Tales of a boy and His Bike: Tale 1.
It can be difficult to have fun under the summer sun when all your friends are off on vacation, both your brothers are stuck in summer school, and the most interesting thing on t.v. is also the most boring news piece ever. Unfortunately for Boyd, this was the exact dilemma he was in. The most entertaining thing that Boyd could think to do was ride his bike, and ride his bike he did. All day every day; from the instant his eyes opened to the moment the sun went down, Boyd rode his bike, only stopping to eat lunch, and dinner. Unlike all the other activities, however, the more Boyd rode his bike, the more entertaining it became. Boyd taught himself to ride without using the handlebars, jump off the driveway curbs, and even managed to pull off a two second wheelie once. Despite these tricks, he soon realized that repetition could make nearly any activity boring, even riding his bike. So when he got tired of attempting to pop wheelies, or riding without hands, he went to a park near his house. This park had a path which went around the whole of the park. This path then branched off to circle around the park’s sledding hill and connect to the sidewalk which stood to the west of the park. This part of the path was significantly smaller and bike races had been held on it for as long as Boyd could remember.
This smaller path was the very one that Boyd was just now beginning to ride his bike on; the tires of the bike following the path as dutifully as a train follows her tracks.
Now on a normal summer’s day, and often during Autumn, Boyd could be found practically flying down this path. He would circle it five times, as quickly as he possibly could, and then come to a jarring stop. Every day, just before sunset, he would go to the park and challenge himself to a race; always trying to go faster than the day before. By the time his friends got back from their Summer trips, Boyd expected to be the fastest out of all of them.
Unfortunately, this day was very far from a normal Summer’s day; the hottest day of that year, or so it seemed to Boyd. Earlier that morning Boyd’s father warned him not to be out in the sun for too long. He also reminded him to drink plenty of water.
“You’ll likely be able to cook scrambled eggs on the pavement with how hot the sun is going to make it.” Boyd’s mother had told him.
And now, Boyd would say that his mother was just about right. He could practically see the heat rising from the pavement on some points in the path. The boy just about expected the tires on his bike to melt off soon, and that singular thought inspired another; he'd rather be at home, watching the news than have to suffer today’s heat, and the loss of his bike’s usefulness. Thus, Boyd resolved to go home, but he would first drink from the park’s water fountain, as his father has suggested. His legs quickened in their pace, and the bike’s train-like obedience to the path was broken.
Boyd turned his handlebars off the path, into the grass, and there went the rest of the bike. Both boy, and bike were soon speeding across the grassy field. The bumpy ride, which the uneven ground was at fault for, caused Boyd to imagine himself taming an unruly mount. He quickly imagined himself a cowboy, on a hot western day. Just as Boyd was about to get completely lost in this grand illusion, a voice brought him back to reality.
“Hey you.” Said the voice, and Boyd looked up to see three older boys standing next to the water fountain. Boyd could only recognize two of the three; Mousa, and Mohammad, brothers who lived across the street from him. The third boy, however, Boyd could not recall. Although Boyd had not recognized this third person, he certainly knew about him; indeed all the children in that neighborhood did. His name was Mark, and he had won every single bike race he’d participated in. In short, he was the fastest kid in the neighborhood. “Hey kid, I’m talking to you.” Repeated Mohammad; he was the oldest of the group.
Boyd looked up at Mohammad wide eyed; save for his brothers, he was terrified of the older kids. “What do you want?” Boyd asked, though his words sounded more rude than he had wanted them to.
“Now that’s no way to talk to your elders now is it?” Asked Mousa, running a hand through his brown curly hair.
“No,” agreed Mohammad, “ it isn’t.”
Boyd couldn’t help but feel helpless, but he kept a brave face on. “Well you aren’t my elders. You’re just some dumb older kids who think you can scare me. Well guess again, cause you can’t!”
“Dumb?” This voice was different. It didn’t come from Mohammad, or Mousa, but from Mark; and Mark did not take very nicely to being called dumb. Mark stood up and pressed thoughtfully pressed a finger to his brown chin. Mark then began to study Boyd carefully, and Boyd shivered, but he managed to hide his terror.
“Yeah.”Boyd responded nervously. “Dumb. You and both of your friends are dumb.: After speaking those words, Boyd braced himself for a beating from the three boys. Instead, Mark began to laugh very loudly.
Mark’s two friends must have been as surprised as Boyd was by the laughter, for they were looking at him as though he had gone crazy.
When Mark’s little fit of laughter was over he managed to explain the reason of his amusement. “ Don’t try to act tough in front of me, kid. I know you’re faking it. It’s bad enough that you’re riding a girl’s bike.”
“Oh, he got you there!” Taunted Mohamed and Mousa in unison.
“What?” Questioned Boyd. Outraged by this statement. “This is not a girl’s bike!"
“Yes it is.” “ Mark responded calmly..
“Is too and I can prove it!”
“Look at my bike, and look at yours.”
Boyd did as he was bid, observing both bikes as carefully as he could. “Yeah, so?”
“You don’t see the difference?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Well, look here.” Mark brought his bike forwards, it’s yellow paint shining in the sunlight, Mark’s hand reached down and tapped the metal bar that ran from his seat directly to the bar on which the handlebars would pivot.
