I've had four bikes in the three years I've lived in New Orleans
. I had three near accidents on the same bike, and I was finally hit by a car on the one I bought at a pawn shop
(which I label the Big Mac
, since it was painted bawdy hues of red and yellow ) after that one was stolen. They've all been stolen
, except the Big Mac, which still sleeps in the next room, along with all the other stuff I no longer use.
Despite the odds of keeping a bike in this city for the cost of a nice one without it being stolen, I intend to get another one soon. This is a bicycle city , especially the French Quarter, in that most places of interest can be covered on a bike by a rider with mild endurance for maneuvering potholes, broken bottles, oblivious motorists, and the acceptance that despite your population, there is nowhere in the road clearly marked for you .
Big Mac is cursed, I've decided. Cursed in that it came back to me despite my efforts to give it away. I left it with an old roommate to settle a phone bill when I moved out; our mutual friend, Paul inherited it, then left it with me when he moved back home. I gave it to my most recent roommate, who promptly left it with me when she moved up North . Cursed in that it left me a scar .
I was riding home from Paul's house at 2am the night we had agreed to "just be friends" . It was a long night, and our houses were at a considerable distance, and my front tire was rapidly going flat (see Tuffies). I stupidly tried to run a red light and was broad sided by a large sedan that was, thankfully, slowing down to try to avoid increased momentum , which would have thrown me further from my bike than I was.
All he did was knock me over. I landed on a few points: left shoulder, chin, eyebrow, forehead. I tasted gravel. My face went numb. Blood came out of my nose in a thin stream. Nothing hurt right away.
I was only a block shy of home , but I couldn't ride my bike. All he hit was my pedal , bending it back into the frame. I wanted to just pick up and keep going; my pride was enough to muffle my mouth's tendency to assume that the car is at fault, since it usually is. But this time I had to rely on someone.
He was nice enough to put my bike in the trunk of his car and give me a ride home. Once I got there, I called Paul and woke him up to tell him what had happened . I don't know why. I just figured since we were both prone to scrapes from our reckless riding , he'd want to know.
That was the closest thing I've ever gotten to a black eye . My eyebrow was bruised and I had a split lip and a scab under my chin, a square scar now. I looked at myself in the mirror a lot until it healed, sickly relishing that for all my stupid acts, I was alive. And I would live to bike again.
Which is what I intend to do, now and always.