Tracy K. Lorenz . . .



Bike Crashes

I was driving around town today and I saw a boy walking with a girl and in between them was a bike.  My first thought was “Why aren’t they both riding the bike?” and then I remembered my childhood.

Back in the days before common sense was all the rage, my friend Janice was riding on the handlebars of a bike owned by her boyfriend Mike. Riding on the handlebars used to be a fairly common mode of transportation, one kid would ride the bike conventionally while another kid sat on the handlebars with her (or his) legs dangling down on either side of the front tire.

Janice was on the handlebars while Mike was peddling at a pretty good clip and Janice discovered that if she tapped her heel on the fast spinning spokes she could play a little tune.  This worked great until the second verse when Janice’s heel went too deep, getting lodged between the spokes and the front tire fork.  Physics took care of the rest.

This was back in the days prior to carbon fiber. Bikes were made of steel, unforgiving steel. I didn’t think those two kids would ever stop bleeding.

There were a couple kids that lived across the street who thought it would be cool to tow a wagon behind a bike via rope. They were going about Mach 1 when the kid riding the bike turned the corner and the kid in the wagon kept going straight.  Remember on the start of The Six Million Dollar Man when his rocket sled crashed on the salt flats and just flipped and rolled for about eight miles?  It was worse than that.

One day while I was doing my paper route I saw this kid named David riding his Stingray and showing off by doing wheelies in front of a group of girls.  The girls were minorly impressed until Dave did a big wheelie and his front tire flew off.

The tire flew off and when the front end came down. Dave went right between the tuning fork handlebars causing them to wedge around his ribs like a clothespin. If that wasn’t humiliating enough, he couldn’t escape, he had to walk all the way home bent over with handlebars stuck around his ribs. His social standing never recovered.

One crash actually made me feel sad for the girl involved. She was a bigger girl and she was riding at a rather slow pace while drinking a Burger King milkshake. She was riding on the sidewalk when she came to a crossroad. She went down the handicap slope but for some reason there was no ramp on the other side, it was a regular curb.

She spotted the curb at the last second and attempted to do a wheelie to get over the curb but her front tire only got about three millimeters off the ground. She hit the curb which sort of slow-motion catapulted her over the handlebars face first into the sidewalk; she did the perfect scorpion and, as God is my witness, the only thing that prevented total facial destruction was the milkshake.

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