Cycling Stories

A Joyride Home

August 21, 2020

author:

A Joyride Home

“What happened?!” my mother exclaimed as I walked past her on my way to the bathroom. I looked in the mirror and saw tar embedded in the skin below my left eye. My hands did not look any better. 

Let me tell you what happened. 

It only started an hour earlier. 


“Tring, tring!” 

I confused the sound of my bicycle’s bell with the school bell’s ring, declaring the end of another day. It sounded more like an old-fashioned telephone.

Children stampeded out of the classrooms like migrating buffaloes, me among them. Can you blame me? I was looking forward to the joyride home. 

The bicycle shed was not too far away. Once there, I placed my satchel onto my bike’s carrier, tightened it, hopped onto the seat, and started pedaling.  

My friend, James, owned a bike that needed some serious attention. I saw him ahead, pedaled a bit faster, and just before I reached him, I outstretched my arm to catch him around his shoulders—something I’d done before. This time, though, we crashed to the ground, much to the delight of the entire school. 

James was not pleased. He used every word in the seaman’s dictionary twice, and I apologized profusely. As we dusted ourselves off, I promised him I would behave differently in the future. Right then, he decided that he was going to fix his bicycle that afternoon, so I’d no longer be able to make fun of him. 

After riding with James and dropping him off at his house, I continued.  

A road crew recently did an excellent job revamping a section of the road leading to my home, which was so smooth. My bike’s tires made a singing sound as they spun along the road, which increased in pitch the faster I pedaled. I wanted to know how high the music would go.

I had another motivation for speeding: the road ended in an intersection, after which there was a short—but steep—incline of about 10 meters. I intended to clear the slope without pedaling. 

I was going fast. Fortunately, no cop was in sight. But as I took the turn, I realized that I was going too fast—I was about the run off the road.  

I forced my bicycle to turn sharper, which followed Newtons’ rule and continued straight. On the other hand, I took the turn and completed the incline, but not on the bicycle. Instead, I used my face and hands. 

Thankfully, I didn’t lose an eye. I stood up, walked down to my bicycle, picked it up, and for the second time that day, pressed the front wheel between my knees, and pulled the handlebars straight. The bell was damaged beyond repair and would never ring again. 

With the saying, “the third time’s a charm” firmly replaying in my head, I pedaled home, slowly and carefully, when my mother saw me and greeted me with two words and an exclamation. 

Since that day, I ride with the utmost care. But I must admit, not slowly at all! And guess what? I cannot wait for the next ride. 

Julius De Smedt has taken many long trips by bike, including a 108km ride to the next town. He also used to ride to work every day, which was 37km each way.
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