(Thanks to paulabourque@ litcoachlady for today’s inspiration.)
Only now do I fully appreciate my idyllic childhood days when those two-wheeled magic carpets gave me the world. Adventures opened before my siblings and friends as we became older and our area free to roam expanded.
First it was just the block itself, Fairfax Terrace, one that wound up a steep hill, then forked. In one direction it continued further upward, dead-ending in woods and a modern house cantilevered over nothing but air. In the other, the narrowed asphalt folded back on itself and became a terrace, lined with elegant houses that overlooked the street below—our street.
It was our wonderland, tree-shaded and offering endless riding challenges from huffing and puffing up the steep inclines to the coasting down, arms waving, hair flying. Games of chase and who can go farthest without hands abounded. Races were run up and down the seldom-traveled road until the work day ended and people began arriving home which meant that we, too, had to call it a day—until tomorrow. Funny, despite Oregon’s rainy reputation, I don’t remember it closing us down.
As we grew, so did our range. Then we would wind throughout the northwest hills, picking up our cousins as we climbed, and arrive at the Pittock mansion perched at the summit of it all with the city of Portland spread at its feet, views of Mt. Hood in the distance. I know that none of that particularly interested us then even though it’s among the first places we take visitors now. And then the Pittock mansion stood derelict—a bit creepy as well as a measure of our prowess— when we reached it, long before the city decided to reclaim it as an historical site.
For us it represented freedom, and as we stood there, we were on top of the world.
3 thoughts on “Two Wheels and the World”
Great descriptions! We definitely don’t appreciate our childhood until it’s gone. And that’s a very hard lesson to teach!
How much fun you must have had on those bikes. I didn’t ride much but I do remember enjoying it, thanks for bringing back some memories, especially that feeling of being on top of the world!
There is such a feeling of freedom and adventure in this piece. We can feel you all “huffing and puffing” up the hills as you explore further and further afield. We can feel the exhilaration, and sense of daring, as you fly down the hills with arms out flung. You were truly on top of the world. (I grew up In Norfolk, VA which is totally flat – we had one puny, puny hill that gave us such a thrill to go down.)