The dream of a red bicycle, the first race and the first fight. 

Elisa Balsamo shares her memories of some playing that turned into something fundamental in her life.

My parents have always been passionate about cycling and they often took me with them to a friend's shop to have their bikes checked and fixed.

One day I fell in love with a beautiful little bicycle hanging on the wall: a red-framed bike. I asked if I could try it. The owner picked me up and it turned out it was still too big for me. I was so sad and disappointed that, once back at home, my parents promised me I could get it the day it would fit my height so as to hit the pedals.

From that moment on, every time I went back to that shop I asked the owner to unhook the red bicycle off the wall to see if I could reach the pedals. It took a long time and a lot of patience before I could finally go home with it and, that day, I felt I was the happiest and luckiest little girl in the world. I had wanted it so much that now it didn't seem true I could have it all to myself.

After pedaling for a while and getting some confidence, I attended my first child race and got involved in an accident with another child, as we both still couldn't ride well and, above all we, couldn't get to the brakes easily.

That’s how my relationship with cycling started. I still didn't know how important that simple playing  was going to be in my life.

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