I heard a bit of a ruckus outside yesterday evening and wandered out to see what it was. Turns out the local neighborhood kids were teaching a young friend of theirs how to ride a bike. She had the biggest smile on her face as she rode up and down the street, veering calamitously back and forth on a brand-new pink bike with pretty handlebar fringe. Soon I noticed her parents were a ways up the street, showing pride and shouting encouragement. So naturally I joined in.
It made me think back to two years ago (almost exactly) when I bought this house. I don’t know why I even looked at it — it was not in an area I was really considering — but when I got here there were kids playing in the street and riding their bikes. It’s a predominantly Latino and African-American neighborhood and a lot goes on in the street around here — more so than I typically see in predominantly Anglo neighborhoods. I remember sitting out front just as I did last night, watching the local kids ride up and down the street cheering each other on, and thinking, well, I could really enjoy living here.
And I do.
Watching kids riding bicycles with joy and gusto is one of the few things that gives me hope any more.
– Erik Ryberg