I remember moving to New Jersey from Philadelphia when I was 12 years old. That summer I made a ton of friends. A couple of them asked me to take a bike ride to Strawbridge Lake in Moorestown. That was about 6 miles from my house and in a totally different town. My mother wasn’t used to letting me go more than a couple of blocks on my bike when we were in South Philly. My friends told her it was what they do in the summer and it was more than safe. Thankfully she let me go.

It was one of the coolest days of my childhood. We rode our bikes with our fishing poles in one hand and off we were to this magical place. The rest of that summer and a couple summers to follow were filled with similar experiences. As soon as I got up in the morning I was out the door to play in the woods or ride my bike in endless directions for countless journeys.

The following year after going to a regional Catholic school I met some kids from the neighboring town of Cinnaminson. At the end of that school year they told me about their annual tradition of riding their bikes from Cinnaminson, which is at the western end of the state to Long Beach Island down at the shore. They were about two or three of them and it would take the whole day. Their moms were already down there and couldn’t leave the younger kids to come back and pick them up so they let them ride their bikes. I seriously doubt that would happen today.

Last night I saw a couple of kids riding their bikes in the way that expressed a kind of freedom. The kind of freedom that comes with Summer time. It made me wonder if kids today still are allowed to be “free range“.

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