A Rough Bicycle Ride (short story)
This was the road--the second driveway is the one we rode on. The trails are all grown over now.
True Story by Lowell Lewis
Andy and I sat on our bicycles watching wistfully as the older boys rode their bikes down the special trail.
There was about a three or four acre tract of land right in the middle of a residential area that,for some reason had never been developed. Motorcycles had made trails all through the woods. The neighbors complained about the noise, so the local police banned motorcycles from the area. Anyway, they left these really cool trails (to hear the older boys tell it) for bicycles and we were parked there just watching them as they would go all the way up the driveway across the street and stand up to pedal hard as they built up awesome speed and zoomed across the road and out of sight (after checking for any cars that might be coming down the road).
They would be gone for about five minutes before they would come cruising around the corner and start all over again. The trail ran all the way through the woods to the other road.
Andy and I rode our bikes up the driveway to take our turn but the older boys told us that we were too little to ride the trails. We were left to just sit there and wistfully watch them.
The next day, the bigger boys all gathered at an empty lot to play football. Andy and I decided to sneak off to the trails to go riding while the older boys were preoccupied with playing football.
We were a little scared because the trail went straight into the woods for about fifteen feet and then banked sharply to the right. We couldn't see anything but this big sloping bank that the bikes would ride up on as they turned. You could go really fast around the turn without slowing down because of this big dirt bank that sloped on the trail (we had watched the older boys do it). You would have to go really fast to keep from falling over and your bike would lean almost all the way over if you did it right.
We rode to the edge of the trail and looked at that big bank. It looked scary. We had almost talked ourselves out of trying the trails until Andy looked at me and stuck out his tongue.
"Too bad you are too scared," he said, "I really wanted to do this."
"I'm not scared," I said bravely, "I want to do it too."
"I'm gonna ride." he said.
"Me too," I said as my heart began to go thump-thump in my chest.
"You can just watch me if you are too scared," he said.
"I'm NOT scared. You're the one who keeps saying it, so you must be scared."
He looked at me. "You're not scared at all?" he asked.
"I shook my head proudly, "Nope."
Now that I think about it, there's a Bible verse somewhere about pride going before a fall--or before destruction--or something...not to get ahead of myself.
"Well, if you're not scared, you go first," he challenged.
I rode my bike up the long driveway like I had seen the older boys do. I looked for oncoming traffic--hoping a parade would be coming by or something. Nothing. Well, I decided to do it like the big boys, so I stood up and pedalled as fast as I could.
The trail was rougher than I thought it would be. My bike seemed to fly as I started into the banking turn. I was excited! This was fun! I pedalled harder as my bike tilted way over. I gripped the handlebars as hard as I could.
I didn't know there was a huge drop-off just around the bend, I never even got my bike straightened back up before the ground seemed to disappear from beneath my tires. Everything was quiet as I soared through the air and then I saw the ground coming to meet me. From dust I was made, to dust I returned--face first.
I didn't even have a chance to get my breath before Andy came spinning down on top of me. Now, just so you know, this was about a ten or twelve foot drop! There was an awful moment when I knew he was about to land on me, and then he did. You've got to understand; this was the same kid who just last week had run over my head with his bicycle (but that's another story). Anyway, I was none to happy with the way this was turning out. Let's just say that steel, metal, plastic, dirt, flesh and blood got all mixed up--oh, and a bucket of tears.
After a while we realized we were still alive (we were hurting too bad to be dead). We slowly got back to our feet and managed to get the nerve to get back onto our bikes. We decided to ride really slow and just follow the trail out the other side and then go home. We rode slowly and carefully for a while. The trail seemed fairly smooth and our aches and pains were easing a little. I don't think it was on purpose, but we slowly rode faster and faster down the trail. Just about the time things seemed to be going pretty good I saw what appeared to be a small hump in the trail--by the time I realized it was a ramp, it was too late to pull up on my handlebars. My front tire just dropped off into the dry creek bed that was about two feet deep, sending me sailing right over the handlebars and--you guessed it--Andy sailed right behind me! We got all tangled up with the bikes again and finally got it sorted out.
I looked at Andy--his face was sort of quivering and his eyes looked funny.
"Are you crying?" Andy asked me before I could think of anything to say to him.
"No, I just got dirt in my eye."
"You are too! I see the tears!"
"That's sweat." I rubbed a sleeve across my face.
He sniffed. "I know what sweat looks like--besides, your eyes don't sweat!"
That set off a whole new arguement...which I won because he gave up.
I don't know how he would have survived the day if I hadn't been there to cushion his falls. We decided that the trails weren't all that fun after all--so we went home.
Telling stories like this bring back memories of simpler times--of life before computers and video games. Somehow we survived--and the memories are priceless.
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