To Bike

January 21, 2011
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I was always a step behind. Whether it be the next generation smart phone or entertainment console, it was never an obligation for me to keep up with competition. Partially because saving my money is more satisfying, and partially because I'm a tad too lazy to get up in the first place. My stone age phone and outdated PlayStation 2 do a fine job at keeping me entertained. What does its job already need not be replaced.

It's happened more than once. One friend will feel the necessity to bring something expensive to school for the sake of feeding a hungry ego.

“Wow!” and “Lucky!” and “I hate you,” are the predicted results. Following after though, comes the expected, “Dude, you must be rich!” comment. Hearing it all makes me cringe.

“So you're only rich when you've spent all your money away, right?” I'd burst.

I drilled this concept into everyone I knew, but I would only get blank stares in return. It's conclusive evidence that there is a correlation between the amount of times I've said that any how many friends I currently have left.

Back in elementary school, a buddy of mine used drop by my house every weekend or so. One day I remember him strutting out of his van with a big grin on his face. The trunk popped open, and his mom pulled out a shiny new bike. It awe struck me from the start; I'd never seen anything like it. I glanced at my old, tarred up scooter, and looked back at his flashy bike.

“I must have it,” I told myself.

Days following, I pleaded to my mom for a bike. It wasn't hard to persuade her: If he had a bike, why shouldn't I? Much to my surprise, she gave in quickly, and within a week, I was rolling cool with a set of four wheels.

Biking for leisure outside quickly became a new hobby of mine. I never really knew where to go or what to do. I just rode up and down my culdesac and stayed amused by singing songs to myself. Occasionally, I'd peer down my street into the unknown, and wonder where it would take me. After my best friend moved away, I found myself biking alone again. No one else I knew had a bike at the time, except for this older boy who lived across the street from me. Early in the morning, I would on occasion spot him riding his bike to high school.

“You see that kid,” my mom said, “He has to ride his bike to school every day. Even in the rain and cold!”

“Yes, I know.”

“And in the mean time, I have to get up every morning and drive your lazy ass to school.”

“Yeah? So what are you trying to say?”

“Well, how come you're not riding your bike to school?”

“I didn't know that I-”

“I guess it's time you started then, huh?”

I didn't know what to think. I rode my bike around the neighborhood because I was bored, not because I was forced to. Now I was required to ride it to a place I despise, park it in a cage, and hope it's still intact six hours later.

The first few days were terrifying. Apart from hardly ever going outside my neighborhood previous to this, it was the traffic, drowsiness, and cold that set me off. I lived maybe a little under a mile from the school, so the ride to and from wasn't too exhausting or time consuming.

By the time freshman year started for high school, I was so experienced in biking that it became my main source of transportation. By exploring all locations around my neighborhood, I have found plenty of fast food restaurants, grocery stores, and friends who live a lot closer than I thought. By taking band the first year of high school, I became reacquainted with many of those I used to know along with getting to know the upperclassmen.

My best buddy at this time had to be a clarinet player I knew back in middle school. His name was Jesse, and coincidentally, he had a bike! He lived in an apartment complex not far from my house, so we began meeting up before school on our bikes.

The leader of the trumpet section for band was a sophomore named, David, noticed that Jesse and I had bikes. He talked a lot about biking up in the mountains and in these tunnel systems. Jesse and I overheard and couldn't help but ask, “What tunnels?” The way David portrayed the tunnels made it sound as if it were cave. In a way, it was like a cave, just smellier.

Sometime in April of 2010, David had scheduled a day that Jesse and I would meet up with him to go experience these tunnels he was talking about. He lived in Summerline apparently, so we ended up biking a few miles and met up with him at the local library. The bike ride was all uphill. Jesse and I were short of breath due to the fact that we had generic bikes, unlike David who had with him a mountain bike. We came up to this large trail of dirt along with a fence. I looked past our location and spotted construction vehicles. David turned around with a smile and said, “Okay, the tunnel is just below us, we just gotta jump this fence.” After a long struggle getting our bikes up a giant fence, David took us to what looked like a giant skate park. As David and Jesse were driving up and down the ramps like it was nothing, I just sat at the top of the ledge, looking down at how steep the drop is. Eventually, I got the courage to speed down, and once we all settled down, David pointed towards this dark tunnel next to us.

David took lead and Jesse followed behind me. As we passed through the entrance, I couldn't help notice how dark it got. It got so dark I couldn't even see my hand if I put it right to my face. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. As we rode deeper in the tunnel, it became noticeably wet and dark. The darkness is what alarmed me, besides the flashlight David had with him, it was absolutely pitch black. It became hard to breath, and keeping up with David became a struggle. As we continued, I couldn't help notice points to the left and right of me where the tunnel drops down even lower. Knowing if I didn't keep on the trail even added more fear to the situation. After twenty minutes into the ride, David announces that we should be coming up upon the exit. When the light of day breaks through the tunnel, we all come upon a solid gate, bolted down by huge screws. David just shrugs it off and says with ease, “Looks like we'll have to go back!” Jesse and I gave out a large sigh in distress. Like a car ride, the way back wasn't as bad. Upon leaving the tunnel system, I wouldn’t mind giving that experience another go.

Through out spring time and summer, there were several of these experiences. They were short lived, but something I can look back and say I actually had a good time doing. As I went on to sophomore year, Jesse and David had lost interest in seeing each me because I left band. I went on to biking to and from school again. Jesse quit biking and David found himself a car.

Being the only kid amongst my friends who actually biked again was actually a nice feeling. I could go everywhere, pick up something, and still have time to meet others at the park. When I wasn't doing something, I often went bike riding just to get outside. I did this many times during the summer. Bike riding became a way to take a breather from the tasks of daily life. All I needed were a pair of headphones, an empty stomach, and a general idea of where I was going, and I could be out for hours without being with a single soul.

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