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It started with a Peewee. A clapped out, second hand, fixer-upper bought by two biker parents hoping that at least ONE of their offspring would share their passion. How could anyone have known what it would become? Especially since precognition only runs in my side of the family.

Okay, saying that out loud? Should totally have seen it coming.

Esme looked at that bike, set her jaw, threw over her leg and cranked the throttle. While her siblings were wobbling around like newborn fawns, Esme was getting air off the smallest of bumps, right up until the point where her enthusiasm snapped the throttle cable.

So the Peewee got parked up, I failed to mend the throttle cable, the bike got stolen, and eventually, I gave in to the endless nagging and replaced it with a DR50, which, as any mini Motox parent knows, is a bit of a step up in potential A&E visits, what with having 3 gears and all.

Also, like all DRs, the 50 is a needy little madam and refuses to start unless you really truly promise that she is the only bike in the world for you. Esme, not being much for needy creatures, was more for using the stick rather than the carrot, which was how she came to flatten the battery within a day of it being delivered.

Anxious to save the bike from a stout beating with the nearest branch, I offered to kick start it for her, and take it for a quick ride on the drive to get it charged.

Which was my first mistake. My second was forgetting the golden rule of biking, which is "all the gear, all the time" because what trouble could I possibly get into on a teeny weeny little kid's dirt bike?

My third mistake was taking my eyes off the road for a split second, which was about the same time the front wheel hit a big ass stone, flicking the bike 45o right and sent me full speed off the edge of a cliff.

Am I being dramatic? Last time I climbed that particular bank from the river below, it took me an hour to climb out going from tree root to tree root, on hands and knees.

As with all crashes, it was over quickly, soundtracked by branches snapping as I tumbled head over heels down the bank, waiting for the bike to impale me on it's way to a watery grave in the river below. Once I stopped tumbling, I realised I was still alone.

Somehow I had parked the bike neatly in a tree at the top of the bank. Somehow, I still had use of my now rubbery limbs. Somehow, I missed the slow warm trickle down my left leg until after I had made it back up the bank and breathed a sigh of relief that my rookie error had gone entirely unwitnessed.

Relief that was soon tinged with panic, as I speed hobbled back to the house to inspect the damage to my leg, which was bad enough for even a stalwart like me to think "fuck, that's going to need stitches". Relief as nobody appeared while I applied butterfly stitches with one hand while stemming the vigorous blood flow with the other. And sheer bloody joy that I made it halfway back to the bike, with an affected air of nonchalance with Esme having seen nothing of the drama.

Because The Fear.

Not mine, but hers.

It's one thing to wince as your child shimmies her way through gravel, it's quite another to have them refuse to get back on the bike because they've witnessed their mama getting fired into the scenery.

So like any good parent, I dealt with the situation by overcompensating like a motherfucker and took us all straight to the nearest bike shop to spend a fortune on child-sized padding.

As I learned a long time ago while racing, it's okay to do dumb stuff, as long as you throw enough padding at the situation.

Unfortunately, they are yet to make padding for egos.

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