When I was 12, my family went from living on a ranch in Arizona, to living in the city in Washington State. Well, we lived in a little neighborhood about 5 blocks or so from Main Street, which pretty much summed up the whole little town.
Anyway, our main source of transportation around town consisted of our bicycles. My sisters and I rode and rode and rode our bikes everywhere. Sometimes we would double up on a bike so we could get places faster; one person would either ride on the handlebars (pretty disastrous if you crashed on the pavement) or the second person would sit on the seat as the main person stood and pedaled. I do remember having a bike that had a bar over the back tire that you could strap a bag to or something. Sometimes I placed one of my little sisters across it, and it worked out rather nicely.
There were times, however, when our creative sides took over. Especially when we were playing with friends. As a gentle reminder, this was long before bike helmets were considered necessary, or were even considered at all.
One day, my friend came over to my house with a scooter. Ya know, the kind that you stood on like a skateboard, and it had a handle coming up for you to hold on to as you zipped across town, pushing yourself along with one foot. It was pretty old and wobbly, and definitely didn't have any tricks to it. It didn't even have an option to brake.
With that, my friend wanted to go around town with me, but she got tired easily and knew she couldn't keep up on her scooter, what with my mad biking skills. So one of us got the clever idea to tie a 30 foot rope to the back of my bike...the other end being tied to the handle of the scooter. We were brilliant. Now she could ride her scooter with ease, being pulled along as I pedaled for the both of us.
We rode around the neighborhood a bit, getting familiar with the tug and pull that the scooter presented. All was good, except that I wanted a turn on the scooter. My friend obliged, and because we had already practiced the fine art of scooter pulling, we took off towards Main Street, her riding my bike, with me coasting happily behind, on the scooter.
About halfway down the street towards Main Street, the road dips down into a pretty steep hill. It's not a problem for a bike. In fact, it's very fun to tear down the hill in full speed, enjoying all the potholes and divots that an old neglected street boasts. We know to stay away from all islands of loose gravel, as well as keep out ears perked for the sound of a car behind us. We had traveled that road many times on our bikes. Why should things be so different while towing a scooter?
We approached the hill, and with gleeful anticipation of the speed that awaited us on the other side of the hill, I helped increase our momentum by pumping my foot across the pavement, grinning like a Cheshire Cat the whole time. Man. This was gonna be good.
My friend reached the top first, and I felt the pull on the rope as she started to descend the hill. I stopped pumping my foot, and prepared myself for the ride of my life. Oh, it was splendid!! The thrill of balancing on one little metal slab, feeling the tiny little wheels roaring underneath, holding strong to the handlebars, and watching my friend ahead of me on my bike cruising on just as fast was amazing. But wait...why was she braking? We were barely leveling off from the hill and still had at least a block of good coasting coming to us. Uh oh!!
She was stopped. I mean, solidly stopped!! She looked back at me with a exhilarated smile on her face. She saw my eyes widen. The rope that was once taunt, sagged miserably between us. I was going too fast to do anything but hold on tight. Within a fraction of a second, she realized her mistake, but it was too late. I quickly covered the distance between us, the long rope dragging across the ground like a limp snake.
When we got even with each other, time seemed to stand still for just a moment. She looked at me. I looked at her. We both knew what was coming, and with an emotional scream full of terror, I shot past her stationary self ,which was still straddling the bike, going at least 30 mph.
About two seconds later, as the slack on the rope grew taunt once again, I felt the scooter jerk back with such force, that I had no choice but to let go of the handles that once promised my safety, and I flew forward, through the air, like Superman taking his first flying lesson. It was disgraceful.
At the other end of the rope, my friend felt the same forceful tug of the rope, which was tied to the back of the bike, and with no gentleness, she got jerked around, the bike getting pulled out from underneath her, and she landed in a heap atop the middle of the road.
For any onlookers, you would think that our wipe out would have caused great injury to us. However, the moans and groans from our lips were replaced with a fit of hysterical laughter, for in the moment that we passed each other, my friend completely stopped, with me still filled with inertia and no possibility of braking, the looks on our faces were so priceless, it was impossible not to burst into uncontrollable laughter.
We rolled ourselves to the side of the road, bruises evident, all the while not being able to stop laughing. We must have stayed there laughing for half an hour before we finally walked our bruised and bleeding selves back up the hill to my house. My bike and her scooter, sadly, never crossed paths again, thus ending their short love affair made possible by a 30 foot rope. But it lives on in my mind. It is one of the funnest memories of my life.