Bikes by Melissa St. Pierre

I asked my daughter if she wanted to go ride bikes with me. She ran over and grabbed her helmet. Even though she rides in her trailer, I still have her protect her head, and she wears her red ladybug helmet with pride. “I like keeping my nogginboggin safe!”

We took off.

I pedaled us down our street through the familiar neighborhood.

“Hey, Bug, you want to play eye spy?”

“Yes! I spy with my little eye…a tree! What do you spy mommy?”

“I spy…a red sign!” And I point out a stop sign. She sits too low to see it so I have to stop my bike and show her.

We take off again and I love the feeling of warm breezes and sun as I keep us moving forward.

My bike has been a source of fun and freedom since I was a little girl. Just today, my mom was telling me about the hottest summer she remembers, 1988. I was three. The same age my little one is now. And how I would ride my bike around the yard, through the drought dead grass, creating “roads”.

The civil engineer in me loved creating “roads” well into my preteen years.

Growing up, I lived on a busy main road, so riding my bike in the street, or in my neighborhood wasn’t really a possibility. I didn’t much have a “neighborhood” but I rode my bike in our yard and when my parents rode safely with me, we rode up the main road to the sidewalk and then through town.

As I got older, I could ride my bike during the summer because I could navigate the main road just fine. I rode and rode.

I always called my mom and let her know when I was leaving and I called her when I got home so she knew I was fine and safe.

This was before music, and camera, and… life, could be carried on a phone, so I usually plugged my headphones in and away I could go.

I used that time to imagine stories and work things out in my head. When I didn’t feel like biking, I’d walk, or jog. But biking has always been my favorite.

There’s a reason that “wind in your hair” feeling is so intoxicating.

It’s the way freedom feels.

Today, when my little girl and I set off on our adventure, we blasted music through the neighborhood. I haven’t yet given in and purchased a bluetooth compatible bike radio, but give me time. For now, I wear my “dorky fanny pack”  and put my phone upside down, the speaker ends up. 

While Badfinger was telling us that they’d always be with us, we flew. I felt that same freedom that I felt as a kid.

It was all I could do not to throw my arms out to the sides and close my eyes but I didn’t. I am a mom and I’m not fourteen. I would probably weeble wobble us off the road and into a ditch. My neighbors have enough to talk about, I don’t need to add to their amusement.

My daughter laughed with delight as we made a right turn a little faster than we did yesterday.

I looked over my shoulder and asked her if she was okay.

“Yes, mommy!” And she continued the conversation she was having with Strawberry Shortcake.

It felt good to listen to her laugh as we enjoyed the outdoors together and have a little bit of freedom: together.

I had plans for us this summer. We were going to visit one of the Great Lakes and I was going to wade into the water with her and splash. We were going to go to the park and play on our favorite big red slide. The planetarium was on the list. Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. I wanted to take her to see a friend’s son play ball. Ice cream dates. We have yet to see our friend’s chickens and coop that she made. I planned on having lunch with my parents during the week. We were going to go for walks every day with my dad. Maybe take in my daughter’s first movie?

I had plans.

But it’s 2020, so did the world.

Thank God, I have my bike.

And we have some freedom.

If you enjoyed Melissa St. Pierre’s article, then you might be interested in reading On My Bike: A Pandemical Reverie of Pedalling by Nigel Jarrett.

About the contributor

Melissa St. Pierre teaches writing and rhetoric at Oakland University in Michigan. Her work has appeared in The Blue Nib, Panoply, 45 Women’s Literary Journal, Valiant Scribe, and Elizabeth River Press Literary Anthology. She has also performed her work in Listen to Your Mother, a literary nonfiction storytelling showcase.

Related Articles

Melissa Todd on – Mind The Gap Poetry Podcast.

Mind the Gap is a poetry podcast. Each month an ensemble of spoken word artists send recordings...

A Writer’s Coronavirus Diary Part 6

In the next instalment of his Coronavirus diary, Brendan Landers reflects on the face-cover as a fashion accessory.

Small Offerings

Poet and writer, Ysella Sims explores the small offerings that enrich her day as she adjusts to the 'new normal.'


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More Like This

Touched By Whales by Gail Harrington

Travel writer, Gail Harrington weaves her way through a host of memories and explains the wonder of wanderlust

Waiting for 70 Years

In a short memoir, Aurora M Lewis recalls the race riots she has lived through.

My Writing Life

Rosemary McLeish explores her dissatisfaction with a writer's life.

‘Death Be Not Proud’ by Marilyn June Janson

I do not live in a Jewish community nor attend synagogue. Faith lives within my heart.

Come Along by Sophia Kouidou-Giles

Poet, translator and essayist, Sophia Kouidou-Giles reveals why the freedom of the outdoors is a gift to be treasured.