Life on a bike (Alphabet Contest entry for Round ending 11/14/08)
|Jumping to a Conclusion
As a means of transportation, single-speed bikes have fallen on hard times. BMX bikes, mountain bikes--anything with a shifter, really--seem to represent the minimum basic requirement for today's youth. Children of my day were overjoyed to see any kind of bike under the Christmas tree, ideally with Schwinn or Huffy on the fork. Diatribe over - on with the story.
Every weekend, my brother and I would take our bikes on a tour of the neighborhood. Flipping rapidly in the spokes were old playing cards, held to the rear forks by clothespins, their purpose being to herald our arrival and garner attention. Gregg and I were looking for a little more than a simple 'ride around' that fateful day. He suggested a scouting expedition in a northwesterly direction. I concurred.
Just a few minutes' ride, and an unbelievable sight lay before us: an unfenced construction zone! Kids on bikes were everywhere, riding along dozer-made trails and jumping small trenches. Looming over the main area, though, was a huge pile of dirt. Midway down the face, a small plateau had formed, allowing the more daring bikers the opportunity for a really fast trip and a short flight.
Not to be outdone by the others, Gregg and I made our way to the top. Our bikes side by side, Gregg went first. Perhaps this wasn't such a great idea, I thought, seeing how far he'd flown and observing the steepness of the drop firsthand.
Questions like "Wow, do you have any idea, how far you flew!?" and then, seeing my grimacing face, "Are you okay?" came at me as I tried to sit up. Reality seemed out of kilter, as I tried to reconcile Gregg's proximity and my current position--sitting on the ground--with the memory of his having ridden down first, followed by me on my own bike. Seemingly, I'd fallen and briefly lost consciousness. Taking my time, I slowly pedaled homeward.
Under the circumstances, a trip to the hospital was clearly in order, so off we went. Vital signs taken, the technician whisked me away, then brought me back to the examination room. Worried looks disappeared, when the report came in. X-rays revealed a broken right arm, which would need to be immobilized for the next several weeks, but that was all.
"You'd better be much more careful, young man," the doctor said, "because if you break this arm again, it will be the last time."
Zooming down hills is fun, but there's a lot to be said for whole limbs.