September evening, Manhattan dinner date. I put on a dress and took the bike route that led to the Williamsburg Bridge. It was a refreshing post-summer night and I was listening to music and having a GREAT TIME.
The Williamsburg Bridge has completely separate paths for cyclists and pedestrians to cross. Pedestrians enter the bridge on the south side. Cyclists climb the ramp on the north side which is where I hustled my way up. I heard a train coming from behind and I tried to stay ahead of it. It is fun to race trains and I was having a GREAT TIME. I slowed down for the quick-left-followed-by-quick-right turn. And around the corner I saw a mother (I assume) and two young children in the bike lane. I would like to point out that they weren’t even walking, but just hanging out in the bike lane.
The mother watched from the north side. The boy–maybe nine–clung to the south side railing where he seemed all-absorbed in the glaring lights and thunderous sounds of the oncoming train. The girl–maybe six–was the one I worried about. She ran from one side of the bike lane to the other, oblivious, flailing.
I didn’t have time to get to my bell. I reached for my brakes. I yelled yo kids and I watched the girl like a hawk and when we met eyes she sheepishly sheltered under her mother’s shoulder and it seemed that all was well AND THEN. WITHOUT WARNING. The boy who had been still this whole time whipped around and ran across the bike lane just in time for me to hit him squarely in the chest. He fell to the ground. I yelped in horror. He popped right back up like some inflated play thing and ran to his mom and I got off my bike and looked from the boy to the mother to the boy to the mother. Are you okay? Are you okay? Yeah are you okay? Are you sure? Do you need anything?
The family settled into itself and I a stranger continued across the bridge at which point I realized something was not quite right with my bike–the front rack and basket were crooked.
This was a long time ago and shortly after I removed the basket. But I remember this story now, as I get a warped basket out of my closet to put it back on my bike.