“Yeah, so?” Repeated Boyd.
“You still don’t see it?” Boyd shook his head, and Mark could only sigh in exasperation. “Look. My bar goes straight across, yours goes slightly down.”
Boyd paused for a moment. “But how does that make it a girl’s bike?”
“Because that bar makes it easier for girls to get on, or something.” Responded Mark, almost shouting with impatience. “And because you’re riding a girl’s bike; you should not try to act tough.”
Boyd could not stand for such an insult. “Race me!” he blurted out without thinking.
“Do you know who I am?” Mark responded, shocked by the challenge. He had thought everyone knew him. Apparently Boyd was the only one who didn’t, or at least did not know what Mark looked like.
“I don’t much care who you are. All I know is that you’re gonna lose to me in a race.”
“Don’t bother kid, you’ll lose. “
“No I won’t.”
“Yes. You will.”
“Prove it then!” Boyd insisted, glaring at Mark.
Mark glared back, squared his shoulders, and snarled a reply. “I won’t because I don’t have to.”
Boyd was not intimidated by Mark’s little show, and puffed his chest out. “Sounds to me” he began. “Like you’re just afraid of losing to someone with a girl bike, and that’s even worse than losing to a kid. “ Mark growled audibly in response to this, and Boyd smiled. He had him. Now Mark could not refuse.
“Ohhh, what are you gonna do, Mark?” Asked Mousa.
“Yeah, Mark, you’re just gonna let him talk to you like that?” Added Mohammad.
Both brothers clamped their mouths shut when Mark fixed them with a gaze that warned the two against doing otherwise.
“Fine.” Mark said decidedly. “I’ll race you, three times around the sled hill. First one to get past this water fountain after those three times is the winner, capeesh?”
“Capeesh!” Agreed Boyd confidently, and pedaled his maroon bike onto the pavement besides Mark and his bumblebee yellow bike.
As far as similarities go, both bikes were equiped with an ability to shift speeds. And that was also where the similarities ended.
Mark’s bike was far sturdier, built for mountain riding, he had a thicker frame, and thicker tires for good traction.
Boyd’s, as already stated, was smaller. The frame was thin, and the tires were even more thin still. The bike was built for speed, its handlebars curved down like ram’s horns; this would cause the rider to crouch down when gripping the handlebars, which in turn allowed less air resistance.
Overall however it would seem both bikes were evenly matched in speed. Though the maroon bike had less air resistance to hold it back, the yellow bike had more powerful legs urging it forward. This race would decide the fastest.
Mousa and Mohamed smiled at eachother before Mohammad walked out towards the two competitors, and stood between them. He then lifted his hands, and looked at Mark first, then at Boyd. The two opponents nodded their heads.
Mohammad lifted his hands, Boyd tightened his grip on the handlebars, and Mark smiled calmly. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity to Boyd, Mohammad shouted go and threw his hands down. Mark began to surge forward, but Boyd had already shot forward and was far ahead of Mark.
“Wow .” Spectated Mousa. “Look at ‘im go.”
Mohammad nodded in agreement. “You know, Mark, if you would have taken this race seriously, he might have actually beat you.” Mousa thought this comment very funny, and expressed such by laughing loudly. Mohamed might have joined his brother in the laughter, had Mark not once again fixed them with another stern gaze.
“Can it, you two.” Mark growled quietly as he turned his bike around and began to pedal it out of the park. “I’m gonna go get pizza.” He added as he headed towards the pizza place which was a block away from the park.
Both Mousa, and Mohamed fell in beside Mark on their own bikes. All three boys were soon well on their way, putting Boyd out of their mind and replacing him with thoughts of pizza.
Meanwhile, Boyd sped down the race track with the earth around him turning into a blur of greens, browns, and grays. I must be in first place, thought Boyd. He could not see Mark in front of him, and he certainly didn’t see Mark behind him. That show off must barely be rounding the hill. But, even if Mark was so far behind, Boyd didn’t plan on giving the older kid a chance to catch up. So he tucked his head and shot forward, and soon after made his second pass. With his opponent still seemingly behind, Boyd couldn’t help but laugh triumphantly as he began his third and final lap. “They’ll regret messing with me for sure!” Just as those words left his lips, Boyd found himself passing the water fountain for the third time; the race was over.
Boyd squeezed his breaks and the bike came to a pavement marking stop. As the bike came to a stop, Boyd flicked down the kickstand with his foot, and leaped off his bike. He spun around to look victoriously upon his shame faced opponent. A minute passed, then two, then three. He’s surprisingly slow for the fastest kid in the neighborhood, Boyd thought. After the fifth minute came and went, it dawned on Boyd that they had completely abandoned him, and the race, all together. “Aha!” He shouted after them, wherever they may have been. “You cowards! You couldn’t even face a little boy on a ‘girl’s bike.’ The whole lot of you are nothing but wimps!!”
Sweat rolled from the victor’s brow, and he wiped it away. He then took a long draft from the stream that out of the water-fountain. Wiping his lip Boyd set off towards home upon his maroon, race winning, bike; feeling very victorious indeed.