Memoirs Of A Bicycle: Times Past

Driving to Gatwick Airport recently, road signs to long-ago places from my childhood like Horley, Reigate and Brighton, zoom by.  But one town called Purley brings back just one clear memory.  Not of the town itself; in fact, I have no memory of the place at all.  What I do remember, is going to one shop with my parents for one reason only: to get my very first bicycle.

I was seven when I got my first bike, a Raleigh with a red frame. I adored it and couldn’t wait to learn how to ride it.  I spent hours practicing by pedalling along a narrow walkway between the side of our house and the neighbour’s fence, a hand on each, until I got the perfect balance.

But it wasn’t until we moved to the Suffolk countryside that my cycling days really took off. In the summer, I cycled the couple of miles to school and in the summer holidays, my brother and I cycled down to the tennis courts a few miles away in the nearest small town.  The cycling was fun, but not the arguments over who’s turn it was to serve and collect stray balls.

We cycled for hours with our friends from the village. I loved my bike, but I was envious of the boy with the yellow Chopper.

Hands-free meant something different in the 70’s.  It meant riding a bike without holding the handlebars.  Even better, go down a hill as fast as possible with just your feet on them.  Getting my Cycling Proficiency Badge was a thing of pride, but I was more proud that I could pull a stunt like that.

Not my first bicycle, but the only one I can find (c) Sherri Matthews

Sadly, for my brother, such a stunt didn’t turn out so well when a stick caught in his front wheel spokes. Close behind him (though younger, he was always faster), I watched in horror as he flew clean over his handle bars and scraped several feet, face down, along the grit-covered road.

We found a nearby house, and knocked on the door to ask for help.  The woman, kind and concerned, called our mother.  While we waited, she mentioned something about putting iodine on my brother’s knee-bone exposed wound, but thought better of it, mumbling something like, ‘it might send him to the roof’.  I found out later what she meant when I asked my mother.  A throw back to the war, or something like that.  Like beef dripping sandwiches and dried eggs.

But although cycling took up a large part of  my younger years,  it was my foray into night-time cycling that finished me off.

I was a Girl Guide, briefly.  Cycling into town for the weekly meetings was fine when it was light, but returning home in the dark was quite another. One such night, as I cycled out of town and away from the street lights,  I realised I was totally alone in the pitch dark on a rural road split between an open field and a wood.

I had recently finished scaring myself witless reading the ‘Hounds of the Baskervilles’, and as I pedaled furiously, my dynamo lights blazing as much as dynamo lights can,  I could have sworn I heard footfall behind me. Like an animal.  Like a hound.  Like a headless hound with flames of hellfire blazing from its neck, inches from the back of mine.

The speed with which I arrived home that night would have put me in contention for the Tour de France.

Strangely, but perhaps not surprisingly, I have no memory of cycling after that.  Nor of attending any more Girl Guide meetings.

It wasn’t until decades later and visiting rural France for the first time in my adult life, that I rediscovered the joy of cycling.  And I am today, once more, the proud owner of a bicycle. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to cycle a few trails with hubby soon.  But it won’t be in the dark.  And it’s safe to say I’ll hold the handle bars this time – with my hands, not my feet.

*******

This post is in response to Irene Water’s Times Past challenge for July.  Irene asks that we state our generation and where we grew up as part of her fascinating memoir series, exploring our differing childhood experiences, generationally and geographically.  I write as a tail-end baby boomer growing up in 60’s and 70’s rural Britain.  (Not wanting to miss Irene’s July deadline – scraping in as usual –  my Italy post will follow shortly.)

