For all of you who have read my true story, The Fear for a Friend, this is another true story stashed in my memories that also happened with my friend, Andy Hampton. This time however, I was the one to pay the consequences.
“Come on, just do it!” urged my friend, Andy, as he rested atop the seat of his bike. “It’ll be fun!”
“I bet it would be,” I agreed, sitting on my own bike with a firm grip on the rubber handlebars. My left foot was resting upon the wooden bridge below me with my right still on the black pedal.
It was a clear, sunny weekend on Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas on which I had decided to go to The Lion Park with my friend Andy Hampton. The park was to the left of my house and was actually three parks in one, each with a “recommended age”. There was a basketball court in the back end, near the restroom facility, the water fountains, and the giant pyramid chapel, while the park recommended for ages twelve and up was in front of it. This park included high tunnels, swing sets, slides, and poles to explore through with a unique wooden model of a one-room house in the middle of the tunnels, large enough to fit up to seven kids. In the middle of The Lion Park, rested a shaded black top that protected many picnic tables from the harsh, Texas sun. This area was very popular for birthday parties and other events. Beside the black top rested a quaint sand pit beside a much smaller, octagonal black top that covered three picnic tables. On the other side of the park was the play area recommended for ages five to eleven which included play telephone booths, swing sets, a shaky bridge, a pole and a slide. Separating two of the three play areas was a baby swing set. On the other side of the swing set was the final play area that was recommended for ages one to four years old. This play area was the newest with small huts, a mini slide, a shaky bridge, and a ramp. Cutting through the center of the play area was a four-cart model train that enabled many children to play on.
Because of the water fountain that was mounted across from the train play area, this park was often referred to as The Lion Park by all the neighbors who lived around it, even though the source for its name no longer stands there. Although it may be bare now, a detailed plastic lion that rested on its haunches with its mouth wide enough to allow somebody to place their head in to drink the water that shot from its throat once covered the water fountain. This had been removed when I was about five years old, yet the name never left.
As Andy rested upon the shaky bridge of the train play area, he held his bike up, waiting for me to do it. Andy Hampton was the same age and grade as me and was often hanging out with me after school. He attempted and accomplished many dangerous and ridiculous stunts that I also joined in, one which caused him to get hit by a car, (check out The Fear for a Friend for more information on that topic,) yet always mentioned that he bore no regrets and actually liked the pain. He was a true daredevil at heart and enjoyed the sheer thrill of adventure.
I held my bike up while aiming down the ramp that stretched out before me, the nervous feeling within me growing. I wanted to ride down the wooden ramp as Andy was daring me to, yet a few fears held me back. There were white pebbles that filled the play area and were not comfortable to land on, which I had found out before, and I knew that I would crash into them no matter what. The ramp was made of wooden planks that were laid at an angle, reaching to the platform on which I was now on. As the ramp reached the ground, it stopped about three inches up, not touching the rocks beneath it. With metal hand rails branching from the sides, it supplied extra stability to any child trying to climb it and gave extra balance when climbing onto the ramp as each handle rail from each side curled inwards to supply a firm grip when pulling oneself up. It was a fully stable ramp, yet it wasn’t made for bikes.
I learned this the hard way…
“Come on, it’ll be easy!” continued Andy.
“Yeah, I don’t think it will be that difficult,” I agreed once more. I began to move my bike forward and backwards as I leaned against the black handlebars.
“Unless you’re too scared,” he mocked, noticing the fear that I emitted.
“No, I’m not exactly afraid,” I reasoned. “I am just planning it out.” As I fibbed to my friend, I did speak some truth. I logically tried to plan out what would happen when I pushed myself from the platform down the ramp. Every time I thought it through, it didn’t look pretty. The worse that could happen, I thought, was a few scratches or a bloody knee. The consequences weren’t too bad. “Okay,” I announced as I prepared myself for the stunt. I sat up in my seat with my back straight with pride. “I’m going to do it!” I carefully lined my bike tires down what I thought to be the center of the ramp, hoping that my mental measurements were correct as I felt the last sweep of worry leave me, now replaced with a new sense of bravery.
The instant I pushed from the platform, I knew that something wasn’t right. I whizzed down the ramp that bumped and jolted me against my bicycle seat, bringing an exuberant amount of pain to the lower half of my body, just before I noticed the problem. As the handlebars of my bike drew closer to the end of the ramp, I found that they protruded far enough that they would catch on the railing when I reached the bottom. Although all of these events happened within less than a second, many thoughts were able to pass through my mind within their short boundary.
I found myself to be correct when my bike’s handlebars snagged on the railing at the bottom of the ramp, flipping the bike tire over the front as the momentum carried it forward. I grasped the handles tightly as I found my world being thrown upside down, flinging me into the white stones that littered the play area’s ground. There was a crashing sound along with a blunt thud as I flipped over the front end of my bike, still seated within its sit. After I had realized what had happened, I stood from my spot on the ground with a sharp pain striking through my entire body. “Woah,” I remember my first words clearly. I was a little dazed as I watched Andy jump from the shaky bridge, roaring with laughter. “That was pretty cool!” I smiled, my friend running up to me.
“That was awesome!” he yelled between laughs. “You were like flipping and everything!”
“I kind of hurt though,” I stated as I grasped my lower legs. I found my knees to be scraped with blood seeping from underneath the skin that had been scraped away. I admit that the stunt had been fun and I had actually enjoyed flipping over my handlebars, but it had hurt and the pain started to sweep in slowly. “Oh,” I groaned when an ache suddenly struck my stomach. I realized that the handlebars had jabbed into my stomach as I had flown over them, and now began to regret my stunt.
Just then, I turned to see the damage I had done to my bike. The black metal that held the front wheel in place was twisted about with the handlebars, still tangled with the railing and the entire bike was still lying upside down from the crash. It took me a while to twist my bike from the ramp that held it within its clutches, and I was struck with fear as I took note of the wreckage. I flipped my bike to stand on its wheels and dragged it from the rocks to the sidewalk, finding it very difficult to move. The front wheel was twisted sideways as the chains that turned the bike’s wheels were tangled and messed up. I glanced to Andy who was still laughing and told him of the damage from my bike. “My parents are going to kill me!” I remember stating before turning to leave the park.
Although I did not live far from the park, it was extremely difficult to move my bike with no steering and a sideways tire. I had twisted the metal that held the wheel to aim it forward, yet it still moved in different directions as I walked and my knees and stomach were still in great discomfort. As blood dripped down my legs, I remember Andy walking home with me, talking with me of how he was always punished after accomplishing a stunt, yet he never regretted it. I was unsure whether or not I regretted my task.
From here, I shall end my story for I do not remember speaking with my father in detail. I do remember that I was grounded for quite a while and we had to dispose of my useless bike. My punishment along with my temporary suspension was when I was given a new bike. This new transportation device was an embarrassment as its white wheels and tires matched with the pink and purple of the seat and handlebars. Rainbow tassels hung from the ends of the handlebars with a small pink backpack and a purple water bottle was clipped underneath the seat. My parents have a cruel way of punishing me…
I can tell you that I did not ride my bike as often afterwards, and I missed my awesome black bike. 🙁 Oh well. I find that that is what I deserved for listening to a daredevil.