went to one year of elementary school here and I had to ride a bike to school. And yes I got picked on for riding a girls bike but what else could I do.
One time, D and I rode our bikes up to the local gas station. My other cousin and her brother S had worked at this gas station. She was riding her bike and I was riding her old bike. We added air to our tires and took off back to her house.
Once we got back, D ended up leaving again.
I went into the house and was talking with my late Aunt S.
After awhile I came back outside and was going to ride the bike. Then I noticed that the tire had actually not stayed within the rim and it had overlapped the rim. I told Aunt S I could fix it if I just released some of the air and pushed the tire back over the rim. She told me she didn’t want me to do that. Well, that made me mad. I sat down in the living room in the rocking chair.
Then I decided to go outside, except I got on the bike and rode away. I wasn’t thinking about the problem with the overlapping.
I came back and parked the bike in the driveway in front of the garage. I came into the house and sat down in the rocking chair again.
Then, it happened.
The first thing that happened was she looked at me and said this:
Aunt S: “Did you touch that tire?”
Me: “I didn’t touch it.”
She didn’t look very happy.
In truth, I hadn’t touched it. I just didn’t tell her that I had ridden on it.
The inner tube had exploded.
There was no more riding on that bike until it got fixed. My Uncle had to buy a new inner tube for it.
I don’t think I ever told her or my Uncle that I had ridden on the botched tire. I named this “The Sound Heard Around The Neighborhood” because I’m sure you could hear it all around the neighborhood. It was LOUD! Up until that point, I had never heard anything that loud. It was almost like fireworks going off.
If she had just let me take the air out, I would have fixed the problem. She could have driven me up to the gas station to fill the air back into the bike.
And I wouldn’t be talking about this to everyone.
Until next time, happy reading.
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Ah, the good old days of kids riding bikes. I had one and, like you, rode it everywhere. Good times :)
Great story, Matt!