Magic Wheelin’ E.T Styln’

When I was a kid I remember watching E.T for the first time. Being so young I was really affected by the movie and story line. I would imagine myself being Elliot and meeting an Alien from outer space. What a thrill and scary opportunity that would be!

One thing I did take away from that movie though was I had to have that bike. Many think it was BMX but actually the real bike was called a  Kuwahara. Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s this style was en vogue. It had the awesome frame with bold tires and included the wheel pegs for passengers or the more savvy trick riders.

I never did all the trick-ing but I definitely had the bike. Mine had an all red frame with white rims and black tires. It had the forward slant look too which I just loved! My Dad picked it up at a garage sale so it needed a little work. I had to tighten up the handlebars and seat. The chain needed some cleaning and lubrication. I also buffed out any rust spots in the chrome on the handlebars and pedals.

I would cruise all over the neighborhood with that bike thinking I was Elliot. I would imagine I would get speed enough to take flight and soar in the sky and leave the world behind. I often would think that it would be a great escape. I didn’t have that awful basket on the front though.

The coolest part of the bike was the gear differential. Every now and then i would meet a rider who would want to race and thinking their ten speed would easily beat me. I knew that it didn’t matter how many gears you had really. What mattered was the power on the pedals. Plus the proper gearing that gave you the best torque to harness that power.

This bike had the special gear position and I literally dusted many would be challengers. You would just start standing and just pedal with a consistent downward thrust and you would be able to stay in front no problem.

That of course made me a little popular in the neighborhood. That summer I got that bike was also the summer I met Phil. We bonded over riding bikes. He had a similiar bike like mine but in blue and had more chrome. I was stronger than him but we were pretty evenly matched.

That was a pretty magical summer for me. We went everywhere together on those bikes. We would do our paper routes together and hit the local diner every Saturday. We would ride for 30 miles sometimes. It didn’t matter, our bikes would get us there.

After we grew though times changed and we grew apart. Then i got my license and drifted away from biking for a short time. When you start driving it is hard to consider riding again when you can there in less than half the time.

Last I heard my friend was working in Florida at a roofing company called  http://www.roofingclearwaterpros.com. He never got back to biking like I did. Life got too busy for him raising a family and working two jobs.

That was a magic wheelin’ E.T. Stylin’ summer that I will never forget. It is funny how those things happen in a moment of time and then slowly fades into a distant memory.

The magic of wheels.

A Fairy Tale on Wheels

Being a traditionalist I prefer to stick with the old way of doing things. Like riding a bike. Paddling your canoe. Grinding your own beans.

These things give me perspective and also lets me slow down to appreciate the sights and sounds around me. The one downside to advancements in transportation is the inability to hear what is going on around you. When you are riding a horse for instance all you hear is the hoofs but you don’t miss out on the nature sounds around you.

However lately I had to change my thoughts on this because of an event I went to recently. I decided it would be worth sharing.

I recently went to a wedding for my close friend from college. She lives in Minnesota so I had to get a flight there. Well her fiancee was well to do and treated all of us with care. When I landed I was picked up in a limo.

Yes a Limo!

I have never ridden in one of these before. I felt like I was betraying my principles riding in such a lavish vehicle. But it was too late. I wasn’t going to offend my friends fiancee so I relented.

The driver was really nice and took my bags and ushered me into the back. I was taken aback at all the leather and lights. Even the ceiling was reflective. I sat back and took in my surroundings.

I felt like a movie star. I am not an expert on limos but the limousine service in Minnesota is very very nice.  They used the same company for their wedding and to take me back to the airport.

I don’t know. Maybe my thoughts on industrialism has changed somewhat. Maybe a wagon or saddle is not what it used to be as I grow older but I know one thing………..I am looking forward to riding a magic limousine again.

I mean, it has a roundabout does it not?

Cleaning wheels is like brushing our teeth

I had an epiphany they other day.

We all know how important it is to brush your teeth. We eat all kinds of crap and live differently than they did in the old days. So if you want to keep your teeth you need to brush them.

Well my car and bike wheels is the same way. They should be shiny and when they are not they are really distracting. Like your teeth.

