For the last several years we have been amassing a collection of bicycles in the shed behind our house. Bicycles our children had either been given, or had bought for them, that they had then grown out of.
We tried to give the bikes away – several times – but given that we live in a ridiculously affluent town, nobody showed any interest. I really don’t get it – we are always grateful when anybody offers us things, and very rarely refuse anything at all.
So – this afternoon I found myself standing next to the refuse bins at the local rubbish tip, swinging several children’s bicycles through the air, and into the tangled mess of metal below. Sure, the bicycles had seen far better days – they were rusty, a little broken, and in need of some work, but they could have been wonderful for some little boy or girl somewhere.
It felt awful.
There were so many memories tied up in those bicycles – memories of running up and down the road alongside little people pushing pedals for the first time, and memories of weekend bike rides to local villages.
I know it sounds silly, but it felt like saying goodbye to our children’s childhood.