About Sherri Matthews

While writing to publication of her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', Sherri has been published in national magazines, websites and four anthologies in memoir, essays, articles, poetry and flash fiction. Sherri raised her children in California, and today lives in England with her husband, Aspie youngest and their pet menagerie fondly called ‘Animal Farm’. As well as writing, Sherri keeps out of trouble gardening, walking, and taking endless photographs, a few of the better ones she shares on her blog A View From My Summerhouse.
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98 Responses to Memoirs Of A Bicycle: Times Past

  1. lbeth1950 says:

    Love this story. I was so thrilled with my first bike, a repainted model from Goodwill. My mother thought I would think it was new It was obviously used, but no matter. I loved it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Lynn says:

    Such wonderful childhood memories of cycling, other than that night ride! I think I appreciate riding a bike way more now as an adult. Just rode about 48km this morning with my husband & a couple of friends. The best!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wow, Lynn, that’s some bike ride! The best, for sure! Thanks so much for your lovely visit and comment, great to see you! 🙂 I’m pushing hard on the last rewrites of my memoir, so blogging is a bit hit and miss at the moment, but I hope to catch up properly in the fall!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sue says:

    Marvellous! I have happy memories of riding bikes….

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Heyjude says:

    I remember my brothers teaching me to ride my one and only bike which I got for my 6th Christmas. They would push me along the grass verge outside our house and then let go! I fell off a lot before I managed to get my balance and then they regretted teaching me as I was able to follow them when they took off on their bikes during the school holidays! Great memories Sherri, happy cycling! Not sure my bum is up for a bicycle seat any more (though it is rather well-padded now compared to then 😉 )

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha…great story Jude! I’m 18 months older than my brother, but often felt like the tag along too 😉 Yes, there is that about the seat, they’re not exactly comfortable, but I suppose there are luxurious and expensive models about. So far, I haven’t done much cycling, as the first time out the front tyre burst and then the front spokes were out of alignment. Oh well, let’s see what happens next time! Great to hear from you, my friend, sure you’re enjoying our glorious summer down there by the sea 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Mike M says:

    The dynamo of your fantastic posts blazes brighter than a power station and your writing is illuminating! Can’t wait to read more.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Charli Mills says:

    Wonderful post, Sherri! You have such a masterful way of drawing me in to relive your memories. I could feel your brother’s pain and feel the hot breath of the hell hound on your heels!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. restlessjo says:

    I thought this must be part of your memoir, at first, Sherri. 🙂 🙂 Happy cycling, hon!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ste J says:

    Once again you take me back to time and places that I never knew but am now nostalgic for. I always love your posts and the memoir will be really something on the strength of your blog work. No pressure though!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Wow, Sherri. what a vivid and thrilling experience you had cycling with your first bike. I wonder what happened after you raced home. Perhaps that memory overtook anything less than that afterward.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Miriam! Thank you, so glad you enjoyed the ride, ha! As you and I have discussed and hope to discuss much more as we press on with our memoirs (I’m only just starting to get back here after being away, and on a slow catch up everywhere…), memory is a strange and subjective thing. I can’t remember at all what happened afterwards, other than feeling so relieved as soon as I got home and closed the kitchen door firmly behind me! The memory of the fear of that hound from hell was definitely the strongest one of all! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, memory is a strange thing. When I was teaching, we went to seminars to learn about kinesthetic learning. If we just see or only read about things, we’ll retain very little after hours. When the learning involves in all senses, it will be remembered keenly and the memory lasts longer. I guess your memory of that cycling is vivid because all senses were engaged.
        I just started reading Mary Karr’s book. She asked a colleague to play a drama in front of the memoir students (without them knowing it was a plan). Student had different feelings toward the scene. Sometime later, she asked them to recall the scene, and it became a different story.
        Imagine 40, 50, 60 years later to write our stories based on memories, it may take someone who has photographic memories to replay the true stories. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • Very true Miriam. My youngest has Asperger’s Syndrome, or high functioning Autism on the Spectrum. She learned much better in her last year of high school when she was taught using kinesthetics. Makes perfect sense considering the way it uses all senses. I just wish they had recognised this for her much earlier. Yes, there is no doubt that when all our senses are engaged, the memory becomes much stronger. Is that The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr? I did a review of her book for Harper Collins, I’ll send you the link if you like. It’s my memoir bible! I remember that story. Her book greatly encouraged me to press on with my memoir, and mine isn’t far off a story from 40 years ago! Yet when I write it, it feels still so close in the scenes I need to write, but others are merely a blur and, as you say, impossible to remember. Those gaps we discussed a while ago, over at the Ranch 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

