I received this present on the morning of my tenth birthday. I awoke to the sound of my family singing in my room. I can hear them now, “…happy birthday to Betsy…happy birthday to you.” I threw a pillow at them and told them to get out. When I finally crawled out of bed, to my surprise, a pink string was tied to my door. I had to follow this string throughout the house. It went downstairs. Back upstairs. Downstairs again. Through the kitchen, into the living room and the family room, then down to the basement. Still following the string, I went around the corner and there was my new best friend, the toy that I would take everywhere for the next three summers.
The Murry All Terrain Explorer 10 Speed was its name. Going to new undiscovered places was its game. This bike was the ultimate bike, the bike of all bikes. It had the super deluxe water bottle carrier. The extra “cushy” seat that made you never want to sit anywhere else, and the “easy” change speed controls were the best. This bike was mine, and I loved it. It was shiny, and it had that “new bike” smell to it. The handlebars and the seat were electrifying hot pink. You had to wear sunglasses to look at them! To a ten-year-old, this was the most beautiful piece of metal in the world.
Its sleek design just seemed to shout, “speed!” When I was on this bike, I was in my own world. It took me to places that I never thought were in my neighborhood. We went down every street and around every turn. I saw new houses and new trees. The pedals were shiny black rubber that invited my feet to hop on for a ride. It was these pedals that took me to “The Hill.” “The Hill” was what Lindsay and I believed, back then, to be the world’s biggest hill. When going down this hill on our bikes, we could fly. I could feel the wind in my face and the smell the fresh air in my nose. When I was flying down the hill the handlebars were the navigation tools for my plane. With these handle bars I always had the perfect grip on my bike. My hands fit into the grooves flawlessly and I could maneuver around any bend or curve in any road.
As I cruised through the neighborhood up steep hills and around sharp curves my bike and I became one. Familiar landscape was a mere blur of swirling, streaming color. Trees flowed into houses as I sped by and the sky melted into the ground on the horizon.
In those days, my shiny pink bike was my faithful friend, my constant companion. Together we discovered a world I had never experienced before. The freedom and the wonder were unparalleled. We all have to grow up sometime and when we do, we have to leave behind childhood memories and some of our favorite objects which helped us to make the memories. My bike is now gone. However, the hill is not. Every once in a while I drive my car to this hill and cruise down, it remembering the times that Lindsay and I spent here.