You're not going to believe this, but growing up in northwest New Jersey my childhood home was on the top of a freaking mountain. Yeah, smartasses, New Jersey has mountains and believe it or not, I didn't live anywhere near the Turnpike. It was a great place to grow up - it was a former farming community that was still extremely rural, where kids could bike to the county park that was two miles away or ride around the neighborhoods. I was a total bike rat until I got my drivers' license, mostly because if it wasn't for my bike chances were I wasn't going anywhere.
I will never forget my first "big girl" bike after my tricycle. My parents took me down to the PX at the Army base and let me pick out the one I really wanted. Now, anyone who knows my mother will know that the statement "let me pick out the one I really wanted" really is Super Secret Mom Code for "you better pick one that is big enough that we won't have to replace it until you get to high school". I was given the choice between two bicycles and that was the extent of my freedom of choice.
That day, I became the proud owner of a sparkly red bicycle complete with handlebar streamers and the whole deal. I was so freaking proud of that bike that I couldn't wait to ride it around the neighborhood and show it off. Proud until that bitch Carolyn down the street came out of her house, taunting me that I was riding a BOY'S BIKE. Yes, my mother in her infinite wisdom had given me the choice between two boys' bikes and not knowing the difference I picked the color I liked the best.
For the next four years, I rode The Scarlet Bike of Shame. And every time I rode past Carolyn's house I spit a huge lugie in her yard. And my mother, ever the model of compassion and understanding, told me to put my big girl panties on and deal with it. I think all of you know that at the age of five it was hard to see how stupid Carolyn's taunts were...but all I could think about when I saw that bike in our garage was that I couldn't wait until the day I could get rid of it. Ironically enough, now that I think about it - between the sparkly red paint and the sparkly red banana seat, if any boy had gotten that bike he would've gotten his ass kicked. A lot. So maybe it was some kind of strange karma that I ended up getting the bike - yeah, I got teased a lot by Carolyn, but she also ended up being one of the biggest skank ho's in the universe, so there's that.
My next bike was a ten-speed. For some strange reason, we ended up going to Pennsylvania to buy it and of course, I was faced with another horrid decision...all of my friends had cool bikes that were red or purple. Guess what color they had in the "choice" I was given? Blue. I guess the plus was that it was actually a girl's bike. I rode the wheels off that thing, but when we moved from New Jersey in 1987 the bike didn't make the trip with us. We were moving to a house on a busy main road, so there was really nowhere for me to ride the bike.
I haven't had a bike since. Nineteen years. Yeah, I've borrowed one occasionally, rented one at the beach...but I haven't owned one in nineteen years.
Until today. I made my mind up a week ago that I was going to go out and buy myself a bike so that I can mix up my exercise routine instead of just running all of the time. We have a fabulous neighborhood for bike riding, not to mention the fact that we bought Monkey Man his first real bike about 4 weeks ago and I can hardly wait for all three of us to go riding together. That's a way off, but for now I'll be getting up early on the weekends and riding before the boys get up.
I went into the local bike shop along with Joey. I tried out a few models and didn't quite find what I wanted. Finally I asked - "Do you have any other colors?" The salesman showed me a dark red sparkly bike, a puke green bike, and a royal blue bike. "But do you have anything in silver or black?" He looked at me, confused....apparently, most women like bikes in bright colors. Oh no, not me - I want the sleekest, toughest looking bike I can get. No freaking metallic red for me, no way Jose. Too many flashbacks. All I can envision is the red sparkly banana seat on my first bike....
Now I'm the proud owner of a graphite gray and black mountain bike. With comfort seat, of course. And sleek black helmet. Do you think maybe my choice is a little bit of overcompensation for my former bikes of wussiness? Oh well. It's all about looking good, right?