          • I think memoir differs from a chronological biography. I don’t worry about skipping the parts that are blurry. I’m revising mine. The parts that I remember well have too much details. For my purpose, I would like to have a balance so that my theme and focus won’t get diluted by the rabbit runs. 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

            • Yes, it was good to discuss the issue of those blurry gaps with Irene over at her memoir post at the Ranch, wasn’t it? I was glad to be able to ask her about that, inline with Mary Karr’s view, that we can briefly add that we don’t know what happened at that point, or things turn hazy, etc. and go on to bring in the sensory description of the scene we do remember. On the other hand, having too much detail, as you say Miriam, can also be a bind. As for those rabbit holes/holes, I had so many in my previous drafts (I’m rewriting and editing my fourth, and what i hope my final, before sending off to the editor), that I could have written 3 memoirs out of it! That’s why it’s taken me so long to structure and yes, distill – it, and still am. And on we go! 🙂

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              • I agree with you Sherri. I’m editing mine and chopped of a whole bunch of detail but I keep the original to pass it on to my daughter if she is interested to know.
                Let’s keep each other company until it’s done. I’m writing 3 memoirs, hopefully. 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                • Yikes, you have your work cut out for you, Miriam! Mind you, so do I and wonder if I will actually end up with 3 memoirs! But for now, this first, I hope will be off for editing by end of September. Yes, definitely, we need the mutual moral support 🙂

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • It sounds wonderful, Sherri. September is around the corner. 🙂 I’m trying to compile my poetry when I get stuck in the memoir writing. 🙂

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Great idea Miriam…I used to write more poetry, but not so much lately. I find Charli’s 99 word flash fiction prompts a great way to lift off the memoir pressure. I love going places I can’t with memoir! Here’s to one word at a time! 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I know exactly. My husband wants to go here and there. Even going for a walk is pressure. I go to the gym with him 3 times a week, and sit in the living room with my laptop while he watches TV.
                      I said I have to do it when I have the momentum going, otherwise, it’ll be hard to pick it up again. He asked if one year is okay. Well, at least, I’ll have something done in a year.
                      The part about my first marriage, I either use a pen name or write it as a novel.
                      O also started the part from meeting my husband, I don’t worry about law suit in that part of my life, even though I had some ups and downs with my health, but has some good stories. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yes, keeping the momentum going is so important, it gets harder to get back on track, each time doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing your memoir thoughts, Miriam. My second husband is in my memoir, but before we were married. We were just friends, I was married to my first husband, who died. I have to write about my second husband as he was then (as we both were, at 20) and distance myself from the fact that we went on to be married for 22 years and have 3 children together. I have to put myself back to how we were back then, without descending into ‘navel gazing’ reflection on what was going to happen, as none of that is relevant to my memoir. The cut off of my story is before we married, he isn’t a main thrust of the story, but I have to put him in it for important reasons, although I do wrap up with a very condensed epilogue at the end as to what happened to some of the characters. At this point, I am not at all sure just how much I will say. Would love to discuss this with you and Irene at a later time….just another memoir rabbit hole! I look forward to reading your good stories, Miriam! 🙂 ❤

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Hi Sherri, I’m married to my second husband for 22 years also. We don’t have any children together. I’ll write about our life together, and the first five year will be
                      involved and overlapped with dealing my ex, but I’ll make it brief.
                      I’m so happy to hear your progress in your memoir. I concentrate on putting my poetry book together right now. It’s almost done compiling. Many of the poems will reflect on my struggle during the first marriage. Without a name attached to the poems, it will be safe for me to publish. Will let you know more about the progress.
                      After the poetry book is out, I’ll get back to writing my memoir.
                      Keep in touch. ❤ 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

