On a bike I have wings and a kingdom. On a bike I’m a taller, stronger, wiser version of myself — the person I wish to be on land. It’s always been this way.

When I was three or four years old, and the neighbors’ big dog, Smackey, came waddling across the street to try to lick me, I was safe if I was on my trike: I could ride circles around her. If Smackey came over and I wasn’t on my trike, I had to go back inside, where my strange, bone-thin mother did not let anyone come near her, or make noise, or turn on the lights. Sometimes she was lying on top of her bedspread, looking like a wax figure. Other times I found her hiding in her closet.