Memoir Piece -Silent Metal Monster

We ventured out on our bikes on summer evenings generally in that tranquil period between dinner and sunset. It is a peaceful time in summer evenings. The heat of the day is gradually fading.

Monbulk, my home town, was in those days a sleepy village. It had an expansive main street occasionally interrupted by shops that gave the appearance that they had been born there. The movement of cars in the main street was rarely constant.

Our bike riding on those summer evenings usually followed a set route. We cycled onto Main street via a path that ran beside the town’s tennis court. We then turned left beside the Mechanics Institute Hall and rode along another path that ran beside the school on Main Road. It was at this point that the road inclined towards Hefford’s Milk bar (drug store) situated at the very top of Main Road. It was indeed the last shop in the street.

David, my next door neighbor rode his bike along the shoulder of the road; the unsealed section between the bitumen and the gutter, while I rode the sandy path bordering the school grounds. We talked as we rode, occasionally looking across at each other, or towards the top of the street.

Suddenly the car was there directly in front of me. David gasped an urgent warning. –Look out! he yelled. Seemingly out of nowhere, an utterly silent metal monster mounted the kerb-side and advanced on me. A large, metal grey car had rolled from the top of the hill approaching like whispering death on wheels. No driver anywhere. I instinctively threw my hands towards the bonnet of the car. My bike and I separated. I found myself pinned against the school fence, the grill of the car pressing against my leg. My bicycle was nowhere to be seen. Luckily for me, the car had pinned me against the wired section of the fence rather than the large wooden support posts that dotted the fence line.

My next reaction was pain. My leg began throbbing as I tried to climb clear of the car. David asked if I was alright. I wasn’t sure. This was a totally new experience for me. I mean who normally gets run down by a driverless car? Suddenly a man in a hat was running down the hill towards me. He too asked if I was alright. I told him I was okay, but as I moved clear of the car, it was with a noticeable limp. A bruise the size of an orange was forming on my leg.

The man in the hat then climbed into the car and started it up. He reversed it off the footpath and onto the road, revealing my somewhat mangled bike. He then carried my bike home for me and explained to my parents what had happened. He was very apologetic and offered to take my bike and have it repaired. My parents agreed and so the man in the hat disappeared with the remains of my once special semi racing bike.

My bike came back six weeks later, painted a dull grey color, somewhat similar to the car that had mowed us down in the first place. It looked different and certainly felt different when I rode it. It moved more like a crab, than a sleek racing machine. That bike was never the same. It was an accident victim. Its appeal wiped out by the crash. A silent, metal monster had taken my once special bike and replaced it with a dull grey crab-mobile!

What prompted that memory? Maybe it was watching the start of the Great Victorian Bike Ride featured on last evening's news. It is interesting the way our minds make connections and provide that vital spark that grows into a memoir piece...


  1. Glad you got this down (on the screen). What a super title!

  2. What an exciting story!! This is the kind of thing that certainly could have ended in tragedy, but because it didn't it is such a cool thing to talk about.

  3. I would like to share your memoir with my school kids. Is that okay? We are starting our memoir unit in writing workshop. We discussed effective and ineffective memoirs the last few days. Your memoir is a great example of another effective memoir. sara


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