Saturday, April 5, 2014

Look Mum, No hands!

As Close to Mine as I Can Recall!
Photo © jasonGT 
I remember going to Canadian Tire with my mother when I was around J's age. I remember vividly how the man who worked there told my mother that I should really get the 24 inch Diamond Back BMX. However, I was too afraid of the height. I could barely reach the floor with both feet. All I knew for certain was that I absolutely loved the 20 inch BMX I was sitting on instead. It was chrome with Mr. T inspired gold accents a la 80's. It was my first 'big boy' bike and it just felt right. "Are you sure?" my mother asked. I gripped the handlebars tightly, slightly fearful of being refused this guilty pleasure. Before long I found myself riding solo in and out of the streets of Verdun and there began my love affair with two wheels. If I have to explain you wouldn't understand. By the end of the summer of '85 I had outgrown my training wheels and had undertaken adventures that the Goonies would have been proud of!

Thirty years later and I found myself sharing in my oldest son's excitement over a bicycle once again. Like myself all those years ago, he fell in love with a bike that we saw yesterday at Toys R Us. Like my original BMX bike this was a 20 inch bicycle with gold accents. However, the similarities stop there. J's bike is in fact the monster truck of kids bikes as the tires themselves support my two-hundred pound frame. (I couldn't help myself and tried the bike out!)

Gotta Love FAT Tires!
While the rest of North America seems to be losing itself in online video games and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter we couldn't be happier with the fact that our baby boy has shown interest in traditional activities as well. Whilst he was at school today my wife and I went to purchase the bike, some training wheels and a new bicycle helmet. With spring promising to finally reach the Eastern Townships, we are looking forward to spending a summer filled with scraped knees, scratched paint and of course the odd head injury as we venture in cycling once again.

Step 1: Share in Your Son's Excitement!
Step 2:
Think About All The Tricycles Your Going to Run Over!
Step 3:
Marvel At Your Son's Interest in Learning!
Step 4:
Ask Yourself - Are We Done yet?
Step 5: Tighten Nuts With Dad's Ratchet!
Step 6: Gather Handlebars, Bell, Stickers.
Step 6.5: Reward Baby Brother With Stickers!
Step 7: Align Handlebars
Step 7.5:
Help Baby Brother Check Tire Tread on His Tigger Bike
Step 8: Teach Baby Brother How to Put Stickers On Bell.
Step 9:
Install all Important Crotch Protector! :-p
Step 10: Add Training Wheels and Pump Air into Tires
Step 11: Look Both Ways
Before Entering Traffic!
As we worked on J's new bicycle my youngest son happily plastered his Tigger bike with the stickers that his older brother had generously given him. We were particularly pleased with how gracious our little guy was. Undoubtedly he was too preoccupied with his own steed of equal caliber as he relishes its safety features including an extended tail that allows us to hold him from behind. This false sense of security gives him the courage to plod forward clumsily as he has yet to master the art of pedaling just yet. As for J himself, his bike is certainly eye catching and promises to carry him towards many misadventures that he may find himself in as the next few years go by. My fondest memories as a child were cycling along the hidden paths, lane ways and riverbeds that Verdun seems adept at producing. I remember counting down the days until finally it would be warm enough to take my bike out again and renew my love affair all over again. Hours would fly by within a blink of an eye as time itself became meaningless.

Step 12: Look Towards Future Adventures!
Step 13: Whenever Possible
Ride With Good Company!
Step 14: See the Big Picture! ;-)
Before we knew it several hours had indeed already passed by as we finished building J's bike. The weather is finally warming up as well and all three of us feel the open road (or in this case, bike path) calling to us. My boys have unsurprisingly inherited my addiction to all things two wheels. Huffing and puffing as we went up the street and back again, I in the stereotypical crouched position of holding J's seat from behind. He managed to ride straight and true on two occasions and I couldn't help but feel nostalgic about the whole event. More important than the bike itself is the bond that it creates between parent and child. As I learned how to ride, as I grew from a child into a young adult, my mother was in fact the person who would be the one to eventually put a small down payment on my very first motorcycle, a 1986 Yamaha Maxim 650cc. Naturally, the bike turned out to be a non-runner. (clever mother) However, like my BMX, that didn't stop it from taking me to far off places and dreaming of tomorrow's adventures. As my boys put their bicycles away for the evening they lined them up next to my own bike, a TW200. Something in their eyes tells me that they already have their sights set on bigger and better adventures to come and with any luck, maybe they will let me share in those dreams as well.


  1. Thanks for lovely photos and words Mario we loved the photo story of The two jays and Daddy M. Hope you will have lots of good cycling weather coming soon. Love from Chris and Bob

  2. LOVE everything about this story my friend...Thank you for sharing.


  3. Very nice Mario; as usual, a great story and perspective on life.


  4. Hope Joel has a great time on his bike...

  5. Fabulous .... Love this Mario!