        • This is what I meant by my last post – are we a fiction because there is no provable truth in memory and each of us will have a different story from the one event and none of them will be what really happened and none of them will be wrong and they make us who we are and they are our true memory but not necessarily the true memory of the event. Even someone with a photographic memory will be affected by their world experiences and perceptions and biases.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Yes, exactly. no two biographies of the same person look exactly the same. 🙂

            Liked by 3 people

          • Exactly Irene. Your fiction/memory post was truly fascinating and thought-provoking. How easy it is to become convinced that something happened the way we ‘exactly’ remember. I wonder about that, writing my memoir, my truth, that is solid truth to me and just as it happened (except for those blurry bits), yet I have always said that I would make a useless police witness. I think of myself as a good observer, but actually, I am not! Add to this, Miriam’s comment about kinesthetic learning, and I have always been a hands-on learner. If someone is just talking to me, forget it, it goes in one ear and out the other. But once I’ve done it for myself, I’ve got it, it’s there, sealed in my brain. The sensory part of our memory heightens our experience and perception and bias and it is then our truth, our actual and real and living memory. And so we write about it, and so we are not fiction…are we? Ha…what a fantastic discussion! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  10. Mabel Kwong says:

    It sounds like you’ve always had an affinity with cycling, Sherri. Never would have pegged you for cycling alone late at night, but we’ve all had our younger days and you seemed like you were quite fearless back then apart from the sound of footsteps your way…and maybe that speed you pedaled home could have won you the Tour de France. It was interesting to hear the Girl Guide meetings finished in the evening. I suppose the sun set early in the cooler months and it would be around that time. Hope all is well at the sunny SummerHouse 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Mabel! Yes, I did enjoy my bike very much. Living out in the country, I loved the independence it gave me, and am sure it contributed to my desperation to pass my driving test and get my first car as soon as I was legally able to, at seventeen! Haha…yes, I pedalled so fast that night, I’m surprised I didn’t burn out the tyres 😀 After that, I asked my mother for a lift into town, and then shortly after, I stopped going altogether. I was thirteen, which also had a lot to do with it, I suppose. Always so lovely to hear from you, bringing your sunny smiles to the Summerhouse. The rewrites are coming along, blogging is hit and miss, but good when it hits, here and there, and I will see you very soon! Hope all is well with you in your neck of the woods, lovely 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Mary Metcalf says:

    Loved your 1st bike memory Sher !
    I can picture you so well frantically peddling in the dark in that particular part of the road, indeed how scary that must have been !
    I remember too wishing I had a ‘chopper’ but I couldn’t even get my parents to buy me a £2 2nd hand bike being sold by an elderly lady outside her house.
    So what it it was far to big for me and an ancient ‘sit up and beg’ type !! I just wanted a bike !
    However, suffice to say, my dear Gran bought me one, also a Raleigh, many years later.
    Lots of love, Mare. XXX

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Mare! How wonderful to read your lively and engaging comment! Haha…and you know that exact piece of road of which I write!! I was petrified 😀 Oh, your dear Gran…what a wonderful story, love that we both had Raleighs! Love your story Mare, thanks so much for sharing it here. So much to to reminisce about…and we haven’t got started with all those adventures in my Mini!!! But those are in the book 😉 Lots of love to you, lovely friend! 🙂 ❤ xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Fantastic Sherri… we had bikes and my younger brother and I would be riding them all the time. We lived about 5 miles from the nearest town and we would ride over there in the holidays to go to the swimming pool. We would be out all day with a picnic and no mobile phones.. can you imagine doing that today? Loved it and brought back happy memories.. hugs ♥

