Biker Babe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   The indigo sky exploding with suddenly minusculeballoons, a wave-like huzzah ran through the crowd. The faces above us - old,young, with early June tans, with Snow White complexions - all lost their tensevigil and sprang into Gumby-like calisthenics.

Graduationday.

Wrung out like an ink-splotched studio sponge, I was too tired toattend the graduation party. Revving my car's engine, I took one last bleary lookat my alma mater. While assessing my graduation gift options (Dad's offer), I sawa blob of garish copper out of the corner of my eye. Slowing, I managed not toslam right into a rickety Chevrolet driven by a teenager a bit too anxious tojump-start his release from academic manacles. Foot hitting the brakes, Isilently cursed as he rumbled off into the dark.

So on that long-awaitedindependence day, what did I ask for?

A bike.

Really, it wasn't thefirst option. Other gems - a new tennis racquet, an extended curfew, perhaps evena clandestine bellybutton piercing, glimmered in the summer sunlight. Yet, fed upto here with near-accidents in my sky-blue Corolla, a new mode of transportationwas sought. And found. But not without a measure of agony and suspense.

After schlepping around town, my father and I waited in the car as wewatched an elegant woman gleefully sample the bike we'd tracked down in theclassifieds.

We waited, and waited, as she wheeled around like a littlegirl on that resplendent purple bike.

My buns had not yet hit the seat,but I wanted that bike. Badly. So badly, the bike gods heard my loud exhalationof relief as the tall woman's husband coaxed her off the Ridge Rider mountainbike.

After a dizzying test ride around the cul-de-sac, the check waswritten and the two-wheeler shoved into my car.

The next few days werepure euphoria - a new biker's high had struck. Smirking at my forlorn Toy-ota, Ihitched on the Ridge Rider before embarking on new adventures - the health club,the movie theater, and even to work at the local Taco Bell, where we tout TombRaider kids' meals. How about Lara Croft, biker burrito babe?

Nonetheless,even my little brother's fantasy digitally animated heroine could not have beenprepared for my latest challenge. Wheeling my way to the public library with mybrother, Sam, I saw a blob of furry brown out of the corner of my eye. Slowing, Istared at the dog with heightening dread. It was, to be sure, a scene out of theWesterns with John Wayne glaring and taking aim at the bloke trembling creature.

Bang!

Well, not really.

Pedaling furiously, I prayed forthe nice doggie to cramp up as I realized with horror that I was headed straightfor an intersection at Mach 5. Three options loomed - get smushed by an SUV, hitthe curb, or provide an ex-tremely rare steak for a dog.

I chose thecurb.

Or rather, it chose me. Making a sharp right turn, I catapulted not20 feet into the air, but straight onto a church lawn. Staring at my pretzelledlegs, I cursed the makers of "E.T." who had inserted the notion ofbicyclic flight into my brain. And then I cursed the physics geniuses who hadfinally prevailed with their simpering logic. Meanwhile, Sam rolled along behind,panting and asking, "Hey, how'd you get on the grass?"

He hadn'tseen my crash at all.

At that moment, I was converted to one of those carpassengers, meek and docile behind leopard-print wheels and well-manicuredhoods.

I still ride my bike. Voraciously, even. In one moment of terror,though, I purchased an 8-inch dog bone which remains in my backpack for personalsafety. But as my nation's founders realized, independence day comes with aprice. And like E.T., sometimes I just want to phone home. Home, a vast greenplain void of canines. Then I remember suffragette Susan B. Anthony's pithyreflection: "I rejoice whenever I see a woman on wheels." Pushingwomen's rights to the hilt, visions of a staid Susan whupping male rears on myRidge Rider are comforting. As I stand bleeding, with visible skid marks and amoldy dog bone in my fist, I am still inspired to ride.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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