I have a fear of bicycles. Well, technically, not bicycles themselves. That would be weird. I have a fear of me on a bicycle. Riding. In traffic. Or not.
My bike-phobia goes way back. I recall when I was a very young kid and the world was barely formed, a bratty kid that lived down the street was riding his
bike barefooted. Until his foot got caught in the chain. I don’t think I’d ever seen that much blood at one time before, and that included the time I was
swinging on the monkey bars and missed. (Trust me, that dentist put his kids through college on that one.)
Anyway, Mom the Nurse (no, really, she was an RN) threw the kid in the back of the station wagon along with my sister and me and drove to a hospital. Let’s just say it’s a good thing that 1) Mom could handle copious amounts of blood and 2) the car seats were washable.
My next incident was when I was in about third grade. I was riding my banana bike (I was way cool) down the big hill, standing on the pedals and not holding on. (Picture the scene in Titanic at the fore of the ship). I was flying. Until I hit that patch of sand that hadn’t been there two minutes before. I don’t even remember falling—just grinding to a stop on the street several feet from where I left my epidermis. I bled. A lot.
But the final spoke in the bike coffin came later, when Dad tried to show me how to ride my brand spanking new 10-speed. He’d put it together and surprised me for my birthday (10th, I think.) Anyhooo, as our house had a really steep
driveway, he opted to start at the top and go downhill. And, boy, did he. Unfortunately, he’d forgotten to connect the hand brake. (Before 10-speeds we were used to pedaling backwards to apply the brake.) I never knew that man that big could fly that far. The front tires hit the curb across the street and Dad went airborne. Mom, ever the calm one, threw him in the backseat with me and drove to the hospital. Turns out he’d collapsed both lungs, broken a few ribs, had a concussion, and took early retirement after he got out of the hospital. At least he landed in the grass so he still had most of his skin. That was one of the few times I’d seen my father cry. (On the bright side, he spent the next eight months making incredible Christmas ornaments from the strangest assortment of things ever imagined.)
Now, tell me, isn’t that enough to make one shy away from two wheeled transportation? I’ve tried to get on a bike—once I even managed to get all the way around the block before the panic attack kicked in. What the heck was I doing on this machine that had been trying to kill me my entire life?!? Give me a minimum of three wheels anytime.
And since we’re speaking of bikes—why is it that someone who rides a bicycle is called a cyclist but someone who rides a motorcycle is called a biker? Hmmmmm..