When I was about 12 years old, my neighbor that lived across the street (who was the ripe old age of 14) asked me if I wanted to ride my bike with him to the mall. I told him there was no way I would be allowed, and with 14 years worth of wisdom he responded, "Me either. We don't need to tell our mom where we're going. She'll never know." So off we went.
I can't recall if I was riding my diamondback or my GT, but it was certainly a BMX. The instigator, known here as big kidd, had a BMX as well. Who didn't have a BMX in 1988, c'mon?? I don't recall having any money, but I do know the round trip was somewhere around 10 or 15 miles. We had to be back by dark.
Off we rode, towards the park (at least that's what our parents thought)....when in actuality, we were headed to the friendliest mall of all. It was a long ride there and man.....there were so many cars to navigate around once we got close. I was overwhelmed with the volume and speed of the traffic. Big kidd was older and bigger than I was and I had a hella tough time keeping up. He didn't seem too concerned about waiting for me, so I just hammered down on those little platform peddles as best I could and tried not to fall too far off his wheel. I sure as hell didn't want to get dropped (or as I called it at that time get left in the dust).
When we got to the mall we didn't have much time to hang out, so we went to the music store (where I more than likely browsed the Public Enemy, Ghetto Boys, and 2 Live Crew selection) and then we hit Toys R Us to scope the Nintendo games. Yes, the Nintendo entertainment system....with 2 buttons and 4 directional arrows on the controller. The controller was square; not exactly the ergonomical designs of today. Neither of us bought anything. We had no money, or no job. We were 12 and 14 and we peddled ourselves all the way to the mall, which was way better than a new CD or video game.
The ride home was rough. I was tired. Very tired. As a matter of fact, I was falling off of big kidd's wheel and as we cut across an empty field on our BMX's I bonked....hard. The grass was too much for me to handle, so I stuck to the sidewalk for the rest of the ride and continued on grimmacing with every pedal stroke. The sun was setting. I was nervous about riding waaayyyy on the other side of town at dusk when my parents thought I was at the park. As if that wasn't enough, big kidd didn't wait for my tired ass because we had to be home by dark......and it was pretty much dark. But I kept peddling.......and since my folks don't read this blog (as far as I know) they still don't know that I rode my bike to the mall with big kidd (as far as I know).
So, as I lie here in a big puddle of achy legs with eyes that can barely stay open I'm blaming big kidd for planting the almighty seed of adventure. Adventure on two human powered wheels that I can't get enough of still today....beyond thirty (just barely ;-) It is big kidd's fault that my legs have taken me a few thousand adventurous miles over the last couple years. It is big kidd's fault that I am riding in the TOSRV. And, it is big kidd's fault that I spend all of my spare change on winter cycling tights and chamois butt'r.
I took advantage of the sunny afternoon and took Amaterasu out for a little spin. It's the multi-hour excursions with her I enjoy best. Temps in the upper 30's. Sun shining. Booties covering my shoes and jacket zipped up to my hairy chin. Nearly 3 hours of spinning, a couple thousand feet of climbing, and a good nights rest.......all because big kidd had to tap into my spirit of adventure at the ripe old age of 12 and pose the question, "Do you realize how far we could ride our bikes?"