TCI Friday – Xmas Eve

I like to call it Xmas, because, to me, the X can represent anything. Like, sure, there are plenty of you who celebrate Christmas from a religious point-of-view, but lots of you don’t. Some participate in the cultural/consumerist version. Some don’t do it at all, but maybe have another holiday they like that lands in December. I’m kinda into the druidic, solstice vibe, and I prefer to be outside mostly, instead of in by the fire, so Xmas, for me, captures it all neatly enough.

It’s a holiday, and that means I can ride bikes (more) and eat (more) and those are my two favorite things.

I can’t get through an Xmas without thinking about 1980, the year I found a new bike parked in front of our artificial tree, in our wood-paneled living room in Mobile, Alabama. I pulled on my Oshman’s sweatsuit and headed out into the not very cold to lay some fresh skids on the neighborhood’s unsuspecting sidewalks.

It was the Xmas everything changed, the day I got exactly what I wanted, and exactly what I wanted turned out to be everything I needed. It is some kind of privilege to be 8 years-old and receiving a gift like that. At the time I didn’t know how lucky I was, but I honored my great good fortune with years of hard riding and peak joy. It’s an experience I would wish on everyone, at least once in their lives.

This week’s TCI Friday, Xmas version, asks if you ever had an Xmas like that. Or did you make one for someone else? I suppose your Xmas dream might have been a Holly Hobby Easy Bake Oven or an Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle or something from a generation that wasn’t mine. That’s cool. I’m betting it was a bike though. Was it a bike?

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  1. khal spencer says

    To me, Christmas was always more spiritual than about stuff. Often enough, something went horribly wrong and the idea that I was still alive and the sun came out was the the victory. I recall one year in grad school at about the Winter Solstice, sitting alone in my bedroom with a Remington 870 next to me and having evil thoughts. That was, thankfully, a hell of a long time ago and I was never brave enough or dumb enough to test whether buckshot was a good prescription for depression. Its not a concern any more. I’ve done amazingly well for myself.

    It was never about stuff. It was about overcoming a whole lot of bad shit and knowing life would get better if I let it get better. Amazingly, it got better. Lots better. Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever let the the emotional peloton drop you. You are always in the fight as long as you stay in the fight. Shit, I was once dropped like a stone in the Dick Evans Race on Oahu. I got back into it and actually finished mid pack since a whole lot of other people simply flicked it in.

    Merry Christmas to all, and I hope everyone got their Red Ryder BB gun, the new bicycle, the ultralight set of race wheels, the girlfriend who mysteriously appears out of nowhere just as you think you are total shit, or whatever the Three Spirits gave you to make life good. Christmas ain’t about stuff. Its about what Scrooge found out after the spirits visited him.

    I offer this as a comment since Christmas ain’t the best time for a lot of people. Be brave, be good, and persevere. You will find your way out of the darkness as long as you trust your flashlight.

    1. alanm9 says

      Nice. Best wishes to all.

  2. TominAlbany says

    I think I was 9 when I got the bike. I didn’t lock it up one night that next summer, and it was gone the next morning.

    @Khal – Thanks. Great words.

  3. Barry Johnson says

    My first bike, new and all my own, as I had learned to ride on my older brother’s bikes, was Christmas 1970 when I was 6. Sears 20″ in gold. Banana seat of course. $29.99. The first of my many milestone bicycles (maybe 9-10) of about 30-35 owned. Funny thing, it was made in Austria.

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