I wish I had had my camera with me, because just the other day I saw something extraordinary. Something so rare that I thought it was almost extinct. I was, frankly, both shocked and excited!
What was this rarity, this amazing vision? Picture this: I’m walking back from my local cafe/shopping strip on Main St in Osborne Park. An inner-city suburb in Perth, Western Australia. I’m walking down Hutton St, a very busy main suburban feeder road that leads directly to the Mitchell Freeway entries a kilometre away. It’s around 4.30pm, so the rush hour has started and Hutton St is packed with cars, heading for the Freeway and home.
And then I saw it! Or should I say saw him. A young boy on a dazzling chrome and electric blue BMX bike came whizzing down Hutton St. He’s keeping up with the packed traffic, but he’s pumping hard on the pedals, out of his seat, and going for it.
A quick glance left and right, over both shoulders; then he sits back down on the seat, expertly signals for a left turn, lays the bike over and turns hard into my own street, Edward St. He’s still flying, and now he’s back onto the pedals and pumping hard again, and that’s where I lost sight of him. Extraordinary!
What’s so odd about that, you may say. Kids ride bikes don’t they? Well, do they? Or do they any more? And do they do it on their own, without mum or dad, on busy roads? They used to – Lord knows, I did when I was this boy’s age. But I simply cannot recall the last time I saw a kid – of any age – on a bike on Hutton St.