Annie always wanted a red bicycle, that is, once she outgrew her twenty inch sea-foam green one, but back then, there really wasn’t much selection. Girls’ bikes were blue; the boys’ bikes were red with a bar, but first, she had to learn to ride her bike.
Training wheels helped when she began, but soon they were raised, lifted off the ground. For Annie, it only made her feel unbalanced and when she fell, and she fell all too often, it only made it more difficult to get back on her bicycle again. Her younger sister Carrie had a smaller bike, blue and red, but she was struggling, too. Finally, their dad took the training wheels off their bikes, probably deciding it was time they learned to ride.
One early summer evening, Carrie, Annie, and their friend Teri were playing in their front yard when their older sister Kelly said she’d help them learn to ride their bikes. Carrie rolled her bike out from the garage. Straddling the pedals, Carrie extracted a promise from her sister that she’d hold on. The pair began to move; Carrie pedaling and Kelly running beside her and holding on as she told Carrie, “Pedal as fast as you can.” A few feet beyond, Kelly let go and Carrie was riding on her own. Next came Teri, and the same routine commenced with the same exultation.
Not so, for Annie. Having seen the trick in action twice, she was skeptical and kept falling off before she could get going on her own. Eventually, Kelly gave up as Annie refused to even try.
Soon all of her younger friends in the neighborhood began to ride independently up and down the street and driveways. Everyone but Annie, that is. No matter how many times she was offered help, she knew what would happen, and it did. She started pedaling, the person would let go, and she’d fall. Annie thought she’d never learn to ride her bike.
One hot July afternoon, all of the neighborhood kids were all over at Annie’s house trying to decide what to do. Should they play hide-n-go-seek? Tag? Or something less hot? All the while, Annie kept getting on her bicycle and trying to ride. Over and over again, she’d put her foot on the pedal and push off. Time after time, she’d fail, the bike clattering to the grass.
Fortunately, nobody was paying attention to Annie as she continued to climb on the lower pedal and push off, or so she thought. The more frustrated she got, the more determined she became to do it on her own. Annie kept at until finally she managed to ride. Not very far, not very fast, but she did it!
“Hey, Annie!” someone yelled, but she didn’t hear who as she ran into the house to tell her mom. She fell into her mom’s arms nearly sobbing.
“Mom, I rode my bike,” Annie said, and her mom said how proud she was of her.
After she calmed down and went outside again, it was like a new day. Annie could hold her head up because finally she could ride a bike like everyone else. What everyone finally decided to do that day, who knows. For Annie, the day was already a success.
Over time, Annie outgrew her little bike, but then so did Kelly. At that time, Kelly rode a blue twenty-four inch bike with balloon tires. It was this bike that was given to Annie when her parents bought a brand new larger bicycle for Kelly. Her new one was blue, of course, with sleek, shiny fenders, and thinner tires. It was so pretty compared to Kelly’s castoff, but that was Annie’s new bike as Carrie took over Annie’s hand-me-down.
At first, Annie was disappointed with the oldest of the bikes, but soon she discovered that those fat tires, that everyone seemed to make a joke of, were great when it came to racing. The bike looked slow, but it could move especially when coasting. More than one person was surprised by the bike’s speed, and Annie was almost sorry when the bicycle was replaced a couple years later for a brand new bike similar to the one Kelly had been given. It was perfect, and it was the bike that Annie rode until she went away to college.
After college, Annie decided to purchase another bike. One with gears, a racer, definitely fancier than anything she’d ever had before. But most important, she wanted a bike that was red. By now, bikes came in all colors, not just red and blue. She actually went to a bike shop where she was fitted for a bike. In stock there were many colors including a deep red; however, there weren’t any red ones in her size. Even now, Annie rides a sleek silver racing bike.