My Childhood Tale: Bicycle

quote_on-life-like-bike-riding_einsteinBORN in a remote village down south, I remember a very happy and carefree childhood.

And one of the most vivid things I remember was how much my bicycle played important part throughout my childhood years. It was also the only mean of transportation then.

Even then, bicycles were still rare in the early 70’s, let alone motorcycle. My late Dad and Mom travelled everywhere cycling their trusty two wheels companion. So were the rest of my older siblings and my relatives. Only my uncle (Mom’s older brother) owned a beaten up car then because he was selling fresh produce such as vegetables and fishes at the wet market in his Felda Bukit Serampang area.

(My Dad upgraded to motorcycle when I was in my early teens).

I learnt to cycle early on. It was a must to master (cycling) then because it would mean you could travel much further compared to walking, exploring things, places to see and most importantly to go to school.

Cycling was also very important tool to your social life. That’s how you travelled from point, A to B.  Unlike today when you have all those apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter to connect to friends without even seeing them.

My first bicycle was the one that was handed down to me from my sister Jun who outgrew it. It was like a routine, how we were all using the same bicycle in turn, but it all depend if the bicycle was still in a good condition to be paddled on daily basis.

During my first two years at primary school, I remember my late Dad would send and fetch me from school daily using his big bicycle. And I remember hanging on tightly behind him under the hot sun with the wind as the natural air conditioner or we were both soaked wet under the rain – depending on the weather of the day. They were the happiest memories with Dad. 😀

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On my third year, my Dad continued sending and fetching me from school. Remember how he would be waiting for me daily after school session, bringing along my packed lunch and another set of baju kurung (school) uniform for afternoon/religious classes. Then he cycled away to continue with his afternoon job.

And without fail, three hours later, he would be there, waiting to fetch me home.

But my parents only allowed me to cycle to school towards the end of my fourth year. And that’s when my journey on bicycle throughout my childhood started.

That’s when I frequently left home early so I could play with friends before class started. Also following my friend home so we could pick some fruits such as guava in the orchard, right after afternoon session completed at 3pm. I would be cycling everywhere. Following friends fishing, swimming, or going over to friends’ place to play, making kites when in seasons.

It was a huge deal to own your (very own) bicycle and not sharing it with your siblings! And as I grew older, also the size of my bicycle. I remember cycling for kilometres on ends with a group friends, to places that today’s kids wouldn’t be bothered to. And throughout I remember I was a proud owner of four different bicycles.

Following my move to Kuala Lumpur when I was 17, it also marked the end of my love affair with my bicycle(s) and cycling.

But now, 30 years later, am back in my kampung. And picking up cycling again came naturally. But this time I am borrowing Adam’s old bicycle which has been taken over by his cousin brother. And the excitement is still the same, the freedom and the fresh air.

Circling my village in the misty morning, I realised that my village is still the same despite many houses being built in the past three decades. It can’t be helped as many children started building their homes around the lands adjacent to their parents as they approach their retirement age. But for me the feeling is still the same and my cycling now has an added purpose, to stay fit and healthy. God willing. Ac9[1]