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh Sally, my brother and I did the same in school holidays with a picnic, the swimming pool as well as the tennis courts! And yes, out all day with no means of communication! A very different way of life for our generation growing up and makes me sad for those today who don’t have the freedom we did. Interesting that I don’t have any photos either, but I did enjoy using my old Brownie (before my beloved Kodak Instamatic!). But that would not have been appropriate to take a long on a bike ride! Loved your comment Sally, thanks so much for sharing your cycling stories, great to know this brought back happy memories for you! And thanks so much for sharing so generously on Blogger Daily! Hugs! ❤ xxx

      Liked by 2 people

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  14. dgkaye says:

    Omg, I loved this story Sher. I could just see you whizzing by on your bike. I had a double seater, ‘banana seat’ bike I used to bomb around on. But unlike you, I was always terrified of the dark so I would never have been as brave as you to venture out into the vast darkness, lol. Loved your cute little face with the bike that looked much bigger than you LOL. 🙂 ❤ xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  15. purpleslob says:

    What an awful time you had!! So glad you rediscovered your love of bicycling!!
    I’ve been thinking of getting an adult trike. Won’t I look sporty?? lol
    Thanks as always for sharing yourself with us!!
    Love, Melinda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha…mostly, I loved riding my bike and had lots of fun on it, for hours on end. All day long in the summer holidays. Oh, them were the days! Now it’s funny you mention an adult trike Melinda, as my dear Granny rode one all her adult life, right up until she could do so no longer at the grand age of 92. She never learnt to drive and she was known around her city zooming all over the place. I will have to rummage for a photo of her. There’s one of me sitting in her front basket too, somewhere! So I say, go for it!! Thanks, Melinda! Love to you! ❤ xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Luanne says:

    Worse than a hound, it could have been a slasher! Scary! My first bike had training wheels. My mother lost her top front permanent teeth by riding on a friend’s handlebars, a similar trick.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Luanne! Yikes! I was more scared of ghostly things, but the real world is much more frightening. Oh your poor mother! I am amazed I didn’t have worse happen. We spent that summer with my dad at the beach and keeping the hospital dressing off my brother’s knee was a nightmare! I’m clinging on for dear life with blogging while I finish my memoir rewrites, but I’m determined to get them done, if nothing else (and hope yours are going well, finished by now, maybe?) I miss you, my friend, so happy to read your comment today. Thanks for not forgetting on me, lol, and I will catch up with you asap 😉 ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • Luanne says:

        Sand in the wound. Now that gives me shivers. So happy you area moving along on the memoir! Mine is just sitting there, waiting for me haha. So much going on this summer that I can’t even think of it right now. 😦

        Liked by 2 people

        • Yes, it was awful. He had to keep a plastic covering over his dressed wound. Try telling that to an active boy of 8 who insisted on going into the sea!!! Thanks Luanne, you know how it is, one minute on a roll, the next…ugggh 😦 I was like that last year with our house move that took 9 months. 9 months out on the other side, and I’m rewriting all that I did before the move… We must compare notes soon, once things are calmer for you. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy a lovely weekend and I’ll catch up with you very soon 🙂 xxx

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  17. TanGental says:

    i had forgotten those dynamo lights; the one i had slipped down the frame and could rip into the tyre of you weren’t careful. There seemed to be so much on the go maintenance on bikes back then – chains coming off, brake blocks wearing through, and the ubiquitous punctures… or am I just remembering wrong… Nice to have you back with a post too, of course, Sherri…

