May is National Bike Month and the MW Library is celebrating May 4 – June 1. Join the festivities – for the fun of it, for a chance to win prizes, and to raise awareness about biking. For a list of activities, see the library’s Bike Month page.
The first challenge is to solve a mystery.
Which teacher contributed the following story when asked what sparked their interest in biking (a story that – at 493 words – would fit perfectly into another of this month’s challenges – a writing-about-biking contest with a limit of 500 words for creative nonfiction and 200 words for flash fiction)?
Bike riding was a way for my friends and me to expand our world and have new experiences. I first started riding at a very young age. I do not remember how old I was, but it felt like such an accomplishment to be able to ride a bike without training wheels. When I was very young we lived in a rural community, and all the kids would spend the evening riding bikes around the only three roads in the area. Being able to ride a bike meant that I could join in that group. I was the youngest in the family so this was a big deal, because now, I was one of the “big kids”. And I could do the daring things that big kids did; like race, do jumps, and ride down the hill with no hands. I felt like I had won the Winston Cup the time I beat Tommy Mitchell in a one block race.
When I was a bit older we moved into town. Here there were many more roads; which meant many more places to explore, and many more kids to meet. These roads were the arteries of my life. In those days our “social network” consisted of numerous houses and hangout spots connected by bicycles. On Fridays during my middle school years, as soon as we got home from school, all my friends would get on our bikes and meet in the center of town. We would buy candy, play pinball, and sometimes try to meet girls. In the summer we practically lived on our bikes. Some days we would go to the pool. Some days we would bike back out to the country. There we would build castles out of the farmer’s hay bales. Sometime we would look for snakes. I remember one time I rode home with a 4 foot king snake wrapped around my forearm. When I got home I used my new friend to scare the daylights out of my sisters. To them it was vermin, but to me it was a magic dragon. About this time I got my first job, as a paperboy. My bike and I were on the road to wealth.
The town where I lived was a small town but it housed a very large university. One time in the early 1970s there was an antiwar protest that was so large and so unruly that all the streets in town where blocked and schools were closed. On that day, my sister and I rode our bikes to the protest. I was teargased while riding my bike.
When I was in high school we moved to the suburbs of Washington DC. I could ride around my own little sub-development, but the roads beyond were too big and too crowded to allow for bike travel. Roads, which had once been my passageways to the world, were now walls. I got my driver’ license and put the bike away.
The first student to solve this mystery wins an iTunes gift card. I’ll reveal a clue each week that passes without a winning answer. One guess per student per day.