Carrying a passenger on a bicycle is an offence punishable by law. Everyone knows that but still some of us do it.
I had done it many times before until something happened to teach me never to do it again. It was not the police. Rather it was an unforgettable, and unpleasant, experience.
It happened one evening when my friend Segaran and I wanted to go and visit another friend who lived some distance away. I had a bicycle. Segaran did not. So, as usual, he sat side-saddle on the horizontal bar of the bicycle while I pedalled. We had done it many times before, so it should not be any problem.
Near my friend's house, we got onto a gravel path made slippery by the recent rain. Still we managed to wobble along, thoroughly enjoying the rough ride.
As we passed by a stream, I made the mistake of going too near the bank. The rain had softened the soil and it could not hold our combined weight. One moment we were going along merrily, the next we were tumbling head over heels into the stream as the bank gave way beneath us.
Splash! Splash! Splash! We plunged into the river bicycle first, followed by Segaran, then me. Normally the stream is only a few centimetres deep with clear water. When we fell in, it was a metre deep with foul black water. The water prevented us from getting badly injured but we also had to pay the price of gulping some of it. It tasted horrible. Segaran got the worst of it for being sandwiched between the bicycle and me, but it was not too bad. We had only a few cuts and bruises. Our pride was far more hurt.
We retrieved ourselves and the bicycle from the stream. We were both dirty and soaking wet. Obviously we were in no condition to visit anyone. So we decided to go home.
We walked all the way home. I had to push the bicycle because its front wheel was bent out of shape. From that moment I vowed never to carry anyone on a bicycle again. Never again do I want to be dirty and wet with cuts and... [continues]
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