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I bought myself my first bike when I was forty and the first thing I did was change the seat for a nice padded one. I went for a few rides in the beginning but never felt safe, in the end I gave it to a friend!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh Gilly, what a story! I won’t ride on the road at all, so I get exactly what you mean. So long as I can keep on a nice, level cycle path, I’m okay. The road in France was deserted, so I felt safe there. Your friend did well, then? Nice padded seat and all…I definitely need one of those! So far, there’s been a problem with my bike every time we’ve gone out, so let’s see!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. You look absolutely gorgeous Sherri on a bike that looks way too big for you. Your storytelling skills are fantastic as you really do manage to put the reader in the scene and in your head and that is a skill not too many of us have. I loved reading about your time cycling down the hill hands free (these days kids probably hands free while they hands free) and the chasing wolf gave me goosebumps. Interesting that that is your last memory of your childhood bike riding days. I too have just brought a new bike but am finding myself nervous about getting on it. Lets go to a quite lane to practice. Thanks for joining in with your wonderfully written memories.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’ve shared that photo before, I realised, but as with you, I discovered that there are no photos of me with my bicycle in my childhood. There is one of me on a plastic tractor, but that didn’t count, I thought! Aww…thank you so much Irene, and goodness, high praise indeed! Just so glad you enjoyed it 🙂 I can still feel that hellfire breath 😀 I was so nervous too when I first tried in France, after so many years, and didn’t dare go on the road, at first. Thankfully, the roads there are very quiet and plenty of room to pull over. I just want to be able to cycle along nice, flat cycle paths, but we haven’t had much time to do that lately. We definitely need a nice quiet lane to practice on…let me know, and I’ll be there! Wonderful cycling down memory lane with you Irene. Great prompt, can’t wait for the next one! 🙂 ❤

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  20. Oh, being a child with a bike! I dig the photo of little you and your BIG bike. You say it’s not your first bike, but I imagine it’s your first big bike, though? Love also how ‘hand free’ now doesn’t automatically connect to biking without holding the handlebars:)
    Something that I also love to do, even if I fell more than once. My knees can still tell!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Haha, that bike is rather large, isn’t it? I’m not sure who’s bike it is, to be honest. I think it was a friend of my parents who used to stop by in the lane at the back of our house. I enlarged it, and I’m holding a tube of Smarties sweets, which were my favourite and would account for my smile, rather than the bike, I suspect 😉 Ha, yes, funny how expressions from our childhood mean something quite different now…some quite rude, hope not this one! Thank you, Evelyne, always lovely to read your fun and interesting thoughts…and hope your knees aren’t too scarred up! 🙂 xxx

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  22. willedare says:

    Not only was your blog post great, the comments shared by your fellow bloggers are fascinating. I love the ideas about kinesthetic learning and also how “memory is a strange and subjective thing.” My first bike was a little blue one-speed, and I remember riding very happily up and down the block on the sidewalk in front of my grandmother’s house in Queens, NY (which I wrote about last summer: https://amusicalifeonplanetearth.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/mo-o-o-ore-than-id-ever-have-guessed/). My favorite bike as a grown up was a BSA (which I think stands for British Small Arms?) three-speed similar to a Raleigh that I bought used and rode happily around Boston for many years until I added a shiny new metal baskets on the front and back (better to carry groceries) after which the bike was promptly stolen! Deep breath in. Deep breath out. I never have dared to put my feet up onto the handlebars while I am riding, but I share many readers’ appreciation for the independence which a bicycle gave me during my child and teen (blessedly cell-phone-free) years. Thank you for writing this post and stirring up memories and thoughts in so many of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Will! I have just read and commented on your delightful post, thank you so much for sharing your cycling memories – and fascinating others – here & there! My Raleigh was a three speed also, and you have just reminded me of that fact! I also had a little bell and got a basket just for the front. At the back of my seat I had a little pouch that held the tyre repair kit and a little tube of oil for the chain. So sorry your bike got stolen though, I would have been devastated! I Googled BSA as I couldn’t remember, and it actually stands for ‘Birmingham Small Arms’, a company that manufactured firearms, of all things, and went on to bicyles and motorbikes! Great to share the cycle down memory lane with you Will…thank you so much for doing likewise! 🙂

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  23. Such a sweet story, Sherri. First bicycles are a right of passage for a child. I probably haven’t ridden a bike in 50 years. I tried riding with my son in a basket seat behind me when living in Taiwan until the basket seat tipped sideways and I almost lost him in the street. Last bike ride ever. Such a cute photo of you.

