small bicycles?" our neighbour-across-the-street asked. He was talking to the Senior Cat.
They were standing under the carport listening to the rain - and the noise of the drum being played next door.
"Bicycles?" the Senior Cat asked.
"Yes, my son has two he wants to give away. They're in good nick. His children have grown out of them and the charity shop won't take them because they haven't got the space."
I couldn't see the Senior Cat at that point but I can imagine the look on his face. Yes. Bikes might just use up some of that excess energy.
"I'll ask," he said and, despite the rain, headed to the next door neighbours.
Apparently the father of the two boys thought it would be an excellent gift. He was apparently most grateful for the thought that his two boys might like to use the bikes. If nothing else they can tear up and down their own driveway and, with relative safety, along the footpath. It is one advantage of living in a short street rather than on a main road.
But where else do you ride a bike? When I was the age of the older child next door, that is seven, I was pedalling my tricycle to and from school alone. We were living in the city at the time. School was more than a mile away and there were several large roads to cross as well as the railway line. I have no idea how long it took me.
I know other children did the same thing. The schoolyard had quite a large area where our bikes were kept. I don't remember them being locked. Perhaps they were.
It was quite normal to pedal to school. We did it in all weathers wearing rubberised canvas raincoats with hoods and our black "rubber boots". When we got to school the raincoats and boots would be discarded to sulk in the porch while we went into the classroom with our shoes on and laces flapping having, ay least in the case of the girls, pulled our box pleated serge tunics out of our knickers where they had been tucked in to keep them dry while riding.
I pedal to a lot of places. The Senior Cat did the same until he was eighty-two and knee problems caused him to stop. The Whirlwind and her father pedal a good deal. If he has time the Whirlwind's father will pedal to work. Going along the designated bike route can be faster than going in the car. My brother-in-law does the same. It's exercise they would not otherwise get. They are old enough and traffic wise enough to do it.
But I wonder where the children ride. The offer of two bikes made me realise, yet again, that I do not often see children "just riding". There is, apparently, nowhere to do it. They are not even allowed to do it in the park.
I think we may have to leave the gates open and tell the boys they can use our driveway as well. I can put up with a few yells if they are having some fun pedalling their bikes.