My first bike was also a pink Schwinn, the kind with the banana seat and basket on the front. I had tassels hanging from the handlebars and those straws you put on the spokes that clicked as the wheels went round and round. Sometimes I tied string to the handlebars as makeshift reins, converting the bike into a horse. On my bike, I ruled the world. I ran with gangs of kids zipping around the neighborhood, riding down to the creek to fish out crawdads and salamanders. We created obstacles courses in the church parking lot across the street from the creek.
When we moved to another neighborhood, I graduated to a larger bike and the whole family biked around the neighborhood. I eventually got a pink bike again in high school and rode around town with my best friend. I took that bike with me to college and rode it to work frequently, riding downtown without a helmet through the projects, where the smell of urine and alcohol mixed together in an overwhelming odor. Still, there was a certain freedom I felt riding past apartments and houses.
There's something very kid-like in riding a bike. I'm doing the best I can to remain kid-like myself.