It was a beautiful day, with big puffy clouds sailing through the blue sky overhead. I was 12 years old, and riding a new Western Flyer Buzz Bike, ready to take on the world. The Buzz Bike was my third bicycle, not counting the one I learned to ride on. It was a replacement for my Spyder, which had gone to charity a few years earlier when I got Big Red.
The Buzz Bike was more suited to the proto-bmx dirt riding my friends and I were all getting into. Jumping on the local trails, known as "The Ramps", was all the rage with us, and my 26"-wheeled middleweight just wasn't working. So, I wheedled and begged and did all of the other things 11-year-olds will do, leading up to their 12th birthday, to talk my mom and dad into getting me a jumpable bike.
So, on this day, I was cruising right along, looking at the clouds,enjoying a beautiful Spring day... all right in my world... thinking to myseWHAM!
I was out for a few minutes, I think. The next thing I knew, anyway, I was lying in the middle of the street, and my chin felt like Muhammad Ali had used me for a speed bag. I turned my head, painfully, to the right and saw my bike, sitting perfectly upright, with its front wheel jammed under the rear bumper of a parked Chevelle. A small spot of blood marked the ridge of the fender, where my chin had hit when I slammed into the rear end of the car.
I got up, slowly, my head spinning, and tried to pull my bike from under the car's bumper. The tire had jammed so far under the bumper that quite a bit of weight was resting on the tire, and it took me a few tries to get it free.
Once I got the bike free, I turned it around and rode home. The day no longer seemed quite so wide open. I spent the next week, or so, with Kirk Douglas's chin, a painful reminder of my lack of attention.
At least I learned a lesson from the crash, much like a toddler who has touched the stove. I have yet to run, full speed, into the rear of another parked car, since then.
Burn to learn...