But sometimes it seems like such a chore. You know you need to do it but just don’t feel like it.

This is where my epiphany stopped because I always brush my teeth at least once a day. Plus tires and rims won’t fall off if you don’t clean them right?

This is probably not something that makes any sense to you but felt like sharing.

I still love the magic of wheels.

Wheels Can Change Your Life

I have talked a little about riding a bike in my previous post.  There is one thing that is by far the most magical about wheels is how it helps those who had to mobility before.

wheelchair

Of all the advancements that the wheels have brought along for mankind the wheelchair tops them all. Where once invalids and crippled people had no recourse or ability to move to one place to another, this invention has changed the course of history.

The faces of those you witness who find mobility again after so much heartache and boredom before. The can envision living again a life that is not much different than others.

They will never forget they can’t move like normal but that is really beside the point. What matters now if they want to go somewhere, they can.

I know a woman who as she aged she developed diabetes. Due to this condition she had to have a leg amputated. It was a real life changing ordeal for her as she now could not drive or get around like she used too.

Her grief was short however and she decided to take advantage of the tools available for her. She now has a chair and uses public transport to take her around. Sure she doesn’t have the ability to just get up and go like us normal folks can but she can still get places and it is because of her magical wheels.

I also think of the hundreds of military men and women who lost their legs in the recent war and what life must be like for them. With that same determination they used on the front lines they apply to domestic life and perform admirably in competitions all over with their magical wheels.

There is a downside to wheels however. Those who have lost their desire to live and rely on motorized wheels because they are unhealthy.

With every good thing there is the bad.

For me I believe the good outweighs the bad though. Where life used to be savage and unfair to cripples, they now can have a life again.

So when you go about your day on your set of wheels, be it car or bike, consider what the wheel has done for everyone.

Going where the wheels lead you

There is a story of when I was young and living in the suburbs of Boston. As you can imagine the city was veru congested and you had to be sharp since you rode on the road with cars moving on your left and car doors opening on your right.

You would also knick a few side view mirrors as well.

On this particular day I was heading two towns over on my bike. About 15 miles. I was halfway there and was approaching a rotary. I have done this a thousand times and knew quite well how to yield into a rotary.

This time however I was crowded out by a big work van on my left. As he approaching the rotary he began to enter my small lane and gave me very little room. I reached out with my left hand to hold the van to stabilize myself and my right handlebar barely hit a mirror of a parked car but that little tiny hit threw me off balance and sent my careening toward the sidewalk.

As I attempted to compensate and to make matters worse I had the wrong hand on my front brake as opposed ot my rear brake, as I tried slowing down I came face to face with a telephone pole. I veered left but my momentum was still moving forward and in I went into the pole. I smacked the side of my face and arm and came crashing on the curb. My bike just by the force of energy went around the pole and onto the sidewalk.

It was a scary accident and one I learned from. I was fortunate to just have a few bumps and scrapes.

Keep your balance on those bikes. You never know where they may lead you.

The Magic of Wheels

Sure you read roundabout and thought of those circular roads where you navigate with several other cars to get to your destination. It is a novel invention really. What do you do when 5 or 6 roads converged at a single intersection?

But no this isn’t about roundabouts. It is about wheels that are round. The magic is where they take you.

I have taken quite a few trips around the world with my bike. Logged quite a few thousand miles in the process. I can tell you that it is the most magical way to see the world by far.

One particular journey was 30 days in England. About 14 days in I was North of London in a very rural area. I was taking in all the views and fields of green. I came upon one of those old rustic barns and had to take a few photos. (On a bike this is something you would miss buzzing around in car)

As I was taking a photo, to my utter delight, a beautiful white horse came around the corner and flashed his flowing mane in the sun. As if to say, “Who are you to take pictures of my home?”

It was one of those moments where you feel like you are on another plane. Another level of existence. A magical moment.

On another trip in Israel I was once visiting a church. During a break I made my way to a courtyard on my bike and heard this lovely woman singing a song. Turned out it was a recording a church played every Sunday through their speakers. But at that moment the weather was perfect, the music was beautiful and her voice could move mountains.

It was a magical roundabout encounter.

Thanks for reading and hope you stop by again.