wing bumps

I learned early that if I was out on my bicycle, I wasn’t expected to escort younger siblings and I could go beyond the walking  boundaries set by my parents.

I bought my first ten-speed with money earned berry picking my sophomore year in high school.  It was an orange Nishiki with tires so thin it was a wonder they hugged the pavement at all.  I felt like I had a freedom pass to the world.

When I embarked on my first overnight bike trip to the San Juan Islands the following summer,  the wing bumps on my back popped right out of my tee-shirt! It was a thrill to know I had everything I needed in my panniers. I wasn’t alone, but I wasn’t with grown-ups!

That bike was stolen my junior year in college and I felt truly robbed, not only of a possession but of my ability to escape.  It had become a joyous habit of mine to roll about the tree-lined streets at dusk when curtains hadn’t yet been drawn. I could peek lovingly into homes, remember my own and yet feel happily distant from it at the same time.   Once more I used summer earnings to buy a bicycle.

I am not a hardy rider anymore but it is a June ritual to pull my bike from the patio, dust off the cobwebs and ready it for summer riding.  My mom told me to bring my bike out to her house some time.  She wants to know if she can still ride one. My dad laughed, unable to imagine his 77-year-old wife hopping on a bike.  I know my mom just wants to see if it’s true that one really can’t forget how to ride a bike.  I’ll bring it out to her because despite her age I know she’ll get on it and ride 50 feet just to prove she can do it.

It isn’t the mechanics of riding that I fear will fade.  I don’t want to forget the joy and triumph I felt to be a girl in the world, pedaling beyond the lip of my driveway, feeling independent and free to explore the side streets of life for the first time.

About Ameliasb

daughter, sister, wife, mom, early childhood specialist, creator of poems, photos and sweaters View all posts by Ameliasb

5 responses to “wing bumps

  • Ruth

    “The side streets of life…” I like the way these words make me feel. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Linda Baie

    There are so many lines I enjoyed in your post, like “the five miles between my home and town were no longer a moat between worlds” and “I felt like I had a freedom pass to the world”; and of course, “wing bumps” is just great. I also enjoyed that you wound your way to your parents, connecting them into your story. I imagine they’d like to read this. Thanks for sharing such a lovely memory!

  • Deb Day

    What a great slice! Full of wonderful images and emotions. I especially liked ” … the wing bumps on my back popped right out of my tee-shirt! And the last paragraph. Wonderful! I hope the feelings never fade, but if they do, you only have to pull up this post and reread it!

  • Donna Smith

    Mmm, lots of lines I liked in this post. I know what your mother is feeling, too. She’d get that feeling of wing bumps herself…for 50 feet, the feeling that nothing has changed.

  • Elizabeth G.

    What a beautiful post. I could feel the freedom that was associated with your bike. It’s amazing how strong our connections can be.

thank you for reading, comment or email to

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s