On my 9th birthday I was given the bestest gift any 9-year old boy could ever get: a yellow BMX bike. I was the envy of all kids on my street.
But what made the yellow BMX bike really unique was its yellow tyres.
Dude, they were awesome. Every skid mark I left around the house was... yellow! I was like Zorro - leaving my mark everywhere, and as we had dark brown bricks around the house my mark was clearly seen.
Unfortunately my parents didn't enjoy such artistic talent and threatened to "tan my backside" should I ever leave one more yellow mark around the house again.
That killed that fun.
But all was not lost.
I was blessed with living on a street that had a small hill - if I couldn't do any skid marks at home, I could do it on the street... so I did.
Initially I started with just small skids which began attracting all the kids in the neighbourhood and their bikes... eventually it turned into a competition.
"Let's see who can create the longest skid mark," said one kid.
And so the challenge was set.
My friend Xavier when first, he belted his bike as much as he could and by the time his skid had finished he had a left a mark of about 2 feet in length.
Fletcher went next and... barely even created a skid. Poor Fletch - he was the kid who could never quite get it all together but who tried nonetheless.
My brother soon followed and came up a little short with a 1.5 foot skiddie. Chris was next and similarly left a 2.5 foot skid like Xav. Soon it was Joel's turn and his 2.5 foot skid left everyone at a three-way tie.
I had to try and find a way to break the 2.5 foot barrier.
Hmm, what to do, what to do, I thought, I know! I'll start from the very top of the hill!
Everyone was having troubles reaching the 3 foot mark and I knew how I could be done... I'd start from the very top of the street. It was a dangerous move considering that there was a slight bend where for about a second or two you couldn't see whether there were any cars coming the other way!
So to alleviate my concern I stationed my friends at certain spots to signal me should a car be coming the other way.
"This is crazy," voiced one kid.
"He's not?" said another.
Trekking up to the top of the hill, I looked down at my inevitable victory. I didn't want to wait, so I threw up my left arm signalling my intention to go. Everyone checked for cars and once I got the all clear I jumped on and belted away.
Okay, this is it.
Pushing my bike down the hill I knew I had to gather a good solid speed, but I also knew that it couldn't go too fast as I had to navigate myself around the bend.
I was in good control.
Having now hit the bend I weaved my way around it like a real pro.
Man, I'm really flying!
On the last section I sped just that little bit extra before slamming on the brakes.
Initially everything was going great...
And then it happened - I got the speed wobbles. I thought that due to the speed I was going at maybe this wobble was a sign that I was breaking the sound barrier or something! But next thing I knew I was flung from my bike on to the remainder of the road.
The single yellow trail I had left on the hill soon followed with a couple of red ones.
The cheering turned to gasps.
I painfully stood up surveyed my bloodied hands and knees looked at my bent bike and then looked at the skid mark.
"Are you alright?" asked Joel the first to arrive at "the scene".
"Yeah, yeah," I winced eyeballing the skid mark.
Others soon arrived and everyone was concerned about my fall, but I was concerned more about how long my skid mark was.
I was patched up by mum (who wanted to take me to hospital, but I refused) and as soon as I could went back outside to survey how long the skid mark was: just a tad under 4 feet.
The yellow mark remainded for several weeks, until the first rain, other kids tried to match it, but none could ever do it - especially with the wobbly bit at the end.
That was my first recollection of ever falling off my bike... and as has been seen in here it certainly wasn't the last!
The Joys Of Fitness
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