Sunday, July 8, 2018

Bikes...

Yesterday, while Bill and I were enjoying some time at our favorite Biergarten, I noticed a little girl sitting at the next table who was screaming and crying unconsolably.  I noticed she was wearing a short dress and kept grabbing at her crotch.  Bill thought maybe she needed a nap.  The scene at the Biergarten was pretty crazy yesterday.  I got the sense that maybe she'd somehow hurt herself.  Her mom picked her up and carried her to the bathroom.  She brought her back a few minutes later, but the girl still seemed traumatized.  I wondered what happened.

Suddenly, I remembered being a young girl riding a boys' bike down a hill.  I had a wreck and hit the bar that connected the handlebars to the seat.  I remember grabbing myself in much the same way that girl was yesterday.  It hurt a lot.  I'm sure it would have been worse if I'd been a boy.  On the other hand, if I'd been riding a girls' bike, I would not have injured that part of my body.

When I was a kid, everyone in my neighborhood had a bike to ride.  The boys were really into the whole BMX/RMX thing.  Their bikes had pads on them.  I remember noticing one kid's bike had padding on the bar and the part where the handlebars and the bar met.  He laughed as he told me that was in case he hit his nuts on the handlebars in the event of a wreck.

Even as a kid, I wondered why boys' bikes had that high bar to straddle while girls' bikes had a much lower one.  In the event of a wreck, a girl would be much better equipped to handle hitting that bar than a boy would.  In fact, I used to have a boys' bike.  My parents bought me a dirtbike that was once owned and never used by the boy who lived across the street from us.  He had Huntington's Disease and was rendered unable to ride bikes or do much more of anything else.

When I was twelve, I got a blue girls' ten speed, made by Huffy.  I remember the bike cost $99 at AAFES and I loved the color of it, until I had to start riding it all the time.  I rode that thing hard for four years, until it was time to start driving a car.  I think driving permanently ruined my figure.  So did eating... and discovering the glories of beer.


Me and my blue bike... I was twelve.  That's probably the only time I ever wore a helmet, too.

Then Bill said that the girls probably got the lower bar because it's not so ladylike to swing one's leg over a high bar like that.  Also, when bikes were invented and became a popular mode of travel, girls and women wore dresses and skirts.

"So why didn't they just make a unisex bike with a low bar?" I asked.

Bill didn't know.  Our conversation was interrupted by more crying.  The little girl was still upset.  She was crying and on the verge of a tantrum, but I don't think she had a bike accident.  The Biergarten was filling up with more people there to watch football/soccer, so we decided to leave.

This morning, I'm looking up the reasons why bikes are different.  I see Bill's observation about propriety was right; however, apparently, the higher crossbar also has an explanation.  Apparently, a lower bar weakens the bike's frame.  If you're just a casual bike rider, it doesn't make much of a difference, but it's important for more serious bike riders.

Whatever...  I quit riding my bike a long time ago.  I think 1998 was the last time I mounted one.  I have many memories of riding back and forth to the barn in all kinds of weather.  I have memories of falling off my bike and getting hurt, but not seriously enough for sympathy.  I'll stick to driving my Mini Cooper.

As for the little girl who prompted this odd discussion about bikes and people getting hit in the crotch, I hope she's feeling better today.  I hope the cause of her pain was a benign one.

2 comments:

  1. I hope there's nothing seriously wrong either with the little girls' crotch or with her life.

    You were a cute child. You retained natural blondness considerably longer than I did. I was a tow-head as a toddler, but my hair was already darkening by the time I hire five-and-a-half.

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    1. Actually, my mom had my hair “lumenized” from the time I was about eight until I was 13 or 14. I hated it. Now I am back to blonde/grey.

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