Friday, March 9, 2012

An Extreme Sport

He was in his late 30’s and six feet tall wearing a tan jacket and slacks, a dark sweater and black tennis shoes. He stood, with his legs straddling his bicycle, in a driveway just back from the narrow sidewalk boarding Gough Street as it plunges steeply toward the bay.  

He glanced at me, giving me a bad-boy look, then he jumped the bike out into the street in front of my taxi and headed downhill. I was annoyed because I thought I’d have to slow down. There wasn’t room to go around him.
He stood up and started to peddle fast as he headed into next intersection and kept pumping his legs as he flew down the hill, easily doubling my speed of 15 or 20 miles per hour.
Fifty feet before next intersection at Broadway, the traffic light suddenly turned red. The rider jammed on his brakes. The bike skipped and jumped wildly as the front wheel twisted sideways and buckled spinning the man halfway around. He had a stunned expression on his face that quickly turned into terror. 
He didn’t have time to scream before he flew out into the street. His head smashed against the side of a mini-van breaking a plexiglass window. He hit with such force that his body bounced and flipped so that his head was facing back uphill as he settled motionless onto the street.

I don’t know how but I knew he wasn’t dead. A middle-aged man came over saying that he was a doctor. 

Suddenly the biker started to stand up, exposing the back of his head where more blood was seeping.

“Don't get up,” the doctor said helping him lay back down. “The ambulance is on the way.”

The man bolted up again and started walking jerkily in a circle with a desperate yet blank stare. The doctor gently pulled him down again.

As I drove off he was trying to get up.