It was three years ago this November that my wife Kathy and I decided our 5-year-old granddaughter Gemma needed a new bicycle for her birthday.

These days the bicycle, like those competing in the Cowtown Classic can attest, is a great form of exercise.

In my day, it was the source of transportation.

As I have indicated before, traffic on Highway 15 was considerably less than today when streams of cars and semitrailers fly up and down the road. But then the speed limit wasn’t 65 miles per hour, either.

Riding to and from Abilene to our home south of town was not uncommon for us elementary students.

I was not very good at mathematics in my St Andrew years.

Thanks to calculators and web pages that will easily convert percentages, I am better at math now.

In fact one year I had to attend math summer school.

My dad, who went to work at the post office at 3 a.m., would drop off my bicycle at Kennedy Elementary School where my Mother would take me in the mornings. Back then Kennedy was the only school in the district that had air conditioning so that is where summer school was held.

In those days the bicycle was my transportation the rest of the day.

As teenagers often riding bicycles around Abilene became a date night activity. I would throw my bike in the back of my pickup and meet Kathy in Eisenhower Park where we spent the evening riding around town together.

We discovered the need for locks for bicycles as a young married couple when we lived in Junction City. The plan one Sunday was to exchange my 10-speed bike for a 5-speed that my younger sister had. We left the 10-speed outside our townhouse so my parents could come and switch bicycles. We went to get an ice cream cone. We were gone for 15 minutes but when we returned, we found that the bike was gone. My folks had not picked it up. It had been stolen before they even arrived.

As our children grew up, they too got bicycles.

Our oldest didn’t use training wheels and I remember watching her grandmother Doreen run with her up and down Wildcat Street until she learned to balance without an adult hand on the banana seat.

When our Kansas City grandson Landon outgrew the small bicycle we had for him at our house, it was time to get him a new one for his birthday.

We found a bike we knew he would enjoy that was dark orange and black with handbrakes.

The mistake we made was the bicycle was way too big for him and it actually took him a couple years to grow into it.

We didn’t want to make the same mistake two years ago when we gave Gemma a bicycle for her fifth birthday.

So we took her to the store with us.

We visited several stores where she would ride up and down the aisle, test-driving bicycles to get the perfect fit.

Now one would think that would irritate customers in the store, having this little girl zoom past them back and forth.

Just the opposite happened. A couple ladies even gave Gemma advice in making her selection.

So, ride on, Cowboy Classic participants, and remember four wheels move the body but two wheels move the soul.

Contact Tim Horan at

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