Braking Away


I had been telling Daniel we would go on a bike ride “soon” for a couple of weeks.  Daniel would usually remember my promise when torrential rain was pouring down.  However, the clouds finally parted over the weekend.  Meka was out with a friend and we were out of Diet Pepsi.  I told Daniel to get dressed.  We would take a trip to the gas station.  The round trip is less than three miles.  I took my bike down off the wall in the garage and Daniel opened the door.  Waves of heat and humidity poured in.  I hadn’t planned on that.  I also didn’t plan on having a bent brake caliper.  My back tire hummed as the one of the pads rubbed against the rim.

Daniel wanted to show me the “secret way” to the gas station.  He had discovered it when he made an unauthorized visit a couple of months ago.  First, we had to ride past all the other things he had discovered.  There was a house succumbed to foreclosure; the grass growing two feet high in the yard.  We passed the Farm and Fleet.  Through a gap in the houses near the end of the subdivision, we could see some light industrial buildings in the distance (his words, not mine; Daniel is a big fan of Sim City).

The problem was none of these sights were anywhere near the gas station.  I turned us around and we pedaled a more direct route to the Road Ranger.  The sweat was dripping down from hair into my eyes, making it hard for me to see.  The last quarter mile was a steep incline where the road rises from the pit dug by the developers up to the natural level of the land.  I half rode, half dragged my bicycle with its whining back wheel up to the parking lot of the gas station.

I bought a pop for each of us.  Daniel had some money burning a hole in his pocket.  He spent his cash on a bag of candy ranging from sour to super-sour.  The Road Ranger has a wide sidewalk to nowhere on the side of the building; perfect for parking and sitting in the grass.  After forty-four ounces of pop and a few minutes rest, I was ready to head home.  Daniel took the lead again and led me down a “short cut” he remembered from his travels.  I should have known better…

An hour later we stumbled into the house and collapsed on the couch.  I was hot, tired and we still didn’t have anything to drink at home.  Luckily, Meka got back only a few minutes after we did and she had picked me up a Diet Pepsi when she stopped to get gas.

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