Friday, February 4, 2011
I learned to ride a bike in Balikpapan, Indonesia shortly after WWII was over and my father returned from POW camp in Japan. We lived a block away from the waterfront (not a pretty beach). At that time there were hardly any cars to speak of and I had the road that ran alongside the water all to myself. No training wheels -- Karto, one of our staff (at the time they were called servants), ran beside me until I learned to balance myself. From then on, I had a passion for riding bikes. I soon learned to ride without hands - what a thrill! - until sometime around age 10, whizzing down a hill, I lost control and crashed big time. I was lucky. No big injuries, just scrapes. Now we would shudder at kids riding bikes without helmets.
My friend Kris got me started taking pictures of bikes and it got me thinking about all the different bikes I've ridden, the daily rides to and from school (seemingly always against the wind), vacation trips, and other bike adventures. I'm sure that some day they'll find a way to creep into a story. For right now, here are pictures of the bikes parked around our street. Think of the wheels as holy mandalas, prayer wheels, spreading blessings as they go around and around.