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  24. I remember the day my father removed the stabilizers from my first bike, Sherri. I was as free as a cloud blowing across the blue sky by the 70mph winds. I never actually owned a chopper bike, but I do remember the fun times me and my friends had at skidding on the back wheels of our bikes while trying to wear down the tyre.
    It’s amazing what memories come back to us from just looking out of a window while travelling. Those same names on those signs also bring back a lot of memories to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Hugh! Oh, what a fantastic memory! That feeling of no more stabilizers was amazing wasn’t it? I couldn’t remember what they were called, and realised that’s because I got so used to calling them ‘training wheels’ as they do in the States, from the time when I took my children out on their bikes their first times! I remember skidding too…such fun, and we didn’t need a chopper to do that, did we? 😉 Ah…yes, that part of the world which holds so many memories for us both, it seems. I particularly think of my dad, taking me and my brother swimming at the public swimming pool at Reigate, and of course picnics at Brighton Beach. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful cycling memories at the Summerhouse, Hugh, always lovely to reminicse with you 🙂 xxx

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  25. Great memories Sherri and a great photo of you on your bike. I don’t remember my first bike, but I remember my purple chopper, which I loved – I had a bit of a tumble on that, scraping my face on the road, though nothing serious, I also seem to remember it being quite a heavy bike – it was obviously a very cool bike looking back though I didn’t think I was cool at the time!

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    • Aww…thanks Andrea and for sharing your wonderful bicycle memories! 🙂 I think you were the coolest – a purple chopper?!!! That’s amazing! Funny isn’t it how our perceptions change, though? Your tumble sounds horrible…oh the things we got up to as kids!

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  26. Dearest Sherri, this post is just wonderful. I love, love, loved it 🙂 You are very gifted at writing memoir. And you mentioned some of my old stamping grounds there in this particular tale.
    What a cute little girl you were, sat there on a boy’s bike, too!
    I had a trike first. It was racing green with lots of chrome on it. Then I had a bicycle that I had to wait months for, because we had to go to the shop every week to pay off a bit more until one day … yay! It was mine. The first time I road it around the garden, I collided with an apple tree and saw stars, and when I came to, there was a toad looking down at me from a low crevice on the trunk, croaking its head off, probably laughing at me!
    Have a wonderful week, my dear friend, and enjoy your new bike whilst the sun shines 🙂 Lots of love, hugs and kisses xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh thank you so much, dearest Sarah..and what high praise, wow! I thought you would enjoy it and your encouragement of my writing has made my day 🙂 Yes…I knew you would be very familiar with those places. I particularly remember my dad taking me and my brother to the public swimming pool in Reigate in the school holidays after my parents split up. He stayed in the area while I, of course, moved to Suffolk. Haha…yes, that bike was a friend of my parents who used to stop by in the lane for a chat now and then, I remember. And I so much enjoyed reading your early bicycle memories…what a fantastic memory of the toad! I can see that had quite an impact on you, once your stars cleared…poor you, though! As for my new bike it sits in the shed for now, as we have yet to find a moment to get out on them – hubby has one too – and I am in need of practice – lots of it! Lovely to chat my lovely friend…hope your week is going well, we’ll catch up very soon. Lots of love, hugs and kisses to you ❤ xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Sherri that was an absolutely delightful read. It is really a treasure and brightened my day which as you know was trying. You are able with your words to take the us back in time and feel as if we are with you. Such a wonderful talent and gift. I can just see you flying down that road with the hounds in hot pursuit. The photo of you as little girl is priceless!! Weren’t we fearless when we were young? And then somehow life seems to take a bit of that courage from us. And yet here you are riding again. Keep pedaling my dear Sherri!! ❤ xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dearest Diane, as always, your wonderful comment has brought smiles and joy to my day knowing that this post did the same for you on a difficult day. I am so happy to know that! Thank you so much for sharing your lovely thoughts and taking the time to read and comment when I know how very much you have had on your plate of late. It means so much to me ❤ And I will keep you posted regarding my new cycling adventures, although nothing to report as yet, since I have to gain my confidence even as I type! Much love and hugs my dear Diane! ❤ xoxoxo

