March 11, 2006


My first bike crash is at the hands of our neighborhood bully. I am 4 or 5 years old, riding my red tricycle down the uneven sidewalk, back and forth between my front drive and the tree that marks the end of our property. She is there, behind the tree, waiting for me. She steps out as I approach, hands on hips and announces I can go no further. I pay her no mind as I try to move past. She knocks me off my tricycle and I run home, blood running on my knees and elbows. I get patched up and run back outside for another go. She knocks me off again and again and each time I go to my mother for bandaids. After three rounds my mother says, "no more", and I feel the bully has won.
It is the summer of my 7th year and I have my first two-wheel bike. The grass is vivid, soft and damp under my tires. My father runs alongside holding the back of the seat, and suddenly I am flying down the grassy hill of our backyard. I look back to grin proudly at my father and he grins proud moment before the crash. My father is running but I am laughing...exhilerated.
I am flying down the road, trees whipping past, a pack of my friends behind me on their bikes. We are so fast and I am leading them. Old Mr. Peabody is standing on the side of the road and his dog that yips all day and night sits on the other side, a white ball of fur and teeth. Mr. Peabody calls him just as I streak past. My front tire hits fur and bone and my face meets the pavement. Thankfully the four bloody teeth I spit out are baby teeth.
Our driveway is a gravel paved U. I am still naive to the pitfalls of bike riding and do not realize that gravel gives way under fast, cornering tires. As I speed into the turn of our drive, the front tire jerks to the left and I cannot hold it. I crash in a great display of scraping and flying dust. When I pull up my shirt to inspect the damage there is gravel embedded in the angry red gashes across my ribs.

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