|My first bike -- I was six and|
lived in Nashville
The year I was in 6th grade, I lived full time in Bryn Mawr and I had a new bike with skinny tires. I don’t know if they actually were English tires but that’s what I was told they were. All I knew was that they were a lot thinner than any tires I’d ever had before and that’s important to this story.
One warm spring day, my next older stepsister had gotten a call from a boy in Kentucky where her father lived and where she had a lot of friends. She really wanted one of her Bryn Mawr friends about this wondrous event and so I set off on my bike. Keep in mind, this was before call waiting or second phone lines and cell phones were still only seen in science fiction, so the only way this friend would get the news right away was if I dashed off and told her.
Disaster struck when I was close to the friend’s house. I was so excited and not paying much attention when the skinny front tire of my bike slipped into the gap between the sidewalk and the lawn. I remember this part so clearly – the curb was on my left, and so was the edge trimming I’d slipped into. I started to fall over toward the left and I thought “This is going to hurt.”
Next thing I know, I was on the ground but not where I fell. In fact I was nowhere near where I fell, I was about three blocks away from that spot. My bike was on top of me and some man was yelling at me, asking me if I’m OK. (Looking back as an adult, I bet he wasn’t actually yelling at me but he was most insistent. He probably saw me pass out and got pretty freaked out by it.)
I told him I was OK. He asked my name but I couldn’t remember and I kept thinking you don’t tell a stranger what your name is. Then he asked where I lived, and that took a bit to dredge up out of my foggy head. He asked if I could get home and I guess I said yes because he let me go and I started the long walk home. Even if I’d wanted to ride my bike, I couldn’t have because the seat was twisted.
I got home and what was really weird was no one noticed I’d been gone, and no one noticed that I had a pretty scraped up left side of my face. I had the most tremendous headache for about a week. I don’t remember who fixed the bike seat, heck maybe I did that. And that boy never did call again.
I continued to ride bikes for years; that was my transportation option until I learned to drive. But I never liked it after that. I lost that joy of just riding and riding that you see kids have. I tried wearing a helmet later on, as an adult and that only made things worse for me. So these days, I'd rather run or walk or drive my car.