Over the Side

By Sally

When you think about bike riding you imagine riding down a beautiful path with beautiful trees of all colors surrounding you, or majestic mountains that take your breath away.

This is all really how I rode my bike around at home (Ohio) and here in Tucson. But it never compared to the ride I had on my trip to Hawaii. I visited the seven islands and did wonderful side tours that my memory recalls joyfully.

My daughter texted me of her bike ride she took on her vacation – a downhill ride. “It was sooo cool!” she explained, “Like a whole new level of riding.” This brought to my mind my ride in Hawaii – a 35 mile downhill ride in the rain along the side of a volcano. I mean what more can I say?

I arrived at the site and it was raining lightly. We waited a while (there was a group of us) and we decided to go for it anyway. There were no bike lanes, actually no lane at all, just a two lain road (and narrow lanes I might add) along the side of this volcano. The bikes were furnished and we were followed by a van carrying extra tires, etc, and passenger seats in case someone couldn’t or decided not to go all the way.

We headed down the road. It was winding and had a small curb along the side to kind of tell you where the road ended and the drop off began.

As I was going along nicely, enjoying my ride, a girl on her bike suddenly came up on the side of me, which caught my attention since we were to ride single file. “I can’t stop,” she called out to me. I called to her, trying to keep my eyes and concentration on my bike and position, “Put on your brakes.” “They don’t work,” she replied. Then she was gone.

The split second it took my attention away from my journey was all it took. My wheel started to get close to the curb. Trying to compensate for the distraction, it happened – my front wheel hit the curb, and off I went, over the side of the volcano. Flying through the air, I thought to myself, “How far am I going to go?” But as I flew through the air, I felt like I was being held up. Well, I landed on my back among the volcanic rock.

“Do I move?” I thought. “Should I just lay here?” As I wondered, I heard some people come running down the side to me.

“Are you okay?” the shouted. “Don’t move, we’re coming,” I heard. I tried to wiggle my toes and it worked, giving me some sense of gladness. Soon they helped me back up to the road and asked if I wanted to ride in the van the rest of the way.

Checking myself over, I decided to keep going. I wasn’t going to miss out on this experience at all.

We came upon a small, small village at the bottom and rested there, got some food (provided), and drinks.

When I returned to my room, I was surprised I had no aches and wasn’t hurting anywhere. I started to change my clothes, and checked in the mirror for bruises and scratches. Miraculously, there were none, not the slightest mark. I then knew the feeling I got when I was flying through the air was the angles holding me up and setting me down gently. There’s no other way that can explain nor bruises or scratches.

Would I do it again? Oh yeah! – if I was that age again. But now? I still would. But you know, sometimes your mind says, “Yeah,” but your body says, “I don’t think so.” So memories help to bring back joyous and adventurous times. Thank God for memories!

August 2014

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