Tragic Bike Stories Part II

On my ninth birthday, I got a new bike. A Blue Mongoose. I went from having the worst, shabbiest bike in the neighborhood to having the best. I rode this bike everywhere, fearless of obstacles. I jumped curbs, zipped in and out of dry creek beds, and would sometimes just do laps around the neighborhood as fast as I could fly.

One hot summer day I rode past my friend Mark Carter’s house. With him was Brad Sinclair, my nemesis in all things sports related. Someone, probably Mark, proposed a bike race. It was a spontaneous thing, and the energy of the proposal would have been killed if we had delayed the race to allow Brad to go home and get his bike. So Brad agreed to race in Mark’s sister’s bike, a pink ride with white tires and a rainbow of ribbons on the handles.

It was going to be a short race, about 200 yards from Mark’s house to the end of the street. I was ready to put my Blue Mongoose to the test. We lined up at the imaginary starting line. Mark was to announce “GO!” which I knew would give him a slight advantage despite his assurances that he would delay his own start out of fairness. It didn’t really matter to me. I was going to win.

At Mark’s command, I began pumping my legs, but my start was slow. After twenty yards I was more than a full bike length behind both Mark and Brad. I pedaled harder, squeezed tighter, demanding more out of my Blue Mongoose. After fifty yards, I was even further behind. I couldn’t rationalize how this was happening. Something was clearly wrong with my bike. They had to know this. I gently placed my foot on the tire creating a loud, grating noise from the friction of my rubber sole rubbing against the treads.

“Wha—!” I gasped to draw attention to my clearly malfunctioning bike, which was causing me to lose the race.

Mark and Brad didn’t look back and raced on, fifty yards to go. I pressed harder on the tire to make the grinding noise louder. Suddenly, I was catapulted into the air, performing a front somersault and landing on my back with a giant thud, my bike pinning me to the pavement. It never dawned on me that this might happen. I lay there dazed as Mark and Brad came pedaling back, perhaps after finishing the race.

“Are you okay?” they asked.

“My bike messed up,” I said.


2 thoughts on “Tragic Bike Stories Part II

  1. THAT was a tragic bike story. Not sure the first one qualified, but this one, definitely. Smooooth mooove. : )

    We are smooth move twins:

    I was still ashamed, decades later, that in…4th grade, I think, I took a dive in a race. I was known as the second-fastest kid in the elementary school (1st-6th). We had a huge day of games which included a bunch of races with matches to see who would be the fastest in the school. Of course, it came down to me and Dana. The very second she pulled ahead of me by a hair, my quitting spirit came to the fore: I knew there was no way I could beat her. (That still makes me sad, now, that I was such a sad little girl.) And I was too self-conscious and ashamed to be branded a loser in front of the entire school.

    So I faked an asthma attack.

    Despite all my practice with real asthma attacks back then, I’m sure I faked it very badly, and fooled no one.

    • We’re very good at making excuses for losing. I think it’s a societal thing. So much pressure to perform. That’s my excuse.
      I still have a few more bike stories to tell

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