Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Wheeling instinctively down the icy mountain road on my motorcycle this morning, body ever at the ready for instant checks and automicroadjustments, my unneeded mind took a break and drifted back to when I began to learn all this ice-wheel stuff, which was when at the age of seven I got my first bicycle, for Christmas, in upstate New York, which in winter has some sort of sister-windchill relationship with Siberia.

The bike was a truly "spiffy" (my grandmother’s word; I rode it first to her house) Columbia, the perfect scarlet (I'd never seen the perfect scarlet before) with ivory striping down the crossbars and fenders. It was a "26" (one spoke with disdain of childish "24s") and still too big for me, but as God clearly indicated to me at the time, there was no way I was going to wait till icelessness to take this baby out.

So out I went into the hoarfrosted teeth of Siberian morning on my new wheels and proceeded to slither and slide and slew and yaw and fall and get up again and pedal on along the slushy roads and icy sidewalks atop my sparkling new bike, it was cold and hard but great, and I made it to all the necessary wheres and back. Little did I know that I was preparing for decades further on the road, the occasional winter commute down an icy Japanese countryside mountain to catch a train into a Japanese city on the other side of the world, right next door to Siberia.

Ain't life every bit as great as a new bike?


Joy Des Jardins said...

Well, it certainly would appear so.

Steve Sherlock said...

Yes, I recall my first bike also a 26 but jet black with no extra adornment. It was lean and mean and covered many a mile in my travels out and about the hometown. Funny thing too, my street ran down the hill and across the river. I ended up going to college in the city where the head waters of that river were found. Nothing like going to the source for an education!