My bike has been a lot of trouble this year. Even before this powersliding fiasco. Something about sitting in the lock up all winter really made it get out of shape. I’ve had to set the rear wheel twice and then decided to take it to the shop. On the night I got it back, I happened to shove my bike into some metal fencing we have in the bike lock up. My bike simply stood there for a moment. Impaled as it was, I was hopeful that all would be fine. After airing my tire up the next day and enjoying the latex scented breeze gushing from the gash in my tire, I took it to a another shop.
After that, my bike seemed fine and, as of this writing, it still is. So I hit the road like some post apocalyptic warrior clad in metaphorical leather with a hipster bike and a safety green helmet. I cruised all over the town. Not having any destination, like a rebel without a cause and obeys traffic regulations. I’d ridden about ten kilometers before the harbinger showed up.
I was flying down a vacant paved bike line when I became thirsty. Wanting to maintain speed for the upcoming hill, I kept pumping my legs as I pulled out my bottle. The plastic flavored water sucked, but it was something. Then I tried to put the bottle away. Legs still pumping. Speed and course maintained. The hill was going to be a breeze! I was so proud that I was already having the conversation with my cyclist friends about how cool I was. It was a certainty that they would hoist me upon their shoulders and carry me through the cubicles. Ode-laly! Ode-laly!
Plastic bottles make some funny sounds as they hit the ground and shoot out from under a rear bike wheel. I slammed on my brakes. As I did so, I passed over a dusting of, well, dust. My rear wheel slid a bit, causing the back of my bike to scooch around and my heart to go all aflutter with the joy and excitement of powersliding. Twenty years have had to have passed since I felt such joy. I felt like a bearded nine year old. The simplicity of it all. Go fast! Hit brakes! Slide! Put your foot down! Do it again.
I shoved the bottle into its holder with the certainty of a half-elven ranger sheathing an ancestral blade after saying something particularly cheeky and rode off. Not knowing my fate had been sealed. After another ten kilometers, I came upon a sign indicating location filming was taking place. It’s fluorescent arrow simply pointed down a dirt road. Usually, I won’t go out of my way, but this time, it was for a show that I truly love. I had to check it out, even if it was Sunday and I was sure there was no filming taking place.
The crickle-crackle of dirt and rocks kept me company as I began to wind my way down the lonely road. I was careful to avoid the potholes and rocks that were too large to ride over. When I came to the fork in the road, instead of choosing one of the prongs, I decided to go back. There was no filming happening, not that day anyway.
I’d picked up a fair amount of speed and thought I’d give powersliding another try. This time I could really give it hell. Surrounded by dirt, how could I not slide for miles and miles? Quite easily in fact! I’d slid for about two seconds before things went awry. Gravity was coming to collect on the cheque I’d written, fully prepared to make my body cash it. There was nothing I could do but put my hand down and land on my knee.
I was up in a flash, trying to play it cool. While it was a dirt road, I wasn’t even a hundred meters away from a popular bike lane. I’d hoped no one saw me or the cloud of dust I’d kicked up. With that, my skinned hand a knee throbbed the last twelve kilometers home. Powersliding was out of my system.