I was sitting on my rusty, old bike on top of the largest, steepest drop that I had ever seen. The wind blew through my long hair, and I loved every second of it. It all led up to this; all of my preparation, all of my creativity. I released the brakes with my foot after trying a few times, and I began the descent.
I felt the wind throw dirt at my bare face as the scenery shot past me. As I was gathering speed I looked at the huge ramp that I had built myself. I thought back to the way it had all started.
In the twilight of another scorching summer’s day, I was looking for some action, something extreme, something radical. Something cool enough to keep me amazed until the boring routine of school began again. I had thought and thought, and I eventually came up with a brilliant solution. I could make the coolest, “awesomest” bike ramp that anyone had ever seen, and I could charge up it on my speedy little BMX, all summer’s long. After I had mulled it over long enough, it was time to start construction.
Over the next few days I began to sneak wood from a corner of the back fence. No one would notice and no one would care; that was my solution. The planks had rusty old nails and the wood was practically falling apart in my hands, but I took no notice. I hammered it together in the dead of night, and let no one at all in on my secret.
I had a ramp, but I needed a bike. I searched the shed, and eventually found my trusty little BMX. It had never let me down in any of my other exploits and I was ready to keep the streak going. As I wheeled it out from the shed I took no notice of the flat tyres or of the dodgy brakes. All I could see was me getting some serious air.
Then finally it came the big day. I was ready to bring out the ramp, and bring out the fun…well that’s what I thought anyway. I placed the ramp at the very end of the largest hill I could find, and rode up on the bike, again oblivious to its many faults.
It was as I was speeding down that I realised I was going too fast, and that my steering didn’t let me turn right. I began to panic. I needed release. I tried the break – nothing. There was only one way for me, and that was down. I swerved left, and then left again. The track was too steep. I couldn’t control the fall.
The ramp sped into focus, and I prayed my heart and soul into getting out alive. I hit the ramp. It had all led to this. My days of smuggling wood, my nights of hammering it together. They all led up to this. Or down to it, if you want to put it that way.
The bike leap through the air, over the ramp.
I’m through, I thought, Oh God, thank you. Thank you gravity, thank you physics-
Something was wrong, dreadfully wrong. Before I could figure out what it was, the bike flipped over and I landed on my back. I felt the blood trickle down my forehead, and my arm flop uselessly beside me. My vision swam before my eyes and everything went dark. I was out cold.
I was awoken in the doctor’s surgery, and the first thing I felt was the terrible pain of a broken arm, and the dull throbbing of my consequences in the back of my mind. My mum leaned over me and smiled.
“Don’t worry; everything is going to be all right.” She paused, “Well, that is, until we get home.” She had put on a fake smile and happily winked at me. I couldn’t wait to hear what my dad was going to say!
I ended up with a broken arm, twenty-three stitches across my chest and three stitches along my forehead. I also lost the rest of the summer holidays to my bedroom, where I was confined for the remaining three weeks. I closely examined my bike and had found its many faults and the massive rip through the back tyre.
Even nowadays I look back at my little stunt, and think of it as an event with two sides. On one, I was unlucky to have my tyres explode during the jump and be caught in the rusty nails sticking out of the wood.
But it was my own stupidity that really got me hurt. There was no need for a stupid helmet, I had told myself, I’ve got long enough hair that it will protect me against any brick or pavement. However, it was a pity this didn’t include myself.
On the flip side, I was lucky to have survived, with only a few stitches and only one broken limb. It could have easily been much worse. Around that time I remember a quote, a few good words of wisdom, that my grandfather told me when we went to visit him overseas.
“There’s a difference between luck and stupidity”, he would say, with that swaying withering look of his, “but it’s only as fine as an old man’s hair…” And that was before he went bald, so I guess he was right.