Todd G. Higdon: The thrill of riding, the agony of the teeth

Todd G. Higdon

A while back, I was at my parents house and discovered something that I had forgotten about — my old bicycle. Actually, my first bicycle.

Then the memories started to flood in. Like any other kid learning to ride a bike, mine came equipped with removable training wheels. The bike is yellow, with a black seat and black handlebars.

My parents worked really hard to teach me how to ride it. I remember that there were times I rode in circles in front of the garage and yes, I fell off of the bike a couple of times. Back then, we did not have bike helmets.

But with practice and more practice, I eventually got rid of the training wheels. I then rode through the yard, dodging the water well, the propane tank, the flowerbeds and the garden.

I thought that I was on cloud nine, thought I owned the bike. I was wrong. It was soon thereafter, I believe that I was in the third grade and was riding around town with Dad and Greg, when I went ahead of them, turned a corner and traveled down to the Newtonia Community Building. There, I saw some of my friends, who had mastered bike riding more than I had.

Anyway, they were peeling out in the loose gravel in front of the new building. So, thinking that I was tough, I tried it. The next thing I remember was running down the road, blood dripping from my legs, mouth, chin and a broken front tooth. Yes, I had tried the peel-out and fell flat on my face.

Running past a couple of neighbors, I eventually came upon Dad and Greg. They quickly rushed me down to Nanny and Pop’s house, where Mom was making homemade ice cream. The grandparents and parents doctored me up. And the next day, I was taken into Dr. Evans, our dentist, to work on the chipped tooth.

I learned my lesson that day. I did not peel out anymore and when it came time to, I started to wear a bike helmet.

Since learning to ride, I have really enjoyed it. There were summers that I rode with my family or my best friend, Steve Haas. Riding with Steve during our high school days, we would have our Walkman radios on listening to the St. Louis Cardinals, with Jack Buck providing the play-by-play. Who knows how many miles that our bikes logged in, but we certainly did get some good exercise and had the opportunity to talk about the good old days.

Maybe soon, I will purchase a new bike and start riding again, not only for exercise but also as a gas saver.

Neosho Daily News