Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"The Bike Ride"

We continue to enjoy ourselves on vacation in Hilton Head.  Luke was actually awake for over an hour at the beach today.  He even put his feet in the Atlantic and felt the sand between his toes.  Definitely a big deal for first time parents.

I went for my second bike ride of the vacation in this morning.  It was an overcast morning, which made riding very comfortable.  As I explored the 56 miles of mostly unoccupied back roads on Hilton Head Island, I thought about the sense of freedom that comes with a good bike ride.  When the legs are strong (and the road is flat like on H.H.I.), you feel as though you could ride forever, getting lost in your thoughts.  This morning my mind wondered back to the bike rides my dad (in the background of the picture above, hah) used to take me on when I was a kid.  Many Sunday mornings my dad would wake me well before my sisters and mom awoke.  He always led the way on his red Schwinn and I followed on my blue Schwinn.  I remember riding into downtown Pittsburgh, through Etna where my dad grew up, and through many other communities surrounding Pittsburgh.  I recall my dad encouraging me with "go for the gold" as we road up California Avenue or even Coxcomb Hill.  Once at the top of Coxcomb, we would often stop at Veltri's Restaurant parking lot and look out over the Allegheny Valley.  My dad doing most of the talking trying to instill a sense of perspective into my 12 year old brain.  Of course, my favorite part of our rides was when we would stop at the Oakmont Bakery for a couple of cake donuts and some chocolate milk.  Ah man, I don't think my dad even knows how much I hoped we would stop at the bakery.  I remember my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Dolan, asking me about the bike rides one day in school.  I don't think she got the enthusiastic response she anticipated from me.  I think she was impressed that a 12 year old kid would ride so far, but to me it was just a chance to be with my dad and enjoy the freedom of a bike ride.


  1. Ben--our bike rides together remain one of my greatest memories of our time together in your youth that passed all too quickly into your manhood. Continue to go for the gold in all you pursue. Love, YOUR Dad

  2. I like the reflection of the childhood memoreies. It is always interesting looking back on childhood and realizing now how much our parents were trying to instill in us kids without us truly being aware. Whether it was through that bike ride with Dad, teaching a sense of respect through the family code, or the simple request to be excused from the dinner table. Those little things made such a big difference and certainly helped shape us.