Tag Archives: bicycles

Memories of Riding Your First Bicycle

Memories of Riding Your First Bicycle
Steve Racey
1h  · 

The first time I had my hands on a pair of HANDLEBARS.

 I remember the day when I first learned to ride a bike. It was a frightening, yet fun experience. My granddad was the one who taught me, and he helped me when I got hurt. The first time I ever got on a bike, I had no idea what I was doing, and just about everything went wrong. The handlebars were backwards, and so was my helmet. My granddad told me to just put my feet on the pedals and start peddling. He also told me he would hold onto the back of the bike the whole time, yet he didn’t.

             As soon as I started trying to balance myself, he let go. I happened to look back just as he let go. I was scared to death that I was going to fall and hur myself. When I was scared, my mind went blank from peddling, and I just wanted off. I forgot how to use the brakes and fell right off the bike. My granddad kept encouraging me to get up and try again, and after about 15 minutes, I finally stopped crying, got up and tried again. Out of all the disasters that happened, I didn’t think anything else could go wrong, but of course it did.

             As soon as I started peddling again, my pants got caught in the chain, and I fell flat on my face and hit my nose. Since that happened, my granddad decided to call it a day and try again the next morning. The next morning I woke up bright and early, and very eager to try to ride my bike. My nose felt better, so I wan’t that afraid of falling anymore. This time I had knee pads, elbow pads, wrist pads, and of course my helmet.

             I was all set and ready to go, when it started to rain. My granddad told me that it was still “OK” to ride because it wasn’t raining that hard. When I began to ride again, everything seemed to be going good. I thought I mastered the art of riding a bike, and then all of a sudden my back tire slipped out from under me as I was turning, and once again, I fell to the ground, and began crying. I told my granddad, “I’m hopeless, because I can’t even ride a bike! What is wrong with me?”

First time I was a kid, and I can’t really remember all that clearly; there wasn’t much room to ride where I lived back then, and I was quite little.

Then we moved out of the city center to the suburbs. I had just started to ride without the training wheels when disaster struck and the chain broke. My dad got around and fixed it. However, soon the chain broke again, and the bike went to the garage and wasn’t repaired again. It was a different time, mind you, and with the war in my country and my dad just starting his business at that time, things were just busy. It lay there forgotten in the garage, which soon got turned into an improvised community bomb shelter.

So, I never really learned how to ride a bike as a kid. A couple of years ago, with (then) three kids and a family of my own I resolved to learn how to ride one. So, I borrowed my wife’s bike, lowered the seat until I could plant my feet down, and set out to learn on a recreational bike path, half a hour of riding or, khm, “riding” at a time. It must have been quite a spectacle to watch a grown man sweat profusely trying to keep balance on a bike. Going up a small incline was terrible; I struggled to keep going straight and pedalling. Luckily I’m not the type to get embarassed about making a spectacle of myself in public 😉

A few months of doing this once or twice per week and I went from “Look at that, ha ha!” to “Just a guy riding a bike… a bit badly”. I raised the seat to proper height and started going for longer rides. It felt great to be able to do that and get on the road with confidence, first rural roads with little traffic and then city streets (that was terrifying the first time).

After figuring what I liked and didn’t like about her bike and borrowing a different bike to try and get more of a perspective, I figured out what I’d like to ride and ordered one tailored for my tastes. Now I take just about any excuse to go for a ride; from short and long (if time permits) recreational rides, to going shopping or for a coffee on the bike 😉

I learned to ride a bike when I was 5.

I had been riding around with training wheels for sometime, and then one day my dad decided it was time for them to come off. I was super excited!

We took my bike down to the playground of the nearby school, and my dad held me up and ran alongside, while I tried my best to balance.

I only fell a couple of times before I got it. My dad let go of me and I kept going—straight for the school building. But I didn’t care, I was riding a bike! Even as I plowed right into the school, my little heart was filled with joy. I knew I was going to crash, but it was worth it. I immediately jumped to my feet and I wanted to do it again—without crashing of course.

Related reading

The Bull and the Bicycle on Drummond Street

Broken Bicycles and Love– Go Conrad Go!

Remembering the Past — No Swimming in the River Before the 24th of May Weekend and Other Things

Biking the Ottawa-Carleton Trailway to Carleton Place —Should we Call Reece Witherspoon?

One of the 7 Wonders in Carleton Place


“Just what makes that little ole ant 

Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant? 

Anyone knows an ant can’t 

Move a rubber tree plant.” 


Enjoying a discussion the other day at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum, I found out something I had never known about Carleton Place. Local icon Blaine Cornell, told me about one the  “7 Wonders of Carleton Place”. Apparently, just around the bend on High Street towards Highway 7 there was a local attraction called “The Rubber Tree”.

It wasn’t a real rubber tree, but more of a tree full of bicycle inner tubes people tossed on the branches. As I stood on High Street taking pictures this week, I tried to imagine what it looked like. Even Google Image had nothing I would consider close.

Does anyone remember it, and are there still pictures around?

I have something in my backyard that is kind of a wonder. Last year while cleaning up debris, we uncovered a tree that had eaten a bicycle. That’s right, it is now part of the tree growth, and it can only be removed by a saw.  In Europe they charge big bucks to come visit a similar bicycle, but I am just going to leave it there, so it can become the 8th Wonder of Carleton Place:)


Carleton Place- The Happiest Damn Town in Lanark County

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Tilting the Kilt, Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place by Linda Seccaspina is available at Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street, the Carleton Place Beckwith Museum in Carleton Place, Ontario and The Mississippi Valley Textile Mill in Almonte.  available on all Amazon sites (Canada, US, Europe) and Barnes and Noble