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Two-wheeled memories both good and bad

There is something really exciting about a brand new bike.

Whether it is new to you or just brand spanking new, a new bike creates a sense of adventure.

It conjures up images of back country roads, trails in the Bighorns or pathways to Kendrick Park for ice cream.
I recently got a new mountain bike (happy birthday to me!) and tested it out on some mountain roads and trails last weekend.

Me and bikes don’t always get along. It has been a tenuous relationship in the past.

I’m usually too short to ride any bike other than one specially bought for my short stature.
Attempting to ride my husband’s bike usually ended in me crashing into something or just tipping over because I couldn’t quite reach the ground.

Growing up I had the same mountain bike from the time I graduated to a speed bike to the time I left college and left my bike in Evanston, Ill.

While, like I said, the relationship with that forest green mountain bike was iffy at times, it did help form some rather entertaining memories.

My family and I used to ride the trails between our house and Cleveland, Ohio, on the towpath. We’d stop for dinner on the way home for some chicken wings and pizza. That was a good memory.

My bike also took me places new and exciting in my neighborhood. I was always finding secret roads and driveways that led to parks, schools and friends’ houses. Sometimes I’d also find little hiding spots in the woods near my house where I could park my bike, sit and just watch the world go by. That, too, was a good memory.

Once, though, shortly after I got my shiny green bike, my family all decided to go for a ride through a nearby neighborhood. It was great. The bike felt good, I was learning how to shift between gears and I could reach the ground.

But on the way home, we had to descend a steep hill that dead-ended into another street. No big deal, right? I’d just have to turn right at the bottom of the hill.

Well, about halfway down the hill I tried to apply my brakes to slow down a little before the turn.
But, my mind had been trained that to brake I should pedal backwards. So when I didn’t slow down by pedaling backward, I panicked.

My little legs were flying 100 miles an hour pedaling backward and not once did it cross my mind that the brakes on my new bike were applied by the levers on my handle bars.

So I crashed into a curb and mailbox at the bottom of the hill. After checking to make sure I was OK, my family got a good laugh out of the whole scene.

That one, not so great of a memory.

About

Kristen Czaban

Kristen Czaban joined The Sheridan Press staff in 2008 and covered beats including local government, cops and courts and the energy industry. In 2012, she was promoted and now serves as the managing editor for The Press. Czaban has a journalism degree from Northwestern University.

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