I rode my bicycle on Father’s Day. Had to. My father was and is the greatest gift of my life. And, my father taught me how to ride a bike on Buchanan Street where we lived in Pearl River, New York, a stone’s throw north of New York City.
I had a Huffy boy’s bike. It was a well-made bike that lived up to its name. For this kid, a Huffy was roughly the size of the RMS Lusitania, and darn near as heavy. I had to learn how to ride a bike which required I first had to have those training wheels, a humiliating reality in its own right, made more problematic because my dad had to make pedal sandwiches by taping blocks of wood to each side of the pedal. Why? My legs were too short to reach the pedals!
To be seen on a bike, with training wheels and pedal sandwiches, was the most embarrassing experience of my childhood.
The time came for the training wheels to come off. My father would steady me on the bike by holding the back of the bike seat. I’d begin pedaling and my father would jog alongside, holding the back of the bike seat to keep me from tipping over. And then, an interesting thing happened. I was pedaling away with my dad, holding the bike seat at the outset. I looked over to him, and he wasn’t there! I was biking on my own! My father had vanished. Rather than sending me into paroxysms of joy, it scared the bejeezus out of me. And so, I did what any other self-respecting boy who believes there’s no way he’s ready to ride his bike without his dad holding the bike seat would do; I rode onto the Costello family’s front lawn, and fell over.
The next time he let go. I stayed upright. I was biking on my own. Then again, whenever I go biking, my father is with me, every pedal stroke of the way.