Bike, in this particular case. That’s what I fell off of, so that’s what I had to get back on. And it wasn’t easy, let me tell you. My heart pounded in my ears, my knees quaked, and I seriously questioned my motives. Did I have a death wish? Had I subconsciously decided to make a grand and final exit?
Nah. Winter’s coming. So with months of confinement staring me in the face, I was determined to suck it up, climb back on the old two-wheeler, and ride into the unknown. Although I had a pretty strong suspicion my path would be straight and true and utterly familiar: the one leading to the Emergency Room. That is my usual route, after all.
The smart thing, I decided, was to prepare for the worst. So I put on my newest, nicest underwear, even including a bra. On my last visit, I’d been sporting an aged, tattered pair, frayed around the legs, and an undershirt. It was mighty damn embarrassing.
But what do they expect? I’m not an exhibitionist, you know; I hadn’t planned to take my clothes off in public. Or get my head stapled, my chest incised, or shoulder crushed. The entire episode, from start to finish, was just one surprise after another.
I pushed those memories aside, released my grip on the brake levers, and rolled forward reluctantly. The sidewalk isn’t narrow, but it is littered with obstacles: light poles, traffic signals, fire hydrants, curbs, grates. Landmines, all. It’s nerve-wracking and stress-inducing, but tons better than the street with its cars and trucks and motorcycles and potholes.
When we reached the bike trail along the riverfront I’d regained a little confidence. Heck, it was a gorgeous autumn afternoon, warm and sunny with the soft, lazy whisper of the tide — calamity was simply inconceivable. This time, my ride ended with me sitting happily on a pier, bare feet twizzling the water. Ducks and boaters and jet skiers kept me entertained.
With any luck, my courage will bloom again in the spring for yet another season of bike bliss. I do love it so, the exhilaration and freedom, but I could easily do without the head trauma and internal injuries and broken bones.
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