There really is nothing like it, and I do feel bad for people that never had a bicycle growing up because it is one of the best freedoms you can have as a kid. The feeling of control and independence is second to none, and I recall my first serious bike with great fondness. It was bright yellow with a long glittery seat and colourful streamers that hung out of the handle bars. It came with training wheels, and I remember being so determined to learn to ride it without them that I had more than my fair share of epic crashes in the early days.
But that was part of the thrill, nothing like a good fat scab to pick at when you're a kid! Anyway, I used to cruise the court that we lived in on that yellow machine like a pimp on the prowl, always on the look out for another kid in the neighbourhood to hang out with. And given the fact that no-one had an Ipad or a Playstation at that time, most kids were hanging out on the streets, equally keen to hit the road and get up to no good.
Boy did I do some miles on that bike in my primary school days, I even recall pimping my ride with some funky beads on the spokes that made melodic clanking noises as I rode, they were so "trendy" at that time and I thought that I was so cool.
When we finally moved out of the neighbourhood I remember that my bike was utterly decrepit with a torn seat, rusty frame, worn rubber handle bar grips and sad faded tyres, needless to say, it didn't come to the new house with me. Besides, I was on the verge of being a teen and I was too big for that bike.
But that yellow bike will always be a treasured memory for me, it was the bike that I learnt to ride on, it was the bike that I found my childhood freedom upon and it was the bike that I had a thousand childhood experiences on.
Release Date: 1949
Running Time: 93 mins
This must see Italian neorealist movie directed by Vittorio De Sica is a masterpiece of cinema that speaks volumes about the human condition in Rome post World War II. The Bicycle Thief has received a swag of awards since its release some 65+ years ago, and it was ranked #4 in Empire magazines "The 100 Best Films of World Cinema" in 2010.
During the depression of Post-WW II, Ricci has found himself a job that will help him to support his wife, son and baby. However, when Ricci's bicycle is stolen he faces the grim possibility of life without a job again and this desperation leads him to desperate measures.
This is heart wrenching stuff, set amid the clearly war torn backdrop of Post War Rome. The performances are passionate, emotional and deeply stirring; it's an altogether moving experience that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.
FINAL SAY: You live and you suffer.
4.5 Chili Peppers