12 December 2015

All I Want For Christmas....

I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I got a bicycle for Christmas.

It's not that I didn't like the bike.  If anything, getting it made me like it even better--and made me more anxious and sadder.  Why?  Well, it was way too big for me.  Like most kids, I wanted to be like grown-ups--or, at least, kids who were older than I was.  The prospect of being able to ride my new Royce Union three-speed (with 26" wheels) tantalized me as much the dream of ascending Mount Everest intrigues and excites mountaineers.

All right... The fact that I got a bike I couldn't ride didn't make me doubt the existence of Santa Claus in the way I would later doubt the existence of God because I have the kind of mind and spirit I have in the kind of body I have.  Rather, I found my faith in Jolly Old Saint Nick dashed a couple of years earlier, when I was walking down Fifth Avenue (in Brooklyn) and saw four Santas--one black, another Puerto Rican--on the same block.

Anyway...I'm sure many of you got bikes that didn't fit, or weren't right for you in some other way, for Christmas.  I'm also certain that many of you found, under your family's tree, a two-wheeler you could hop on and ride immediately.   (Of course, if you lived in one of those places that typically were blanketed with snow during the holiday season, you had to wait a few weeks or months to ride.)  That, I imagine, is still--what with all of the electronic toys available--many a kid's fantasy.

I also imagine that some of you, when you were wee lads or lasses, found three-wheelers under your family's tinsel-wreathed evergreen boughs.  I have vague memories of riding a trike but, as best as I can remember, it wasn't a Christmas present.  In fact, given my family's circumstances at the time, it might have been a hand-me-down from a cousin or neighbor, not that I would have known the difference.

Somehow I don't imagine that as many kids dreamed of getting trikes as getting bikes.  But, if any kid had such fantasies, somehow I don't think it would run to something like this:

If anything, I'd bet that some parents with deep purses or pockets fantasize about buying something like the Vanilla Trike because, well, they could. And I suppose that even the best-heeled (best-tired?) of them wouldn't let their kids ride it.  First of all, it's an object d'art--or, at least, a piece de l'artisanat.  It belongs in a curio cabinet or on a coffee table, not on a sidewalk or in a park.  Second, what kid would know or care that he or she is riding a bike with a hand-brazed Chromoly frame, Brooks saddle, Campagnolo headset and Phil Wood hubs?

Not exactly your typical doormat, is it?

Of course, it's beyond a mere indulgence.  Still, I don't want to seem as if I'm mocking it or resenting anyone who can afford it.  Hey, if I could spend $10,000 without blinking an eye, I'd buy one, too.  Even if I never could ride it.  Even if it's not something I fantasized about when I was a kid.


  1. my favorite santa-ruined memory is when i told my dad on our hardware trips, my fave places as a kid, that the best thing i had ever seen was a really big metal tonka truck, then i got it for christmas. i put 2-2 together quickly but that was the best thing ever.
    happy holidays to you justine and to a great new year thanking the internet to allow us to read your great stories and things that you see along the ride :) -meli.

  2. Meli--Well, at least you got the truck and it made you happy.

    Have a great holiday and I hope to see more of you!

  3. I never did get a bike as a present from parents or santa...

    That is a nice trike but that price has to be a misprint.

  4. Coline--I'm sorry you never got an Xmas bike.

    Like you, I thought the price was a misprint when I first saw it. Turns out, it's not. Amazing, isn't it?

    Have a great holiday!