There was a period of time when I was growing up, from about 3 to 11, when bicycles were cool and coveted for something other than their hipster/hippy appeal. From my first purple-tassled princess bike with glittery training wheels, to that shiny green 10-speed with thick, black tires, few things could give me greater joy upon entering the garage on Christmas day––except maybe not to walk in on my uncle with my mom’s old breast pump. So, what is it about bikes that’s so cool at that age? My theory has to do with the silver screen. I’ve already written about how pumped I get watching Macaframa and Fast Friday, but that’s to justify the fact that my sexiest mode of transportation is a beat-up, stickered Mercier with teal pedal straps, and not the hot pink convertible Barbie led me to believe I’d own by my mid-20s.
When I was a little tyke, “cool” wasn’t what kind of music I was (or wasn’t) listening to. It wasn’t how much pop culture I could spew in philosophical conversations with my faux friends. It wasn’t my choice in hobbies, my wardrobe, my job. “Cool” wasn’t reality. It was tying up an older brother, climbing on my bike and going in search of One-Eyed Willie’s treasure. It was racing a semi down the highway and winning. It was giving my extraterrestrial friend a ride home.
Bicycles were utilized as props to support my imaginative adventures––sometimes original, but more often than not, extensions of the storylines I saw in movies. And what I saw on screen were children like me, emancipated by two wheels. When I had a bicycle, I didn’t need my mom to drive me to Anne’s house. I had the means to run away from home and, if I was lucky, have my Martian friend fly me back by dinnertime. Bicycles became this representation of youth and freedom from authority that seemed impossible to attain when I was a dependent little kid––and I think that’s what brings some of us back as adults. Most of the cyclists I know are super immature.
The Tour de Brewtah is celebrating this childhood idea of fun by hosting a fundraiser for their annual event at Brewvies on Dec. 6. For $10, you can watch a childhood classic, PeeWee’s Big Adventure, and drink an adult beverage. The Tour de Brewtah is somewhat of an assimilation of that child-like imagination with a 21-plus twist. Every spring, they organize a bike pub crawl where teams and costumes are encouraged, and the best part is that the money goes to Utah charities. I’ve never been because it always ends up selling out well in advance, but it sounds like a good time, and it’s for a good cause. You can find more info at tourdebrewtah.org.
Booze and capes aren’t necessary for reigniting that childhood abandon, though. Next time you need to run away, climb on your bike and just start pedaling. You can phone home once you’ve passed the moon.