The Bicycle Bunny Hop
Two summers ago, my wife Courtney and I bought brand new bicycles to get into better shape. We rode them everywhere the first few months and thought of ourselves as bicycling experts. We rode to the grocery store if we needed milk, to the park if we wanted to relax, and to restaurants to eat. On several occasions we would pack them on the back of her Civic Coupe and take them to Downtown Savannah, rushing through crowds of people, dodging car doors and drunken pedestrians. The bikes, for us, became more than a way to exercise; they became a common hobby that we could share. They gave us personal time with each other in a society controlled by cellphones, tablets, and Facebook.
One summer day we hauled them to River Street, in the heart of Downtown Savannah. River Street is appropriately named for the cobblestone street, lined with old railroad tracks that parallels the Savannah River. We had a few beers at the local Wild Wings restaurant and thought we could brave the cobblestone roadway. We eagerly rode through crowds of people, alternating between following and leading. We reached the street and as usual, the sidewalks were filled with onlookers, shoppers, and more drunken pedestrians. We steered our bicycles onto the cobblestone and immediately regretted the decision. The impact from the cobblestone was enough to make us almost bounce off the seats, and on several occasions the handlebars would turn at weird angles when the front time ran between two stones. It was a test of our bicycling expertise. I was leading and made it halfway down the strip when I heard Courtney making a grunting sound behind me. I looked back to see that her front tire was in between a railroad track and some cobblestones. The bike was leaning over to the right side, bending her knee at an odd angle. I stopped pedaling and ran to her, letting my bicycle fall to the ground. She was okay and only needed some help getting the bike upright again, but she was embarrassed and didn’t want to ride anymore. There were people on the sidewalk pointing towards us, laughing, and one guy decided he would shout out to whoever was listening, that she had wrecked the bicycle. She became redder by the minute.
We pulled the bicycles off the street and parked them near a set of steps that lead down to a walkway by the river. She was telling me how her front tire got stuck and caused the bike to topple and how embarrassed she was. While listening to her I thought of different ways to make her feel better. I finally devised a plan and pointed towards the steps, leading to the walkway, and told her I was going to “bunny hop” down them. I explained to her that a “bunny hop” would consist of me jumping the whole bike down the stairs, using only my body weight and forward momentum. Knowing how clumsy I was, she said it wasn’t a great idea. I had to do this for her because I was scared that she would lose interest in the bike adventures that we were having and we would sink back into Facebook dates and Netflix marathons.
I lined my bike up with the stairs and readied myself mentally. To this point in my life, I had never bunny hopped down or up anything. This was definitely going to make her feel better or kill me. I took off. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a man seated on a ledge near the stairs and saw him looking to see how the jump would end. I rode like the wind towards the steps and bunny hopped off the top. In midair, I noticed I had no clue what I was doing and that the front tire of the bike was pointing down. I braced myself for impact which occurred a mere second later. The front tire crashed into the ground, toppling the whole bike forward while throwing me a few feet away. The bicycle came to rest beside me and I immediately felt pain coursing through my body at different points.
I heard two things once I regained my composure, Courtney laughing, and the seated guy saying “Oh my God, are you okay?” Courtney rushed to my side, still giggling and checking me out to make sure nothing was broken. I asked her if she was still embarrassed and received my answer in the form of a kiss. No one was around to see the spectacle except Courtney and the guy on the ledge, but I had been happy with the outcome because I changed her mood and how she felt about our time together. We would go on to have more biking adventures and many more falls and bruises but each time we were together. Our lives have moved forward and now the bicycles hang in the garage, waiting for a time when we aren’t so busy with work, school, and taking care of my ten month ole daughter, Kendall. But when that day comes, I will dust the bikes off and teach Kendall how to ride, have adventures, and understand, like her mother, that no matter what happens in life I will find a way to make it better, even if it kills me.