I was riding my bike the other day, and as I was peddling uphill, my foot fell off the pedal. No big deal really, but as the pedal finished its rotation, it scraped the back of my foot. So, I needed a band-aid.
I called my mother that night, and while we were talking, I mentioned my scrape. She asked what shoes I was wearing. And I told her I had been wearing ballet flats. Well, that was the end of it. According to my mother, one must always wear sneakers when riding a bicycle. That way if your breaks fall off, you can catch yourself with your feet. Or if a dog chases you, you can kick them in the snout. And if nothing else, you’ll have good arch support.
See, my mother went to Girl Scout camp when she was younger and did several long bike trips. They biked through Canada, Maine, and Vermont. They never knew where they were going to end up. They would bike until they got tired and then try and find a place to stay for the night. They would go to churches with big fellowship halls first, but if that didn’t work, they would look elsewhere. Once, they spent the night in empty jail cells. Another time, they stayed in a rich kid’s tree house.
My mother also bought self piercing earrings on one trip. When the counselors who were with her called the camp nurse, she said that anyone whose earrings were not all the way through their ears before they got back to camp would have to take them out. That night, my mother pushed her earrings through her ears. Apparently, she could hear the cartilage cracking as the stem of the earring cut through.
But worst of all was when she lost her brakes in Burlington, Vermont while going down the biggest hill in the city. The light in front of her turned red, and she shut her eyes as her bike sped through the intersection. She eventually managed to stop herself and only lost one shoe in the process. Why? Because she was wearing sneakers.
After thirty minutes of harrowing tales, my mother told me that none of those things really applied. I just needed to promise to listen to her advice. Always wear sneakers when riding your bike.