by Nancy King
By the time I was nine years old I had been yearning for a two-wheeled bike for two years and three months but there were none to be found—not in stores, not in newspaper ads. The bike my parents and I finally found was second-hand and three sizes too big, just because FDR decided making war materiél was more important than manufacturing bikes for little girls too impatient to wait for WWII to be over. When my dad looked at the bike he said, “Nancy, it’s much too big for you.” True. When I sat on the seat my legs dangled, at least a foot from the ground, but I could have sworn I heard the bike saying, “Buy me. I may be too big but you’re big enough to ride me.” I begged and pleaded until my father gave in. The bike was mine. Now all I had to do was figure out how to ride it. I had the will, could I find the way? On top of our hilly street, my father let go of the seat and even though I could barely reach the pedals, I found my balance and freedom—away from parents and sister and squabbling kids on the block. Off I went, to ride wherever I chose to go, full of confidence.