My First Bike

A friend of mine recently asked me to put to paper the story of my first bike.  It struck a chord with me because I remember my first bike very vividly and the ordeal that I had to go through to get it.

I was 8 years old at the time and living in Port Perry, Ontario. My father ran a Fina gas station there, not a brand that you hear of any more but I still remember the sign and the smell of gas. I have three elder sisters, and for the life of me I can’t recall if they all had their own bikes or not. I do recall however, that my father was adamant on the notion that I wasn’t going to get a bike unless I already knew how to ride one. This meant trial by fire on the bike owned by one of my sisters.

The learning bike was a wretched beast. It had a basket on the front, the seat was too tall for me by far and it had those silvery streamers sticking out of the handlebars. The kind of bike an 8 year old boy would be mortified to be seen riding because there was no mistaking, it was a girls bike.

For the life of me I could not get the hang of balancing on the bike. There was never a thought of training wheels. My sisters had outgrown them and since it was their bike they weren’t going to put them back on  just so their crappy little brother could get a new bike. But my eldest sister seeing my struggles came up with the brilliant notion that my problem wasn’t lack of balance, it was lack of speed.

Our house/service station was at the corner of minor highway and gravel service road. The entrance from the highway was pretty flat but part of the property on the gravel road side had a decent sized hill. There were a couple trees and bushes and a ditch at the bottom, but my sister was confident that the speed I got going down this hill would make these obstacles inconsequential. To this day, I still recall the sheer terror of that tumultuous drop. It couldn’t have lasted more than 30 seconds but dodging the trees and bushes and frantically searching for a place in the ditch that looked like I might have a chance not to crash into did in fact make me forget about my balance problems.

In the end, I did crash and cry and my sister got in trouble, but it made something click. I never had the balancing problems after that wild ride. That week I got my brand new bike. It was a thing of beauty.  A black 3 speed with a banana seat and the gear shift on the frame right in front of the seat. This was in the days before BMX bikes and ten speeds being a common thing.  You still back pedaled to brake.

I don’t have any pictures with that bike in it. I’m sort of glad I don’t though. Many years later I went on a drive around Ontario trying to find the houses we used to live in when I was growing up. Twenty five years changed that mountain of a hill into a mild slope. I’d hate to see what it would have done to the coolest bike ever.

Morning Chuckle

I don’t live in the best neighborhood in the world. Currently we have contractors working on our house replacing the majority of our front veranda  and they will be replacing our front and side doors with something a bit more secure as well as non drafty.

I like our contact guy with the contracting company. He was joking with me this morning that he’s already warned his guys to leave nothing on site not even a lunchbox for fear that the locals will walk with it.

But he said when he was working on taking out the veranda yesterday, a couple of middle aged guys walk by on the street ask them why they’re doing work on a cop’s house. Our contractor replies, “Hey man I’m not prejudiced, I’ll work on a cop’s house, I’ll work on your house, hell I’ll work on anybody’s house if they got the money. But I don’t think the guys a cop, the sign on their truck says they do graphics or something.”

The guy just shakes his head and said, “Ain’t you ever heard of an undercover cop?”

I sure hope this rumor gets around to all the bad eggs in our neighborhood. I mean seriously, who breaks into a house if they think a cop lives there? :)


Contest Entry

I cut back the throttle approaching the hairpin. It’s not enough.

 In the split second it takes to come around the bend the running commentary in my head is a jumble of profanity and panic.

 “Fuck kid, here of all places you decide to play in the road you little shit? Left, no there’s a semi left, go right. Too fast, too close to the guardrail, gotta lay it down. Damn it, I still have $10K left to pay on this fucking bike. Oh shit my leg. Arrrrghhh my leg. Oh fuck, still too fast I’m going over. Oh man, I’m dead.”

Then nothing. For so long nothing.

 Now it’s red. And it’s pretty damn warm. “Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.”

 But strangely, I’m not hungry or in pain. There’s no one in sight. Just red everywhere and in the distance some strange looking Eye of Sauron thing, blurry from the heat.

Well isn’t this the classic horror movie dilemma? Sit on my ass perfectly safe doing nothing or go explore the scary eye where there could be demons and worse waiting to torture the humbled atheist.

 I wait.

 Well isn’t this boring?

 And wait.

 Yup, now I try to rationalize avoiding the boredom. Maybe I’m in a coma. Perhaps the scary evil symbol on the horizon is something I should explore.

 And wait.

 Is hell a choice between eternal nothingness and foolish decisions?

 And wait.

 Am I really this bored?

 And wait.

 I strike out towards the eye.

Above is my entry for the Clarity of Night flash fiction contest. Please go by and read all the great entries.

I’m Alive

I am actually still alive, but new posts just haven’t been forthcoming due to a variety of factors. Lack of inspiration, and I’ve actually been pretty busy for someone who only works a couple of days a week.

I’ve been taking guitar lessons from a new friend. A different friend from Toronto came to visit us for a week and we toured around Nova Scotia as much as we could showing her the sites.

I’ve actually started back in my quest to create a online version of Tarabish (Cape Breton’s little known and non exported best card game ever).

Finally we’ve been putting a bunch of effort into getting Dar’s artwork out there and it’s paying off. She sold 2 paintings last week.

But in other news, Jason over at the Clarity of Night is putting on one of his super awesome writing contests once again. Past entrants get a sneak peek at the photo in advance so I had a story rolling around in my head for a few weeks. I shall post it when it goes up at his site and provide a link. I always prefer it shows first on his site considering all the generosity and effort he shows putting these contests on. Please do go out and read the entries and enjoy.

Status Update

Thank you for all the warm wishes.

I have not yet missed a day since I last posted. Oddly enough, I still managed to put on 8 pounds since I was weighed 2 months ago. I am still not giving up though.

Doing the treadmill is 2 miles a day if I do it for 45 minutes which is what I have been doing. So 26 miles since I started. Let’s see if I can get to 100 miles without missing a day.

Taking the Dive

So, in the last 9 days, I have worked out on the treadmill for 45 minutes 7 times. I missed one day because I didn’t want to contribute to the pounding of my wife’s migraine and one day because I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep up the every day pace.

I’ve decided I’m going to try and keep up the every day pace. I started at 2.6 speed the first 2 times at an incline of zero, then I moved up to the incline of 1 the next 2 times then I switched it to 2.8 speed at an incline of 2 for the last 3 times. Right now I feel I’m gonna keep to this level for a while because it feels like more of a workout.

It’s a start. I realize that I’m currently in a situation that if I don’t take advantage of, I’m going to be very upset with myself. There’s nothing worse than being angry at yourself. I’m working 2 days a week, my wife is able to stay off work and work on her art and the 2 days a week is paying the bills. I’ve never had such an abundance of potential than I do this year. I don’t want to waste it.

Wish me luck.

Following A Thread

So, I was getting a little overloaded playing WoW recently and decided to take a break and watch a movie.

I had recently acquired Easy A so I thought I’d give a try.

It was cute, predictable, but what really made me sit up and take notice was the soundtrack. It’s really damn good.

So, from watching a movie, I’m now following a new thread looking for the soundtrack of the movie. Once I listen to the whole soundtrack, I realize I like one song a little bit more than the rest. So of course I look who the artist is that sings it.

Now I’m following another thread trying to find what albums Lenka has out there.

Turns out she has a self titled album out there that was released in 2008. I hope she comes out with a second one because this is a thread that I don’t want to end.


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