Friday, June 02, 2006

I'm Superman On A Bicycle

I have always been pretty laid back. Even as a kid.

But from the time I started riding a bicycle with training wheels at four, I seem to have no fear on a bicycle.

I mean, now, when Lovely Wife and I ride, we take it easy. No stupid stuff, but I still love riding my bike. And I'm still not a-feared of anything while on my trusty steed.

When I turned five, we were living in Ridgecrest, Louisiana. I had a classically styled bicycle, only small enough for me. Think a 20inch tire version of Pee-Wee's bike in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.

The bike was red and I still remember going to buy it at Western-Auto in Ferriday, Louisiana (home of Country Music's Mickey Gilley, and Preaching's Jimmy Swaggart, who are first cousins). Like the one on the bottom right of this ad.(blogger still won't let me add pictures) This would have been in October of 1967.

Anyway, when I turned five, Daddy and Big Brother (8 at the time) took off my training wheels and let me ride from one of them to the other at either end of our home's driveway. They would help me turn, and then push me off toward the other.

It wasn't long before I was out on the streets with Big Brother. Man, I felt ten feet tall and bullet proof.

Then one day as we were on our street near our home, I touched Big Brother's rear tire with my front one and went down hard.

Concussion number one, at the ripe old age of five!

I remember my parents sitting up with me and trying to keep me awake through the night. (Is that still the right thing to do?)

Not long after this, near this same spot on our road, I freaked over a car coming toward me, went off the edge of the road, and hit my forehead about three inches over from the last concussion. Concussion number 2!

Did this stop me? Heck no, Dudes and Dudettes.

I have pulled muscles, knocked out teeth, and scraped the meat off both forearms and elbows in an accident racing my childhood buddy, R. S.

And all that before I was twelve!

Flash forward to when I'm about twenty in the early 80's when my Younger Brother got into the then popular bicycle BMX craze.

I borrowed a bicycle and took Younger Brother and Friend to the local BMX track one day for practice. I was under the delusion illusion that I would ride the course right behind them, to urge them to practice hard.

When they said go, man, I took off like a Saturn Five Rocket to the moon. I hit the first 'hill' and was seriously airborne. I (and my borrowed bicycle) did about four fifths of a flip in the air and I came down on back of my head/left shoulder. I can still hear the sound of my head hitting the hard packed dirt as I landed.

I just lay there, trying to get my bearings when Younger Brother and Friend rode up to me (I had left them behind) and stopped. Their eyes were as big as dinner plates, and when they saw that I was alive and awake, they started laughing in that weird way you do when you have seen something, but you don't quite believe it yet.

I have more stories like that about me and bicycles than I care to even mention.

I don't know why I'm like that when I get on a bike. I drive cars so slow and carefully that I annoy people, both my passengers and other motorists.

But on a bicycle, I was always superman, the man of steel. These days, though, not so much. Thank the Lord.

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