When I was five I lived two blocks away from this bank conveniently located at a 7-11 store. My dad would give me my allowance on Saturdays, a dime and a nickel. The goal every week was to find a penny so I could get the small 16 cent Slurpee, cherry of course.
I’d sit and look at this concrete slant and think about it. Even though I had just learned to ride my bike, I knew this was something special. The angle beckoned to me. On the top side was a driveway with the wall creating a curb so cars wouldn’t drive over. I looked at this bank from all angles and somehow knew that I wanted to ride my bike on it. I had no idea how to get over the five inch high curb at the top and knew the kink at the bottom would surely cause pain if I rode straight down it. Approaching it straight on to ride up it like a jump was out because there was no way I could pop a wheelie that high. A couple of times I approached it at an angle, lifting my front wheel an inch or so only to feel the tire bonk and bounce back to the parking lot. I just couldn’t figure it out.
After high school, I moved to Philadelphia and wasn’t too far from where I had learned to ride as a little kid. As soon as I learned my way around, I went back to the old neighborhood and rode down the little alleyway, hit the sidewalk jumps and went back to 7-11.
As usual, cars were parked in the lot but there was just enough room. I cranked hard a couple of times and charged the wall. I lifted my front wheel and met the slope perfectly, carving an arc I had dreamt of for 13 years. I swooped up watching my front tire come within a couple of inches from the top. Rolling off the wall, I quickly looped back around and I put in an extra crank and rode right out to the elusive driveway at the top. A whole body smile of satisfaction came over me. I looked down at where I had just been and knew that I had somehow fulfilled a destiny that I had been leading to all my life.
With a quick hop over the curb, I dove back into the bank. This time I knew how to lift my front wheel and bend my knees to make the transition from the concrete to the blacktop smoothly. With a whoosh, I sped into the parking lot and rolled across. I stopped and turned to look back at what I had just done. I felt warm inside, complete.
As I was enjoying this moment, one of the store employees came out wagging a finger at me. “You can’t ride your bicycle on there!” he shouted. I just looked at him. “Yes I can. I finally can”.