This is a true story that happened to me when I was at the tender age of 14. I say this because even as I write this, it seems unbelievable. As I mentioned in a prior post “Banana-Seat Bikes and Penny Candy“, my childhood included many bicycling adventures.
One Saturday, I decided to ride my bike down to the bank and deposit some birthday cash I had received. Unfortunately, my banana-seat bike had a flat tire. I asked my younger brother if I could borrow his ten-speed and he agreed. He was quite a bit taller than I was, and since it was a boy’s bike, it had that annoying bar across the middle. This meant that for me to ride his bike, I had to tip it way over and sorta swing myself and the bike up to balance and go. The bank was only a mile or so away, so I figured I could manage.
All was well until I came to the last stop sign across from the bank. I came to a complete stop but never got off the bike. I just balanced at a stop for a moment, looked both ways and continued riding across the street. Now, the bank was located in a busy neighborhood retail area where everyone liked to go on the weekend. Imagine sidewalks with couples strolling with their dog, families with baby strollers, and lots of car traffic.
Suddenly, I see and hear police lights and sirens behind me. I pull over in front of the bank to see what is going on. The police officer pulls in behind me. I cannot believe it. He is pulling me over on a ten speed bike! He gets out of his car and asks to see my identification. Of course, being 14 years old, I have none and tell him so. He doesn’t believe me. Now, I am a young-looking 14-year-old. I was very petite and definitely not mature at this point in my life.
Meanwhile, his police lights are still on and the entire community around us has stopped to watch this unfold. I remember the looks on people’s faces–jaws dropped, wide eyes, no movement. I continue to explain that I am not old enough to have a license. He tells me that I should have gotten off my bike and walked it across the intersection. I am not even sure this is required by law. I apologize and say I will next time. He says that I will be the kind of driver that kills people. I say I will be more careful. He gets back in his car. I go inside the bank.
I watch him from the bank lobby. After he drives away, I immediately get back on my bike and head home. I never deposited the cash. I think my bicycling was much more dangerous on the way home because I was crying the whole time. I think of this humiliating situation and realize that being humbled can come to us in the most unexpected ways. And believe me, I never borrowed my brother’s bike again.