My then 17 year old stepdaughter, Natalie Keeling, and one of her mates, Heidi, decided they wanted to get into bikes, so got their learners' permits. Conveniently, I had a learner-legal bike in the Suzuki GS500. To Nat, it soon became “her bike.”She rode it quite a lot and quite well. She was riding it to work one morning (she worked in a restaurant in the city) when she came to grief manoeuvring into a car park near her work place. She managed to hit a pine log, low railing. Somehow both the bike and Nat went over the railing, with the bike collecting a tree. I think the accident had something to do with her looking where she was going rather than where she should have been going. Anyway, I got this plaintiff phone call at about 7.20am, “Rob, I’ve fallen off my bike.” I drove straight in, but it would have been some 20 minutes after the accident before I arrived to find the bike upright on its stand and Nat sitting on the gutter edge with a bottle of water and her helmet still on. A couple of passers-by had kindly stood the bike up and gave her a bottle of water. Naturally I queried, “Why on earth do you still have your helmet on?” The reply was simple, “I took it off, but just about everyone who was walking past comes into the restaurant, so I put it back on.”
Nat was fine, but the bike was written off.
Natalie is now 21 and we celebrated her 21st birthday last month (Nov 2009).