“Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.”
Charles M. Schulz
My commute to Valley Hi Elementary School was less than a mile. For a first grader it was an effortless downhill glide. I’d hop on my orange Stingray, lash on my lunch box, steer, brake, and dodge mailboxes and parked cars. My folks never worried. They knew I’d caravan with Bobby and John who lived on the bottom of Peach Valley Drive, a stone’s throw from Lackland AFB in hilly San Antonio. We were a trio of Air Force kids; our dad’s serving intermittent tours to Vietnam. We never wore helmets or carried cell phones. Bobby, John and I roamed as free range boys jumping ditches, riding trails and racing each other. The pedal home though was a killer. Bobby and John rode three-speeds. They’d switch gears while I cranked my single-speed tank. My uphill commute home took nearly twenty minutes and I seldom kept up. We’d separate at John’s house where they’d both peel off and wave as I hiked alongside the Stingray.
I wish I had another gear. I yearned to keep up but couldn’t. (more…)