I took a swift right on 23rd, speeding up and anticipating that a car would catch up. In front of me, the sun was setting and the sky was red. “Red at night, sailor’s delight,” I whispered to myself while breathing hard as I rolled across the street.
My lights—the one on my helmet and my bike—bounced up and down the street. Its white light brightened the creeping darkness. Then I missed it and my wheel ran directly into a broken piece of the road. One that was more vertical than horizontal. My eyes widened and I teetered on my bike, fearful of the incoming traffic that was already zooming at the green light.
To my surprise, I held my balance and continued down the road.
I wondered if I had a heart problem, would I be incapable of telling my body that it was going to be okay? Like a previous roommate who suffered in an adjacent room after the last big earthquake? But I was healthy even with my seasonal hay fever and myopia. I lived a rather uneventful healthy life. Forgetting to be thankful, because this is my normal.
And so I rode on with no care.
At the light, I stopped with my feet on the ground. When it turned, I pedaled slowly to get to a comfortable speed. A young man crossed the street from the opposite direction. He was dressed in black clothing. As I huffed across the intersection, he yelled, “Need a push?”
“Huh?” I said, not understanding.
“Need a push?” he repeated.
I rolled my eyes and pedaled quickly. “Only if you can catch up,” I yelled back, wondering how fast I could pedal.
And I sped for 2 more blocks until I hit the next light, wondering if he was coming up to push me.