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Bipedalguy's Midnight Bike Ride
Author: Bipedalguy

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My legs were very jumpy as I lay in bed trying to sleep. For years I’d had this problem, caused by a disease called “Restless Leg Syndrome”. It’s an affliction which is only recently getting the publicity (or infamy) that it so well deserves. The legs just won’t settle down. The rest of the body wants to sleep, but the legs won’t have any part of it. They insist on walking or running, and that’s a problem when trying to sleep.

I soon was out of bed and doing the night walker routine, pacing the floors in desperation. I was ready for a change after years of this night walking garbage. I pulled my old bike out of the rubble in the basement. I only had to brush the dust from the seat and pump up the tires. It was 11:45 p.m. when I pushed the bike out of my basement, up a few concrete steps and into my back yard. What a great idea this was. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? I certainly needed the exercise.

It was a clear night, and just warm enough that I figured my pajamas would be adequate. I wheeled the bike to the end of my driveway, got on the bike and coasted down the driveway onto the road. The Restless Leg Syndrome symptoms had already subsided because I was no longer trying to relax. That’s how R.L.S. works.

It was 11:53 p.m. and I felt good when I started up a fairly long hill. Halfway up the hill I started to tire and I couldn’t continue in the sitting position. I had to stand on the pedals, and to increase the downward force on the pedals I had to pull upward on the handle bars. I was getting more and more tired, but I was now almost at the top and soon I could coast downhill. I figured it would take only a couple more good downward thrusts on the pedals while pulling upward on the handlebars to get me over the top.

It was o.k. until, because of my lifting, the handlebars pulled up and out of the fitting which held the assembly in place, leaving me holding a pair of handlebars which were completely adrift. This occurred just as I crested the hilltop and started my descent. If I had it to do over again I think I would have chosen to fall then and there. I would have avoided what was to follow.

I was headed downhill and picking up speed, still holding the disconnected handlebars which were now useless for steering or for steadying myself. I considered dropping the handlebars, but that’s where the brake levers were, and in my jaded perception the brakes were my best hope for survival. My hands were tightly gripping the taped hand grips and I couldn’t reach the brake levers without releasing my grip. I decided I would hold tight with my left hand as I carefully worked my right hand forward enough to get a grip on the brake lever. This wasn’t as easy as it sounds because with the handlebars adrift, I had lost the anchor point and reference normally provided by the handlebars which were now drifting up and down and back and forth, limited only by the slack in the brake cables. All this time I was picking up speed on my descent.

I finally was able to grip the brake lever which I squeezed as hard as I could. I had failed to consider one important detail. Squeezing the brake lever on the RIGHT side slowed the FRONT wheel. In fact it locked it up. I should have used the left brake lever. This would have allowed a more gradual slowdown without locking up the front wheel. BUT NO ! I had to use the RIGHT brake lever. With the front wheel locked and the handlebars adrift, and going downhill at quite a clip I flew headlong over the front wheel with the handlebars still in my hands. I must have gripped the brake lever even tighter in my panic, because the front wheel stayed in its fully locked state while the rest of the bike went up and over the front wheel in close pursuit of my sorry ass. I finally came to rest upside down on the pavement, and on my back still clutching the handlebars and still straddling the bike, which was on top of me. What a hassle!

It was 12:05 a.m. and there I was in considerable pain lying on the pavement wondering if I had any grave injuries. I took a little while trying to take stock of my condition.

I finally realized that I was in pretty bad shape, but I figured I would probably survive. The bike was still between my legs and I was still clutching the handlebars. In my now profoundly lucid state I realized that there was no further need for this desperate clutching, so I released my death grip on the handlebars and started separating myself from the remains of the bike. With some effort I cleared myself from the wreckage and I actually got to my feet. I dragged the bike off the roadway and into a wooded area near the side of the road. I left it there, figuring that I would come back later with my car, and take the bike to the dump.

It was 12:05 a.m. when I began my painful walk home. I must have been quite a sight. Imagine an old unshaven grey haired man half naked, half pajama clad, smeared with road filth, and bleeding while limping down the road with an intense, terrified facial expression and piercing eyes. That was a kind description of yours truly.

