While recently out on my 5km stroll, I noticed some nervous looking mommies and daddies attempting to teach their kids how to cycle and I started thinking about my first bike. Some of my fondest memories growing up in Kerry, were the long and what seemed like hotter summers spent with my two sisters and cousins. I used to patiently wait on my blue and yellow tricycle at the gate, while my sisters headed up the field on their bikes. Unfortunately, my 3-wheeled friend just wasn’t cut out for cross-country travel. Finally, the day came when I inherited my sister’s red and white bike. I loved that bike and although it was a hand-me-down, it meant so much to me. I still have it in safe keeping but it’s more of an antique now.
My colleagues at AA Roadwatch share their memories of their first bike.
It wasn’t my first bike that I remember most, but my younger brother’s. As I ambled around on my pink-tasselled bike, using stabilisers for far longer than the average child, my brother would whiz past me on his little two-wheeled, luminous green rocket. Sometimes, I’d take his bike and scoot along using my feet, pretending I could cycle like the cool kid I was not. The saddle was so soft, you could go up and down kerbs like there was no tomorrow. Every so often I’d hold my legs up to see if I could balance, and one day I didn’t fall. The rest is history.
When I think back to my childhood memory of my bike, it has to be the one I bought after my Holy Communion. No longer was I to cycle around the housing estate on my little bike as this was my first grown-up bike. It was my prized possession. Whether it was cycling down to the local shops or venturing to the Phoenix Park for a family day out, I brought that bike everywhere with me.
I got my first bike when I was five or six. It was black with neon green print. I learnt how to cycle on the back roads near my house (with stabilizers of course!) Unfortunately, due to growth spurts that bike had to be replaced not long after. My fondest memory of my first bike is cycling to primary school on sunnier days with my older brother or cycling to the local GAA pitch in the summer months. Unfortunately, living in an area called ‘Meath Hill’ meant there were plenty of hills to navigate on the way.
I learned to ride a bike the same week that I learned to swim. My stabilizers and armbands didn’t know what hit them!
The memories I have of my first bike are not quite like what you might see in the movies. I lived next to my cousin Alan, who was about 3 years older than me. Being the younger one, I wanted to impress him and be cool. My memories are full of trying to keep up with him and the main objective was to show no fear and obviously not fall!
I remember my first bike well, it was pink with purple tassels on the handlebars. I was 4 years old and I thought it was very glamorous. I remember the first time I attempted to cycle without stabilizers, my dad brought me to Dublin’s Dollymount Strand. We thought that sand would act as a better cushion than tarmac. However, we soon learned that wet sand combined with rocks and shells could be just as hard. I was nervous at first and didn’t make it far without my dad’s reassuring hand on the back on my saddle. As time went on, my confidence grew and as my dad struggled to keep up, I finally managed to stay upright without any support.
My first bike was a birthday present from my grandparents when I was around 3 or 4. They had brought me back a tiny tricycle in their suitcase from a holiday in France a couple years before and thought I was ready to level up. I remember being allowed try to cycle it inside the house the day they gave it to me, but, as a fairly clumsy child, I was quickly informed that it was an outdoors-only pursuit after that. I had that red-and-white bike, with a bell everyone else must have found annoying, for a few years – cycling around our housing estate or on family excursions where “no further than the next lamp-post!” was drilled into me as I charged ahead of my parents. I remember finding it again a few years ago in my parents’ attic and being surprised at how tiny it was – it seemed huge when I was learning to cycle it and worrying about taking the stabilizers off.
I remember getting my first bike like it was yesterday. In 1999, I asked Santa Claus for a pink Barbie bike with pink shimmery tassels hanging from the handlebars. When I walked into my sitting room on Christmas morning and saw it for the first time, it was everything I had dreamed about! I remember heading out on my first cycle around the green outside my house, still in my Christmas PJs! A handful of my neighbours had also gotten bikes from Santa, so it was like the Tour De France in Kildare, several eager children showing off their shiny new bikes.
Esther O’Moore Donohoe
My first mode of transport was a tractor. I’d lovingly transport my infant baby brother around the house in the trailer which I’m sure my parents loved. I don’t think I got my first big bike until First Class so I used to practice on my friend’s bike until Santa delivered mine. We’d wheel the bike up to the top of the hill near our houses and then try and keep our balance as we pelted down. We’d pedal away at the same time until one day, hey presto, we were cycling. My first bike was white with blue trim and had a white basket and my best friend and I would have great adventures on our steeds.
For those making an essential trip by car – take extra care when passing pedestrians and cyclists if driving at this time as they may need to move further out from the side of the road to allow for physical distancing. Why not try the Dutch Reach when opening your car door? Learn more here.