My parents taught us to ride bikes early; first a tiny wooden trike in the kitchen, then trikes outside, till on to two-wheelers. A lot of miles were covered, primarily back and forth in the driveway on a quiet street.

We walked our bikes from the French army base house, down to the pathway beside the canal, where we could ride safely as a family. My mom rode a one-speed; my sister, brother and I had two-wheelers, and my 2-year-old brother sat in a child’s seat on the back wheel of my dad’s 10-speed Peugeot.

I felt strong, sailing along on a wide dirt path next to the canal. I hoped we’d see a family on their barge, a long and flat floating home and sometime workplace. Often a laundry line hung with colorful shirts, pants and diapers flapping in the breeze. Happy energy flooded through me while we waved to the families as we rolled by.

Another piece of the adventure was riding to reach a lock, which mesmerized me with their apparent ability to move the land itself. Barges and boats, which moved through the tightly contained mechanically operated lock, were transported up or down to the next depth of water. Before our time, donkeys pulled the barges along while plodding along the canal paths.

During bike-riding weather, my dad rode to work over there and here in Maine in the late ’60s. On the whole, he and I’d still rather move at our chosen pace and by our own volition than on motorized contraptions. On boats I feel confined after a few hours, therefore, a road trip = great, but the thought of a cruise = deadly.

At 89, my dad’s still riding “down to the corner,” with a view of the woods from a stationary bike, when he’s not rolling his walker. Our town’s H.H., a bopping 93-year-old, still hops on his two-wheeler to ride ’round his driveway.

There’s been no bike in the shed since the last $10 find, but yard sale season’s on the way, though they’ll cost more this year. It may not be a mountain, fat tire, hybrid, recumbent, racer, electric or donkey, but even if it’s a trike, adventure lies ahead.

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