Prone To Bicycle Wipeouts - 05.18.98|
During the summers when I was a kid, one of my favorite activities was biking. On weekdays I would have my parents haul my bicycle over to the babysitters house, so I could ride it even more. There simply wasn't enough time in the weekends. I would bike over to some friends house just a short distance from the sitters and a bunch of us would set up primitive ramps constructed from whatever chunks of wood we could pull from discarded garbage.
During out ramp sessions, there were certainly some viscious wipeouts. Sometimes our shoddy construction would fail and the ramp would flip over while someone was on it, causing them to lose control and wreck. Other times, the wood would break through as we were ascending the ramp and we'd ram into whatever was holding it up. It would send the lucky rider slamming into their bike, or worse yet, flying over the handlebars and onto the ground. Through all the bruises and scrapes, though, we continued our Evel Kneivel (he was our main man) escapades.
One day, while riding the same route to my friends, I thought I would see just how fast I could get going. There was a rather large hill leading down to his neighborhood, and it was on the fairly un-traveled side of town. He'd be surprised when I came flying around the corner and into his driveway, skidding out and sending a spray of rocks.
After getting my strength built up, I crunched down on my bike and started pedaling as fast as I could. I was looking at my feet and cranking as fast as a little kid could. Two blocks went by and I could feel myself reaching terminal velocity. My legs were already starting to get tired, and spokes and pavement lines were a blur.
Just as I started letting up, I glanced ahead of me on the road. There was a car coming from my right on a cross street just ahead, and it wasn't stopping at the stop sign it had. I set my legs in reverse and stomped on the brakes with all my might. My back tire skidded for about ten feet and my front tire smashed into the left front quarter of a rather small yellow car (a Pinto I believe).
The impact sent me flying over my handlebars and onto the hood of the car. It had since stopped and the owner hurridly rushed out their door to see if I was alright. As soon as I knew what had happened, I hopped off the car by myself and set about looking my bike over. I felt fine, but I had to see if my bike was ok. Besides a few scratches on the handlebars, everything seemed to be in working order.
About this time, I realized that there was some guy by me asking me if I was ok. He was getting to a frantic point of questioning, just when I told him that I felt ok. My answer, combined with my ability to walk upright and move both of my arms seemed to ease his mind a bit, but he still insisted on asking me several more times if I was feeling fine. Although I had a bit of a pain in my neck, I assured him that I was and he finally asked me what my name was, so that he could call me later in the evening and see how I was doing.
In a sort of confused voice, I told him. He quickly repeated my name (completely wrong) and hopped in his car and was gone. I knew he wouldn't have called anyway, and decided to skip going to my friends for the afternoon. I road home to my sitters and took a nap.