I didn't learn how to ride a bike until i was seven: considered quite late in the street i grew up in. When i finally did learn (after my mum dragged me outside and wouldn't let me back in until i was riding) i would get up early every day and ride the length of my street, which was probably about 500 metres. When i got to the end, not knowing how to turn 180 degrees yet, i would get off and turn the bike around, then ride back.
Gradually, i started riding with the local boys. They all had 24 inch bikes, often with ten gears (a time when more gears was cooler). We rode all around the suburb, to the parks, down the lane ways...racing each other, daring each other, pushing each other.
Sometimes i think, when I'm out on the bike, maybe I'm just chasing that feeling those first few months of riding provided. The feeling of freedom was totally intoxicating, and my very first notion of independence essentially grew from there.
Sometimes i think my micro generation (growing up in the early to mid 90s) was the very last generation to experience the real holistic notion of 'outside play'. Back then consoles were very much around but were limited to rich or spoilt kids, and the games themselves were naturally less addictive. So this old cleche of the 'neighbourhood kids' was to some extent totally accurate. It was a good time!
Except for that time that bastard Anthony threw my bike across the road and broke it. Fucker.