When I was 13 years old, I went on a 735-mile cycling trip with my brother and father. My father was a professional cyclist, and wanted to show his twin sons the work of the trade and bond with them. My brother Chris and I were ecstatic for the adventure—my mother not so much so. However, there is not too much that can stop three adventurous guys.
The trip was across the San Juan Islands and then Vancouver Island. We prepared for the trip by going on smaller trips and practiced riding with panniers. Adjusting to the weight on a bike was harder than I thought. We were all avid cyclists, even though my brother and I were so young. I can say I felt like I was born on a bike, even though I smashed into a mailbox the first time I rode one without training wheels.
When we set out for the trip, I knew that I yearned to have an adventure and wanted to see the beautiful sights of mountains, bears, moose, deer, forests, and much more. But I what I did not realize was that trouble was around each corner. There were bears, inclement weather, cougars, and much more.
One night, after perhaps a week into the trip, we were on our last legs getting to a campsite, and going down a large hill. It was raining moderately and we were coasting down the hill in eager delight to take a rest from going uphill with all our gear and sore legs.
Suddenly, my brother’s front tire slipped in the rain, and he slid into the middle of the road. My father and I stopped, asking if he was okay. Apparently, he was not hurt too much, but his leg was caught up in the bike frame. From the top of the hill, we saw the light of a car coming. My father and I looked in shock of the situation. Chris could not seem to get out of the entrapment of his bike, and now a truck was blasting his way. This all happened within seconds.
Instinctively, I rushed out in front of my brother in the middle of the road, and waved my hands frantically. The truck rushed forward, but quickly jammed to the left to go around my brother and I. My brother was saved from being crushed by the truck, and for some reason, I did not think that I was risking my life. It seemed like the only thing to do. There was no way I would watch my brother die under the wheels of a truck.
My brother says I was incredibly brave, but I think we do what we know is right. From this experience, I believe that one should listen to one’s gut when in times of peril, and not intellectualize dilemmas. If I had thought about what I was doing on that fateful night, my brother might have been robbed from this world. Life and death often swing in the balance between what seems natural and rational.
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Just three days prior I encountered the similar misfortune of a driver unaware of the surrounding traffic. The rain had been steadily downpouring by the time I had reached the Expressway on my way home from Philadelphia: although it wasn’t the kind of rain that eliminates visibility, it had caused two cars to collide already. The police car’s lights attracted the center and right lanes to slow in an attempt to see what had happened, but the lights also contributed to the sea of headlights and streetlights refracting through the rain, debilitating any driver’s vision. Driving in the center lane, both the car in front of me and I slowed almost to a stop because of the drivers ahead: unfortunately the left lane’s traffic prevented me from passing this car, which I then remained behind as she changed to the left lane. Continuing for about one hundred yards, she suddenly stopped, and, abandoning my practice of pumping the brakes in the rain, I slammed on them in an attempt to miss the small sedan, causing my car to fishtail, skid, then collide with the center barrier, killing me instantly. My three passengers were quite alarmed by this, and I apologized several times over the duration of the ride, noting each time I gradually slowed instead of stopping