I fell off my bike three times that summer. Never have I been the one to have a great sense of balance or coordination. Throughout the years, I was the girl who would run into walls and tripped over air. With all the crashes and falls, I never had more than a bruise or a slight scratch to show for it all and after each time I brushed it off and laughed. Falling down the steps never made me stop climbing them each day, or tripping over my feet did not stop me from walking. Each time I crashed my bike though, it was a different matter. I would stay away from the bike for weeks, weary that maybe if I tried to ride my bike again I would crash into another parked car or turn too sharp on a gravel covered sidewalk.
I believe in getting back up after you have fallen down. Let nothing stop you from standing back up, laughing at yourself and trying once again to succeed. No matter if the battle is with a repulsive ‘tin can’ on wheels or something far less trivial, stand back up, brush off the dirt and try again.
A month into summer vacation I was on good terms with my bike and I carefully rode the Arbys down the road. I made it safely to the restaurant; a relaxing haven filled with cool air and stable ground.
I left the restaurant, shake balanced unsteadily in one hand, determined to make it to my destination. We decided to take a short cut through the high school parking lot, riding over the brightly painted curbs and skipping the sidewalk. I felt confident now that I passed those small hurdles on my bike and pedaled quickly to catch up. Like all times before, my bike had other plans for me.
This was as close to flying, as I would ever come without aid from a plane. I plunged forward, straight towards the black top parking lot of the school. Upon impact with the gravel-covered lot, momentum was against me as I slid forward another few feet feeling my skin tear away until I stopped. Forgotten was the pain, as the shock of falling once again became clear. I swore under my breath as I sat up and looked at the mess my skin was in. I steadied myself, brushing off the dirt and stones, attempting to stand up and walk towards the office to call for someone to pick me up. There was no way I would be riding that revolting bicycle anywhere.
As the nurse poured peroxide onto my wounds, picking out the little rocks and stones wedged into abrasions; I was frustrated and angry. The pain shot up my arm and leg and I swore to myself I would never ride my bike again and I didn’t- not for a while. It took me many weeks until the wounds and blisters had healed before I even reconsidered the idea of getting back up and riding. I respected my father and his first words to me after telling him my fears of falling again were wise and full of his usual wit, “You can’t let the bike win.” Eventually I rode my bike again, and I did crash several more times to this day, but it all is a part of life. Even if it has been ninety-nine times I‘ve fallen off my bike, I know I just have to get back up for that one hundredth ride.
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