Sudden Stop

Back in the days when I got my first hybrid bicycle, a bike for city and country cycling, I had to learn the ins and outs of handling a mountain bike. My boyfriend and I planned on taking some very long cycling trips over some rugged terrain and I needed to be prepared for anything.

And so, my very patient boyfriend, on our first trip, attempted to show me how to ‘hop a curb.’

This means, just before you encounter the curb you use your body and the bikes front shock absorbers to lift the front tire up and the rest of the bike follows in a hop. The point is, if you are full speed ahead and encounter an unforgiving obstacle, like a rock, you can leap over it.

In theory.

So actually, the first few tries went well.

We packed our stuff and were on our way.

We stopped to get some groceries and I decided to practice the hop.

In my enthusiasm I forgot that we were on a trip, and the back of the bicycle was considerably heavier. There were two full panniers and camping gear piled on the back rack. So the bike failed to lift and the front tire slammed the cement and I was airborne. Ass over head over handlebars. I clung to the handlebars and did a perfect handstand swing, like on the parallel bars, only backwards, before I let go. I fell in slow motion onto a grassy embankment. Sprawled on my back I opened my eyes to several strangers who had witnessed my acrobatics and were sure I was dead.

My boyfriend didn’t teach me any more tricks.