I watched some children playing in a made up kind of small park, where they could go on bicycles and scooters the other day and was glad someone had given them the opportunity to just play and develop a sense of balance and maybe even fall and get a scrape without the danger of being run over. I learned to ride a bike on the ordinary street. I learned on my friend’s Fairy Cycle, which, like all our possessions, we treated as ‘ours’. The only disagreement we had over ‘our’ stuff was that when we went to Saturday matinee at the picture show. We usually had Highland Toffee and all went well, but if we had chocolate, he chewed his while I sucked mine and had some left when he was finished, after a brief argument, the extra had then to be shared. The ‘discussion’ was forgotten when the Lone Ranger and Tonto appeared.
Going back to the Fairy Cycle, he gave me detailed instructions on how to steer but didn’t include anything about brakes – who needs them anyway, the idea is to pedal like fury and go as fast as you could. I was managing fine when the front wheel hit something and the bike slewed off to one side, hit the kerb, and I went over the handlebars. As I lay bleeding, my friend came running up. ‘I hope you’ve no’ broken anything,’ he shouted. As I felt about my legs and chest he added, ‘No’ you, the bike.’
There were one or two bits twisted out of shape that we couldn’t fix, so we had to take it back for his dad to sort out. ‘It’s might be a Fairy Cycle, but it’s got peddles no’ wings. I hope you’re no plannin’ to be a Spitfire pilot, for you’re a champion at crash landings,’ his father said.