Having grown up in mostly small communities, I spent a great deal of my youth on a bike. One day, I was happily pedaling along. I was probably twelve blocks or so from home when it split in half. Apparently I was too heavy for it. Imagine for a moment a 2nd grader trying to carry two pieces of a broken bike home, crying the whole time. Boo-hoo for me. Luckily, a nice teenager was walking by, took pity on me, and helped me carry it home.
Due to the laws of physics, I've had a lot of crashes. My first was when my older sister thought she could teach me to ride it without training wheels. Thanks to Gretchen, I still have trust issues.
The worst crash I ever took on a bike was when I was 9. My dad was a director of a Lutheran Bible Camp in Nebraska at the time, which made me and my siblings camp brats. The crash occurred when I was riding my bike down a steep hill to the beach of the lake that was at the camp. I was riding full bore down the hill. Ah, the ignorance and invincibility of youth. I hit a log that I didn't see in the tall grass. I flipped up over the top of the handle bars and the bike went flying over top of me. I must have somersaulted in the hair because I landed on my shoulder blades. Of course this was before traumatic brain injuries were really "in vogue," so I did this with my noggin exposed. Somehow I walked away from that one. Many years later, I discovered helmets. Helmets? They make those? Cool.
Today, my wife and I dug our bikes out of storage about 5 weeks ago and I got them in working order. I couple of flat tires later we were ready to begin biking. I grew up biking in towns, my wife grew up on a ranch twenty miles from the nearest town. Yeah. Doesn't really prepare you for traffic much, does it?
(The Editor notes that, though she grew up away from people who try to mow others down with bumpers, she did have a very traumatic collision with a chipmunk, though the rodent recovered after showing it to her mom inside the house.)
All things considered, she really did quite well.
It was a ton of fun to be back on a bike again. About a week ago, our neighbors gave us a seat they weren't using and we were able to ride with our son. We went down to the bike trail that runs along the Yellowstone river. The first leg of the trip was great. A nice 3 mile stretch...no big hills...not a lot of traffic, and since we were moving the bugs were leaving us alone, except the one I swallowed. It wasn't my fault. He started it. My son has discovered that he really likes riding on the bike, so he was happy as well.
Then we got adventurous. At the end of the trail was a few paths that lead down to the river. I thought it'd be fun to bike those since we do have mountain bikes and I remembered trail biking as being a ton of fun when I was younger, and yet, I forgot how much fun riding a suspension-less bike over river cobbles could be. The boys are just now coming back out of hiding. I now know that trying to go up soft dirt banks with a two-year-old behind you is extremely difficult. Somehow I managed not to crash, though I did have to walk the bike up one section. My wife seemed to be doing better than I, but she had just one person on the bike.
(The Editor notes that she actually flipped backwards after hitting a huge rock on an incline, but shhhh. Don't tell Aaron.)
We got to the river just as the sun started to set.