Nathanial Garrod

From the Archive: The Bike Ride

Hi from me in the present! I was going through my archives of former blogs, reading writing from me in the past. I found this piece and was surprised that all this happened ten years ago. I thought I would copy and share as a “from the archive,” piece. One of the things that really got me about this was how supportive my friends were in comments about my writing. Looking back, I definitely remember this being good, but also see this as not particularly spectacular compared to how much my writing has grown since then.

This photo was taken on a trip a few weeks before I wrote this post, and is one of the only photos I can find of myself from this time frame.

Midnight: I shut my computer, hoist my self into bed and bury myself under the blankets. Instantly, I fall asleep.

I’m riding my bicycle around the Sonoma plaza. It’s time to go. I cross Napa street. As I’m almost across, a vehicle screeches to s stop as it hits me, knocking me off my bike. The heat is immense. I think I’m dead.

I wake up, roll over, and fall back to sleep.

I’m riding my bike again. This time it’s just from the horseshoe at the plaza. I cross Napa Street. A truck screeches to a stop. I feel the heat of the engine, then the heat of the asphalt. I’m dead. Again.

I wake up, roll over, and fall back asleep..

I’m crossing Napa Streets. A van screeches to a stop. It’s too late, I’ve been knocked off my bike.

I wake up, panicking. I don’t know what this means, or how to avoid it. Perhaps I could walk my bike across the street. I have to go to Sonoma. I don’t know how to avoid this fate.

My roommates playing video games. I check the time. Two thirty.
I toss and turn, restless. I’m unable to get back to sleep. Finally, I get out of bed and sit at my computer. My roommate turns off his television. It doesn’t matter. I won’t be able to get to sleep for awhile. I’m not really tired. I want to be. I have to get up at eight.
It’s four thirty now. I fall back into my bed, and collapse.

My alarm beeps at me. It’s eight thirty. I collect my stuff. I’m ready to shower. I can’t find my ID card. Or my wallet. I stick duct tape on the door latch, so it won’t lock behind me. After searching for half an hour, I’m flipping out. I decide that I at least need to shower. After I get out of the shower, I search a bit more. I find my wallet under my bed. Finally, I can leave.

I get on my bike and ride. I’m tired as I come to the edge of campus. I don’t know if I can continue. I keep riding.

The pain burns in my legs. It’s light at first. I climb this hill or that hill and it’s not horrid. I make it. Slight downhill slopes make it all worthwhile. The wind blows in my face. I can’t wait to get there.

I turn onto Adobe road. This is the longest stretch. It’s as long as the longest bike ride I’ve ever taken. If I can make it past this, I’ll be more than halfway.
My legs burn, holy fire coursing through my thighs and calves. This is easily the most intense thing I’ve done. I want to quit. I want to turn around. I want to be home in comfort. I want to eat breakfast, drink water, and collapse on my bed.

No can do.

I keep riding.

I’ve made it to the end of this stretch. I have to turn and keep on the second stretch of this road. I dismount the bicycle and walk for awhile. I’m tired.
I get back on the bike to ride, but it’s harder than I remember. I think it’s because I’m so tired. As I walk the bike, I notice that the front tire is a little flat. I get back on the bike to test this.

It’s flat.

I arrive at the front of the long windy stretch of road. I’m scared. But I can’t turn around. I would have to travel further if I went back that I would if I went forward. So I press on. I hold my bike with all that I am. Cars and trucks whiz by my going up words of twenty five miles an hour less than a foot away from my. It’s worse than a bad day on Arnold drive. At least the parts of Arnold that I walk on are straight. Curves turn this way and that. I remember my dream.

I just want to get to the square.

Noon: Jeremy calls, in response to a text. [EDIT: If I recall, it’s because I fell while riding]
“Where are you?” he says.
“I’m on a road. In a place. Somewhere.”
He says a bunch of things that I either can’t hear or don’t understand. I catch that he’s going to put his dad on the phone.
“Hey!” I say in greeting.
“Hey. Where are you?” I explain as best as I can with cars whizzing right by me.
“I’ll be there in 20 minutes.”
I acknowledge this and the conversation ends. I keep walking. It almost kills me, more than once.
I want to make it. I know that I’m close. I just don’t know how close. Close enough, that’s all that matters. I must make it to the square. I’m not going to. I keep walking.

After 20 minutes, I see the white van of safety. I feel a bunch of emotions.
I’m disappointed that I didn’t make it. I’m so close. I can’t say that I rode to downtown Sonoma. And I doubt I’ll ever be crazy enough to do this ever again.
I’m glad that there’s safety. I’m glad that there’s rescue. I’ve been walking through weeds. As I sit down in the van, I noticed the scratches and trails of bloody running down my ankles.

I’m safe.

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This entry was posted on May 12, 2018 by in Uncategorized.


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