A trusty friend first encountered in childhood, the bicycle is also an early rite of passage. Once you have mastered the two-wheeler, your backyard becomes much bigger. Who can forget the exhilaration of screaming downhill, hands over head, trailing a confetti wake of playing cards across a dozen front yards on endless summer afternoons? Who can forget unlocking the mechanical secrets of the derailleur and conquering the big hill? Who hasn't watched a shrieking knot of bicycle-mounted children circling aimlessly in an empty parking lot and thought, however briefly, of those long-ago days when you could have joined that circle based solely on the inherent coolness of your own bike?
That pang of loss you felt at that moment can be salved forever, if you just get a new bike. Save your arguments. St. Louis may not be the most bicycle-friendly city in the nation, but groups like the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation work to change that. And the SLRBF's annual Bike Swap Meet and Classic Bike Show is a perfect opportunity to learn more about making St. Louis a more cycling-friendly city and to pick up a new two-wheeled friend.
Dozens of vendors (both professional shops and private sellers) peddle (ha!) all manner of bike-related merchandise, and it's a buyer's market at the Bike Swap. You can get anything from a new helmet to an old Huffy. If you already have a bike and more equipment than fits in your shed, just enjoy the Classic Bike Show or even enter your own prize ride for a mere $5 fee. And if the sight of another cyclist flagrantly disregarding the rules of the road angers you beyond speech, work out the rage by entering the Huffy toss (they're going for distance, not accuracy, so your rage will serve you in good stead, Hulk). Just go; how many opportunities do you have to reconnect with a childhood friend?