Yesterday I saw a very unique sight. It was a child of maybe 6 or 8 riding a bicycle in my neighborhood.
I live in a mixed residential area. There are families of all ages here. Some have young children. Some have older children and some, like us, have no children. We have playgrounds a few blocks from our home but you never see kids outside except for teenagers at the basketball courts.
I often wonder if children bike anymore. When I was a child, it was my main means of transportation. Actually, it was my only means of transportation unless you count shoe leather express! It got me from here to there and back again. My bike was an old beat-up, hand-me-down affair that was painted and repainted. There were no gears and it was hard pedaling uphill. That didn’t stop me from riding it though. I dreamt of a Schwinn but rode that rattle-trap contraption that probably had seen both world wars. Heck, it may have been in both wars!
Somewhere along the line, kids in our area stopped biking. There are soccer Mom cars that take them where they need to go which is mostly organized sports and lessons. We have neighbors at one end of the block who drive their kids to the bus stop at the other end of the block (a very short and safe block) and then sit and wait until the bus comes. I am not sure how they get to the playgrounds. Maybe they don’t.
The beloved husband and I have always commented that you don’t see children around like you used to. Not only don’t they bike, but they don’t seem to play outside. There are fancy swings, trampolines and multi-colored gizmos in some yards but they never have kids on them. We have a few in-ground pools around the neighborhood and we didn’t see any kids in them either and this was a very hot summer.
My Mom sent me out in the morning and I didn’t come in until lunch. Then it was out again until dusk. In good weather I even read my books on the back patio or front porch.
Our yard was littered with badminton nets, croquet sets, plastic pools and other kids. The neighbor had a swing set with a slide. Yay!
We have two kids who live across the street next to each other. I don’t believe I saw them between the ages of 8 and driving. Now they chug down the street in the family auto. I often wondered what had happened to them. Stolen by the gypsies? (Don’t laugh — Mom always said that happened to bad kids!)
These are really different times. I am sorry that today’s children missed the days of running around outside being free as a bird with no deadlines and few expectations. Those were great times!
How about you? Did you ride bike as a child? Do they still ride in your neighborhood?
Photo by Roger4336 courtesy of Flickr