Skip to main content

Riding Without Training Wheels

We had a beautiful Sunday here in Champaign-Urbana. Only two weeks ago today there was a foot of snow falling, and now we have 70 degree temps and plenty of sunshine. It was a nice day to do some walking, and so I walked, purposefully. Part of my job as an elected precinct committee person is to get information to voters. I did so this afternoon by dropping-off some campaign literature for various candidates. Hopefully there wasn't much bother to folks, simply putting the lit in their doors, and moving on.

As I meandered up Daniel St., a father and son could be seen on the sidewalk. The son was on a bicycle with training wheels, the father sometimes beside him, sometimes behind him. This was at the portion of Daniel St. that comes to an end right at the front of Westview, my old elementary school. In fact, it is the same school where I learned to ride a bike without training wheels. It's a coincidental reminder of living in the town you grew up in, seeing a father and son and a bike with training wheels so close to where you learned to ride without them.

On a day probably not unlike today, dad and I went over to Westview, on a weekend so as to have some space and privacy. There was a nice expanse of blacktop upon which to ride, surrounded of course by grass and a playground. There Lewis removed the training wheels, and walked next to me as I teetered along with the bicycle. This was a long time coming, as we'd enjoyed several bike rides together, but I was still a bit of a burden until the ride could be properly mastered.

Scared and nervous, I remember uneasily maintaining control of the bike, dad keeping his hand on the back wheel cover for support. Shakiness was the order of the day. "Not today, but perhaps soon," I remember thinking, in regards to mastering a ride without the need of extra wheels. By this time I'd gone off the blacktop and onto the grass, and wondered how much longer Lewis wanted this jaunt to go on. So, I looked back at him, and he was standing on the blacktop! Way, way back there, nothing but an expanse of grass between us.


I fell over.

I'll probably never forget that day, along with the smile on dad's face as he watched me way out there on the grass, unwittingly riding on my own, big boy pants fully on without even knowing it. And, yes, I think he laughed when I crashed onto the ground, but that part could just be a trick of memory. Regardless, his plan worked, and I never needed training wheels again.

Years later, I do not ride as much I used to.  A nice green Schwinn, nicknamed 'Kermit,' sits unused and collecting dust in the basement. I should ride it more often. It got a lot of use from 2007-2009, when a friend and I participated in Chicago's World Naked Bike Ride, and when I used to bike to work. I don't do those activities anymore, but perhaps I could get back into the swing of things with some recreational bicycling? Nothing strenuous, mind, maybe just a jaunt across the blacktop and onto the grass.


Popular posts from this blog

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

Third Death

My father has had three funerals. The third (though perhaps not final) one, was last night.
In reality, Lewis died in 1997. Cancer. Aged 52. He had a real funeral. I was there. The next two funerals occurred only in my dreams, yet they seemed real at the time, and their impact during the waking hours was keenly felt.
You see, during the intervening nineteen years, Lewis has come back to life in my dreams, many times. It is more than simply having a dream about him. During these nighttime images, it is noted that Lewis shouldn't be there, that he died of cancer and is resting six feet under. How, then, could he be alive and, seemingly, healthy?

Thoughts on an Election

Before I get started on the ruminations of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, I'll begin by saying I really have no clue as to who our next president will be. I've always fretted over the outcome of elections, regardless of the polls, and this year is no different. Especially this year. A good case can be made as to why Hillary Clinton will become our 45th president. All one has to do is look at the polls. Clinton has a comfortable lead in many states, enough to make one think that she will win handily on November 8th.
Of course, polls can be wrong. 538 gives Clinton's changes of winning in the low-mid 80 percent range. Several polls would seem to agree. Many Republicans are jumping ship from Trump. The race looks over. But of course, humanity isn't as easily predictable as polling would have us believe. Things happen. People can surprise us. And, for better or worse, I think that Donald Trump may very well become our next president.