By Rebecca Behan, Marketing Manager
My family loves to recount the years—yes, years—it took me to learn to ride a bike without training wheels: the front flip over the handlebars into the neighbor’s bushes, the gravel skid into oncoming traffic at the beach, the wobbly attempts at riding up the lawn to our house. (Inevitably, I walked.) So it was with no small amount of trepidation that they took the news that in just my second summer of living in New York City, I had bought a bike. My birthday present from my sister that year? A bike helmet.
Bright red, with teal green handlebar tape, the bike granted freedom from the confines of bus routes and crowded subway cars. She was christened the “Red Rooster” in a nod to Brooklyn’s old-school fast-food joint the Roll n Roaster, a preferred stop on sweaty summer rides to the beach where my friends and I would slip into swimsuits in the bathroom, slurp down a tart lemonade, and make the last push up the Marine Parkway Bridge on our way to the then-deserted beach at Fort Tilden.
As the years went by, I became a confident rider—choosing the Red Rooster as my commuting companion, competing with potholes and delivery trucks in the bike lanes, as well as oblivious tourists wandering across the Brooklyn Bridge. There were close calls and small spills (thank you, bike helmet) flat tires, torrential rainstorms, and miles and miles of the city to explore. Eventually, the commute grew too much for my little bike. It was time for me to trade her in for a tougher model. On a bright, sunny spring day I sat outside my stoop with her, a “for sale” sign taped to her top tube. A young girl, about 14, stopped short when she saw us, and I knew my Red Rooster had found a new girl to take her home for the summer.
The author with 'Red Rooster,' summer 2006.