I arrived at my daughter’s school yard this afternoon to find her little circle of friends taking turns riding her bike around the basketball court. This wasn’t the first time for most of them – it had become almost routine back in the spring before school ended. But her bike is the next size larger than the bikes her friends own, so the demand still exists. My daughter was obviously proud that they were so anxious to take her beloved bike for a spin before she left. I was happy to see the girls smiling as they circled the court, gaining speed at each corner, hair streaming behind them… which reminded me that they weren’t wearing helmets (we stopped sharing the helmet after head lice enrolled in our school last year). Then it occurred to me that they were riding a bike slightly too large for them, without helmets. As the last girl hopped on and rode away, she informed us that she had never ridden a bike with only hand brakes. Visions of lawyers danced before my eyes, as I yelled after her to squeeze the brakes slowly to stop. She didn’t need my advice, however; after not quite turning the next corner, she side-swiped the chain link fence which brought her to a complete stop, laughing and unscathed. As we rode home, I lamented the loss of innocence of a simple childhood pleasure, trying out a friend’s new bike. Oh well, at least everyone had a turn, and no one got hurt, and we get to keep our house. Until next time, if there is one.
(You may notice there are no photos or names to accompany this post, since not all of the children involved were mine, and I can't risk being sued by another parent for putting their child on the internet. In fact, all characters in this post are fictitious; any resemblance to persons real or otherwise is entirely coincidental, etc., etc.)