The scene opens on the beautiful Provo River. It’s a shallow, winding section of the river, with a bike trail by the side. Alex and I are biking peaceably, chatting about the scenery and the inherent evils of suburbia. An ice cream truck can be heard in the background, along with the delighted screams of children playing.
Enter Colby, my roommate. She is also on a date, looking terrified for her life on the back of a tandem bike. She doesn’t notice us as they pass by us, headed the other direction, but Alex and I laugh at her less-than thrilled expression. We will later discover that this is not because of the quality of the date, but because the tandem bike is travelling much faster than she would prefer. The ice cream truck passes again, playing its strange little tune.
We pass a deaf old woman walking an obese beagle, idly wondering if the fluffy white lap-dog running up ahead also belongs to this woman. Alex diagnoses her with diabetes, based on the swelling in her ankles. I decline to point out the size of my own ankles, which are far from delicate. We approach a bridge, and the underpass sends us quickly down a dip and around a bend. We merge, putting our bikes close to the low wall on the right, which keeps us from falling into the river, and I follow Alex through the tunnel.
Enter Paul, bicycle enthusiast and all-around speed-demon. He has never been on this trail before. Barreling down the trail toward us, Paul sports a black T-shirt, a collapsible pedal-bike, and a reckless abandon for human existence. As Paul rides under the bridge at about 20 mph, the blind spot created by the trail bend reveals a small, terrified me, moving rapidly toward my doom. Time stands still just long enough for both of us to turn handlebars – too late – and mouth the words, “Oh, no.” Paul’s left bike handlebar collides painfully with my left wrist, and the side of his head becomes acquainted with my jawbone. Chaos and pain reign supreme for a few moments.
Shortly after assessing the carnage, Paul rides off, Alex helps me put my shoe back on (which has been knocked off in all the kerfuffle), and we walk to the river. Recovering from the shock, I chill my wrist in the river while we wait for a friend to pick us up. The sound of the ice cream truck returns, sounding much less friendly.
While my friend Hillary drives me home, Alex rides my bike back to my apartment, hitches a ride back to the trail, rides his own bike home, brings me a smoothie and an ace bandage, rents a movie, and in general, saves the day. I, on the other hand, ice my wrist with some frozen fruit and sit like a lump on the couch. My left hand is broken (although we won’t know it until the following day), and I’m done with biking. ◊