One of our main ways of getting to and fro around here is the bicycle. The first 5 months we lived in Cambridge, we had no car, only two bicycles and a toddler seat on the back of one. They served us well. We got into and out of town in the fresh air. My son, then not yet 3, like so many Cambridge kids, learned this city with a view from the back of a bike.
We would have carried on without a car except that I was pregnant and getting rounder and rounder. One day, a particularly strong gust of wind blew all 3 of us over (me, my son, and the baby in my belly). We were all okay, but shortly after that, we got hold of a second-hand Volvo from a doctor who was returning to Canada in a few days and needed to get rid of his car quickly. That Volvo had heated leather seats.
Although we have a car (not the Volvo anymore), bicycles are still a preferred mode of transport. At the moment, I count six in our garage. Only four people live in this house. What does it say about a family when the number of bicycles exceeds the number of humans? We don’t have as many as we used to, some have rolled along into other families. We have had our share though: a couple of hand-me down bikes, a balance bike (a wooden one with no pedals), a tag-along half-bike, a shiny new red bike that appeared one Christmas morning from the grandparents, a bike with blue sparkly ribbons and its own teddy-bear sized baby seat, a folding bike that was stolen from my daughter’s nursery and, miraculously, found by the police and returned to me!
A vivid moment in my memory as a parent is that moment with each of my kids when I let go of the seat on their two-wheelers without stabilisers and instead of toppling over to one side or the other, they, with a little wobble, start to move away, getting smoother and stronger, evening out the pedalling, and keep going, keep going.
What is Present, not precious?