May 15, 2006

Braced for a fall

I'd decided to let my hair down. Literally. Wind whipped through my hair and I was at peace, except for the thought of a semi driving up behind me and clipping my bike tire. I would veer off the road into a jagger bush, die after snapping my pale neck and make the evening news. The semi driver would say how sorry he was to my family and I would be dead all because I wanted to ride a bike.

So my mind is a little fanciful these days, but not much different than back when: fly, crash.

I've been a bike rider for years. I suppose many of us have. It wasn't an easy thing, though.

When my mother wants to embarrass me, she recalls the numerous times I ran my bike into the same stretch of fence near our house. Each time I would try, the bike would, like a magnetic force field, take me to that same crash point.

I, personally, do not know why I was even trying there, anyhow. My dad would hold the seat, running alongside down a hill, and I would try pedalling. Pedalling like this is impossible, however. I knew when he let go every time. His whooshing breath would grow distant and his shuffling step would stop in the burnt summer grass. Just when I would get the pedals back under my feet and get a rhythm, I would freak out. I had to get off. I would let go of the pink handlebars and start the jump off a second too late, inevitably crashing under sun-stained black-eyed susans.

My younger sister learned to ride her bike before me. Embarrassing stuff for a seven-year-old.

I needed to learn it alone. I would practice by myself on the cement driveway by our house. It wasn't a momentous event when I finally flew down the sidewalk. Just about damn time that girl learned.

It's in moments like that relatives seem to pass judgment on a your athleticism for life or, better yet, if you finally contracted that congenital disease they knew you possessed. I seemed to have passed both fairly well-- I guess.

Riding my bike this past week, the chain slipped off the front gears and I was pedalling nothing. I didn't fall, but had to push the aluminum farce up the hill back home. I hung my head in shame to passing motorists, but laughed too, at how long the black-eyed susan garland had decorated my hair.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at May 15, 2006 10:48 AM | TrackBack

My son's getting pretty good on his scooter, but this entry reminds me that we're overdue for more biking practice. Although I'm only a theorist when it comes to bike-riding.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at May 16, 2006 9:01 AM
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