I don’t remember how old I was when I learned to ride a bike. But I remember my neighbor pushing me across our front lawn. When I fell off, my Toughskins absorbed the grass stains. Eventually I got the hang of it, and pedaled around the neighborhood looking to take it off any sweet jumps.
The only safety precaution I followed was not riding in the street. I had to wait a few more years before I could officially do that. But until then, I was content riding on the sidewalk and across my neighbors lawn which didn’t go over well when I learned how fun it was to skid across wet grass. That summer, their lawn looked like a driving range.
Look ma, no helmet! I put that bell to good use whenever someone dared use the sidewalk when I was out out riding my Stingray.
I never wore a helmet. I never owned helmet, unless you count my Houston Astros baseball cap. Sometimes I’d pedal around in flip flops. I never gave much thought to safety. Maybe I should have, but I’m sure I wasn’t much different from most kids who grew up in the 70’s.
If I allowed my kids to ride around like I did, I’d have family services knocking at my door within minutes.
My son looks like a hockey goalie riding his bike around our cul-de-sac. It’s surprising he has enough energy to pedal while sporting a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads. I’ve even seen him wearing gloves! He spends more time getting ready to ride his bike than actually riding his bike.
Twenty years from now, will we watch kids ride down the sidewalk in full body armor?
Is my son safer than I was at his age? I’d like to think he is although I don’t believe he’s getting nearly as much exercise as I did as a kid. What child wants to spend 15 minutes pulling, strapping and adjusting gear (that never quite fits like it should) to pedal 100 yards down the street? No thanks, I’ll just stay here on the couch with my Nintendo DS and bag of Cheetos.
I don’t know how many times I’ve watched my son pull up the driveway with his helmet pushed over his eyes or his kneepads dangling at his feet.
At least when I was riding around in my flip flops and swimsuit I could see where I was going.