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Great Times > Reflecting
"I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike.
I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like!"
(Queen, 1978, Bicycle Race)
Biker like an Icon
The warm season gets people back outside to play, walk, maybe even run, but definitely to bike. We have started once more exploring the planet "per pedal," as opposed to "per pedes," the common Latin expression for "by foot."
"I want to ride my bicycle" is one of the most famous hymns by the music group Queen, for it definitely speaks right out of the heart of so many people, including that idolized & motorized "Biker like an Icon" Paul McCartney dedicated another song to. The question comes to mind, how you can recognize a friendly biker: From the flies between his teeth!
Equipped with Bikes, Trikes, and Alikes
A new bike around the time of the twelfth birthday is not only a tradition, it is simply "a must" among the young folk. It is no more and no less than a celebration on the occasion of reaching an age, when one is allowed to sit on the front passenger seat in the car, included in the circle of those watching more interesting films at the movie theater and especially permitted to ride a bicycle on his or her own out in the streets. A long awaited age limit for being let loose in the urban jungle, which can be quite dangerous though. A milestone in growing up, only matched by the age of 16, when the first spritzer (wine mixed with sparkling water) may officially run down one's throat. But that is a different story...
Having all the other family members equipped with two wheels, it was time for me to dig out my old bike, which I had so proudly received as a present for my own twelfth birthday, brush off the spiders and pump up these old tires, see whether they wouldn't explode under my weight. But guess what, the old bicycle was too small for me, my knees started to hurt from riding it after a while and so time came to say good-bye to another part of childhood memories and look for a new iron-donkey. (Or how would you translate the German word "Drahtesel"?)
Over the years we have collected lots of miles & kilometers on bikes. We have gone places by bike, in and outside of town, even rode it through a McDrive. Unexpectedly seeing us on bicycles, not in a car, the employees at the McDonald's drive-thru were laughing and so were we. Another example of thinking out of the box, I suppose.
In some of the nearby pictures you can see us preparing for a typical biker tour. We were just getting ready for another rapid cycling trip in Austria: Half an hour pedaling through the green prairie, one hour sitting at a tavern, while it would be raining. And then back again with black pudding power and (miniature-)cream cake strength... Or as one would say in German: "Und dann mit Blunzn-Power und (Mini)Cremeschnitten-Kraft retour."
Hero Boy resuces Sunglasses from River
Going for a walk, our little boy wanted to throw stones into a nearby creek. In one hand the tired toddler held a stone, in the other his sunglasses. He counted "One, Two, Three, Two, One, Go!" and both went in! His motionless mother was in awe as the sunglasses swam away. The poor kid cried himself to sleep.
The next day, his older siblings and his father took him to the same place again, desperately scanning the creek downstream for the favourite shades. His older brother even went on after the end of the walking trail, under a bridge with bats and cars thundering over it. The following, partially flooded walking path ended about half a mile away under another dark bridge. The water was very slow and shallow, and as the father carrying the little one was ready to give up, the older brother spotted the lost item with his eagle eye. The hero boy took his shoes and socks off and waded into the dirty water through slippery seaweed. His little brother screamed of joy, as he saved the day and rescued the lost sunglasses.
Shock Freeze-Biking and the Marx Brothers
After another too long and too cold winter, it was still chilly when I got the bicycles out of the basement to pump up the tires, then I rode the bike for a while with the boy for the first time in the new year. He surprised me, as he wanted to go all the way up to the next movie theater, but I felt the biting cold on my ears and in my throat, so in order to stay healthy we turned back and took the car.
At the parking garage below the cinema we were discussing how deep down we'd need to go in order for his mobile phone to lose the signal. So we ended up four stories below the ground. Waiting for the elevator, we played the usual game "1, 2 or 3": "Whether you are right or wrong, you'll see as soon as the light goes on." He won, as his cabin arrived first.
But then on each floor upstairs more people kept coming in. A man transporting stuff in a shopping cart took most of the space up. At one point, an elderly couple was going to stay outside as the elevator was already too full. But from within people signaled that there was still some room left inside the lift, so they also joined in. Packed like sardines, we were standing in the corner, when I broke the silence and asked my son, whether he knew the old Marx Brothers movie, where they are in a cabin on a boat. An elderly lady, approximately four people away in the three square meter big elevator cabin, responded: "That is now a stupid comparison, I must say. It even makes me laugh..." Apparently she knew the crowded cabin scene from "A Night at the Opera," where the Marx Brothers keep inviting individuals into their tiny room up to a point that someone opens the door from the outside and dozens of people fall into the hallway... Do you?
The next page is all about  not exactly purple cows but  Purple People.
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