Games I Play On My Bike

I am whizzing down Williamson Street on my bike, a red Felt that makes me want to pedal as fast as I can. The traffic is nearly bumper to bumper, inside most of the cars I see families clad in red, Badger fans going home. I cruise down the narrow passage between parked cars on my right and moving traffic on my left. My fingers wrap gently around the brakes, ready to squeeze if a parked driver opens his door or a moving vehicle creeps too close. I cruise through the red lights at Patterson and Brearly and set my sights on a Prius about ten cars ahead of me. I can pass him. Bikes rule, cars drool.

I gain on it steadily and see the Baldwin red light giving me my opportunity, but only if I can make it past the old Volvos and bike strollers coming out of the Willy Street Coop, parking lot. Hungry drivers dreaming of how to transform their local, organic, expensive produce do not always see bikes. I look ahead at the Prius, I know I can catch it. Head down, back straight, I shift to a lower gear so that each pedal stroke moves me as far along as possible.

Without a blinker, the Ford Explorer on my left makes a move to turn into the parking lot. I am in his blind spot and I either concede to the Prius, or get smashed between the Explorer and the cars parked on my right. I tighten my grip, the light ahead turns green and the Prius drives out of sight.

I search for my next opponent and set my sights on an empty wood crate trailer a block ahead of me, attached to car I can’t make out. I pedal with persistence, my eyes fixed on the back of the trailer. My quadriceps burn; my muscles are my motor. Soon, I am upon the trailer, which has stopped at a red light at Rogers Street. Victory! Slowing down so quickly shifts my balance and I reach out for the edge of the trailer. Immediately I recoil in reflex. I stare at the two hooves I nearly grabbed and follow the legs they are attached to. My gaze is fixed in the hollow of a gutted deer, only red and flies where entrails once were.

The light turns green and up ahead, I see a red Honda Civic I think I can catch.

Today, I am grateful for my shiny, red Felt racing bike.

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