We had my folks to dinner tonight so they could get their tent trailer back.  We spent a really nice evening chatting and eating dinner together, just the four of us and talk turned to bicycles.

I used my bike as my main transportation during the summer from about the age of 8 to around 18.  I have only ever owned Canadian Tire bikes, though they have gotten progressively nicer as I’ve aged.  The first I got at the age of seven (for my birthday, if I recall correctly).  I opened the bizarrely shaped package after cake and candles.  It was a metal widget about 8” long, curved on one end with a bolt and a sort of flanged metal piece at the other.  I had absolutely no idea what it was.  Turned out to be the kickstand for the bike that was hidden in the shed.

I got my second bike around 13.  I split the cost of it with my parents and got a Supercycle “Storm” in purple.  With a matching purple helmet.  I was not exactly stylish.  Eventually I bought a black helmet that was much less deserving of a beating-up.  That bike served me very, very well, though it was extremely heavy and I replaced nearly every part of it but the frame.  Seat post went first (I was too big for the bike by about 15) followed closely by pedals (plastic pedals don’t stand up to that kind of constant use).  The most dramatic replacement involved almost the whole front end.

Three o’clock in the morning is an unwise time to be cycling.  It is doubly unwise to be doing so at the age of 18 with two friends.  Trebly so to do so through road construction in the bad end of Kitchener, Ontario.  We had decided to call it a night (morning?) and were on our way back to north Waterloo.  Here is where we were:

Map picture

Here is where we were headed:

Map picture

Here is how far those are from each other:

Map picture

Making good time through the construction site, my friends booted along on the road as I rode the gravel path where a sidewalk would later be poured.  I thought the path rose up smoothly to meet the new sidewalk, sort of in this fashion: 
As it turned out:
was slightly more accurate.  I hit the | at full speed without even an attempt to lift my front wheel.  As I came to an abrupt halt, my rear wheel rose into the air and my full weight shifted onto my handlebars.  There was a long moment as I looked directly down at the fresh concrete where there was nothing I could do to forestall my fate.  I hung there and contemplated life and its brevity as my handlebars bent under me and I began to fall sideways.  Gravity re-asserted its regularly scheduled grip and I crashed down and to the side.

The final tally of that evening stood at: 1 pair of bent handlebars.  1 entirely deflated inner-tube (with a very, very large split, totally irreparable).  1 front wheel bent so far out of true that it wouldn’t roll at all.  $15 for a cab ride home (after 15 minutes’ walk, carrying my bike, in order to find a functional payphone).  When I awoke the next morning, I was forced to add a second inner-tube to my shopping list.  I managed to crash my front wheel so hard that my back wheel deflated.

everybody will be treated all the same