I was only about a mile from home when I heard the soft “whirr” of a police car siren. He’d been following me slowly at a reasonable distance with his lights off so he would have a little time to observe my behavior as I stumbled along. When he turned on his headlights I somehow guessed that he wanted to talk to me. When he pulled up beside me he seemed to be sizing me up as he beheld my woeful appearance. I didn’t know this at the time, but it turned out that he was responding to a report from one of the residents who said that after hearing some obviously violent activity in the street she saw one man dragging another man into the woods near the side of the road. She said that the man had left the scene, assuming that he had hidden the body in the woods. I certainly looked like I had been in a desperate fight

The police officer asked what I was doing, stalking around a quiet neighborhood, half naked in the dark at this hour. He was obviously expecting some implausible story.

I still didn’t know about the woman’s report to the police regarding the suspected murder. Of course my story seemed perfectly reasonable to me.

I answered the officer’s question by telling him that I was out for a bike ride, but with no bike in evidence he interrupted me and said “sure you were”. I thought I noticed a faint note of sarcasm in his tone. He then offered to take me down to the station to finish my story. I realized that this wasn’t exactly an offer. At this point I was at the end of my rope with all that had happened that night. I considered my options, then looked at my watch. It was 12:05 a.m. Great! On top of all this, my watch has stopped. Then I suspect that the combination of all the unfortunate events which I had experienced in the last few minutes must have put me “over the edge”, because at that point I said to the officer “sure, why not?” Let’s go down to the station! It should be fun! That’s when he opened the rear door and helped me into the cruiser. At that point I was very compliant to any orders or suggestions. I felt that everything would be o.k. now. We had a nice drive to the police station.

------- Author's Notes -------

I haven't yet decided whether or not I shall write another chapter for this story.
It might be worth the effort to provide something on what happens at the police station.
I have a few thoughts on the subject.

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Comments on this poem/writing:

shiloh (74.65.121.49) -- Monday, July 28 2008, 04:14 pm

and when you arrived...

of course, they asked you for your social security number, and naturally, you said, "567-68-0515," that number being Richard Nixon's... but everyone ever arrested due to "campus unrest" or "student demonstrations" back in the 60s nearly always furnished that number to the officers - the number was in restroom stalls, on bulletin boards, all over the LSU campus, so it must have been everywhere else, as well. (it used to be very upsetting to Dick Nixon, but there was nothing they could do, other than try to file charges against every kid they were booking for not cooperating with the police - the kids weren't trying to use the number for personal gain, so they couldn't do much.)
Bipedalguy (65.96.237.196) -- Wednesday, July 30 2008, 10:14 pm

No, The timing wasn't right for that.

This ficticious bike ride had to have been in the last few years, because I hadn't adopted the pen name "Bipedalguy" until well into this century, and with "Bipedalguy" in the story title, it had to have been written since the adoption of that pen name. The polititian you refer to was gone before the time frame of my story. I never would have remembered that S.S.N. anyway. I can barely remember my own S.S.N. By the way, is it wednesday?
Bipe
shiloh (74.65.121.49) -- Wednesday, July 30 2008, 10:56 pm

no...

it's april. or is it noon? I can never remember what flavor it should be.
Bipedalguy (65.96.237.196) -- Wednesday, July 30 2008, 11:39 pm

Well?

What did you think of the Bike ride?
shiloh (74.65.121.49) -- Thursday, July 31 2008, 01:50 am

what i think...

i would compare it to the writing of the novelist, Dean Koontz, and i would buy the book by you, and i await the next installment. So hurry up! and i mean it about the comparison.
Bipedalguy (65.96.237.196) -- Thursday, July 31 2008, 02:53 am

Thanks Shiloh. I'm honored.

I didn't know much about Dean Koontz, but I just Googled him, and found an account of an interview with D.K. He is a character! I appreciate his communicating style, and he's a profoundly successful writer. Thanks for comparing my writing to his.
You have made my day.
Terrye* (67.187.237.233) -- Thursday, July 31 2008, 12:54 pm

20 plus LONG minutes..

very creative.
when i got to the part ( headed downhill and picking up speed, still holding the disconnected handlebars)i found myself wrinklin' my nose and sealed my eyes shut, all i could imagine was the horror scenario of goin' down hill in a rapid motion..ay ya yay..with out the security of attached handlebars. thats like no safety belt. not to be quip, but, looks like it took the edge off the R.L.S .i do hope you write another chapter..i would like to read that your character comes walkin' out the police station a winner/hero. Kewel write!!!
Bipedalguy (65.96.237.196) -- Friday, August 1 2008, 03:32 am

Thanks Terrye*

I'm glad you liked this story. Thanks for the encouragement. I'm trying to think of how to continue the story.
Bipe
 
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