      Like

  28. Seyi Sandra says:

    I love your picture Sherri! You look so beautiful, and the way you perched on that bicycle showed your confidence. Unfortunately, I can’t ride a bike, I can’t swim, I live a pretty boring life I must say. The only thing I’m really good at is reading and writing. I hope to learn to ride one day, and maybe learn to swim too. But my right wobbly knee must heal first.
    It’s refreshing to be able to read your article my friend, I’ve missed so much. I will be leaving London for a couple of days and really wished I could see you. Anyway, one day soon Sherri, I’ll make that visit.
    Much love to you always and love to the family! 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Your friend, Seyi

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Seyi, how wonderful to read your delightful comment today at the Summerhouse, thank you so much! I love that you say I look confident in the photo,I never thought of myself as that, so when I write about such memories, it helps me to remember that I was more brave than I give myself credit for! And I don’t think your life is at all boring…reading and writing is your gift! One day we will visit, of that I am sure. I have missed so much too, I am treading water with blogging at the moment while I work hard on my memoir rewrites, and you will be pleased to know I am making good progress…now, if I can just keep it up to the finish line and get the final draft to the editor by end of September/October…oh, I will do my utmost! I hope that you are enjoying a most wonderful summer with your beautiful family and healing and recovering as smoothly and as well as possible. I will try to catch up on blogs very soon, including yours of course, and will keep in touch. See you soon, my dear friend and much love and blessings to you and your family! 🙂 ❤ 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Seyi Sandra says:

        Thank you dear Sherri for your kind reply to my comment. I know it’s been a while and I do apologise… I am still battling a few health issues, hospital visits and on-going tests are never far away but God is faithful. However, I am really looking forward to reading your memoir. Like I always say, what is worth doing, is worth doing well. Using your website as a guide, I can expect to read to my heart’s content when you release it. I hope you’ll do a launching in London? That would be awesome!! 🙂 🙂 It’s so nice to read from you again. My blogging is sporadic as well, and I work from home now. It’s difficult juggling family duties, full time job, a writing career and church work. I’ve scaled down a lot.
        Take care of yourself my friend, my love and warm regards to you and your lovely family. 🙂 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Aww Seyi, so sorry to hear about your ongoing health issues, my thoughts and prayers are with you my dear friend, that you are soon fully recovered. Thank you as always for your amazing support of my memoir, I am honoured that you would want to read it when it is ready, and oh, how I would love to do a launch in London…that would be my dream! But first, a lot of work to get my memoir final draft finished, edited, and then, published. I understand so well the pull in so many different directions, a constant juggling act. Working from home isn’t always as easy as some might think, the distractions can make it even harder to remain focused and disciplined, something I constantly struggle with. But I hope it has helped you in a lot of ways with your busy family/work/church life, that you take that all-important time out for yourself to rest and recouperate and take care of yourself too, as you wish for me 🙂 Much love to you and every good wish to your beautiful family and to the rest of a lovely summer 🙂 ❤ 🙂 xxxxxxx

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  29. What a wonderful post, and thank you for sparking memories of the first time I rode without training wheels, my father first running along behind holding the bicycle steady, and then setting me free. Such a gift you’ve given me in that memory. Happy cycling!

    Liked by 2 people

  30. taskerdunham says:

    I like writing about bicycles too. What surprises me about the one in the picture is that it’s a man’s bike with a crossbar, very like the one I got aged about 12. Women’s bikes had a lowered frame so that they could mount and dismount decorously whilst dressed in a dress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your bicycle memories and visiting the Summerhouse! That bike belonged to a friend of my parents, sadly I don’t have any of me on my own bike, which did have a lowered frame. Those crossbars definitely are not easy while wearing a dress!

      Like

  31. robbiecheadle says:

    What a lovely picture, Sherri. I loved your story. Bicycles have a magical place in all our hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

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