The silly old moo had pulled into the middle of the road, which left me a narrow gap kerbside to head for. There was no time to think about it, flick to the right, hold on tight, BANG! That's her mirror gone. I hadn't even finished passing her before an even loader noise rent the air. Instinctively I hopped onto the pavement and anchored to a slightly panicked halt.
By the time I could look back up the road it was pretty much all over. Whilst I had realised what was about to happen it seems the moped chasing me hadn't and the second bang had been said machine impacting the now stationary old bat mobile - shit! I hit 112 on the handy even as I hobbled; you try running in cleats, towards the carnage.
I'm not good with this stuff, I guess its instinct that draws us towards the injured, so I was thankful that some folks from the garage beat me to the mess.
"There's been an accident . "
"Stay calm, fraulein, where are you?"
"Um Altenahr, I'm not sure what the road's called, just below the Aral Tankstelle."
"Okay, I have you, what's happened?"
"A car pulled out and like I just missed it but a guy on a moped hit it, " I rushed out.
"Are you injured?"
"No I...oh shit, my hand's bleeding . "
"Okay, what's your name?"
"Okay, Gaby, help is on its way, is there anyone else there?"
"Some guys from the garage, they're trying to get the car off the rider."
The sound of sirens dopplering through the town below alerted me to the imminent arrival of assistance. The operator stayed on the line until they arrived.
"Where the hell are you?"
"There's been an accident."
"Not me, well not really." I winced as the paramedic taped my broken fingers together.
"So where are you?"
"Altenahr, I should be home in like twenty minutes."
"You do remember we have to get to the airport? I'll come pick you up or we'll never get there on time."
"In my handbag."
"Get yourself to the Bahnhof, I'll be there in fifteen minutes."
"Okay, Dad, see you soon."
There's no point in arguing and he's usually right.
"Okay, fraulein," the policewoman caught my attention, "have you got a contact phone number?"
"Er sure." I fumbled with my handy and she copied it off the screen.
"Is he going to be okay?"
"Sore but the doctor seems to think that apart from his broken leg he'll be alright."
"You were very lucky,” she noted.
"Years of practice."
"Well take care, eh ? "
I gathered myself together and mounted up, I was still a bit shaken up, the adrenaline level had dropped but my heart was even now still going 'bumpity bump'. I pushed away from the kerb and quickly noticed a problem with my bike, click, bump, click, bump, now what? I couldn't see anything but when I put the brakes on it was obvious where the problem lay. Sugar . Well at least it's mostly downhill to the station.
Gingerly I set off again, barely turning the pedals and braking on the front wheel to keep the speed down. I barely made the car park before Dad arrived in the bus.
"Get yourself inside, you can tell me what happened once we're moving."
By the time I'd climbed aboard and lost my shoes Dad had my steed in the back and less than five minutes had passed before we were on the move.
"You're like a trouble magnet, " Dad noted after I'd told my tale.
"It wasn't my fault, it was that silly old woman."
"So you weren't sprinting for the sign?"
He gave me a look, " Whatever the rights and wrongs this morning you need to think about the consequences, I don't want to get a call summoning me to Manchester General."
"Why would...oh right."
We'd made good time up to the airport which was just as well as a quick splash and change of clothes were definitely in order.
I shuffled up to the desk and presented my ticket and passport.
"One case and bicycle?"
"Yup," I agreed.
Well you know the score, did you pack it yourself, any nasties and so on.
"Take these and your bike to the desk at the end, have a nice flight, " the check in girl smiled.
Dad grabbed the handle of the bike box and I trotted along behind with my flight bag. We soon had the bike checked in, goodness knows how I'm gonna manage that at the other end. We found a cafe where we got a coffee before heading to security.
"So kiddo, this is it, do yourself proud."
"I'll try Dad."
"Don't forget to ring."
I grinned to cover up the emotions going through my head. Yes I've been away from home without the rents before but only for like a couple of days. Six weeks is a whole other ball game, away from not just my family but my friends too - okay I'll see the Warsop gang this first week but then - well its gonna be weird.
Dad pulled me into a hug, " Look after yourself Drew."
"I will." I sniffed back a tear.
"Uncle John will be at East Midlands."
He pushed away, "Your Mother sent this." he passed me an envelope, " and I'm sure this'll be useful." he pushed a couple of notes into my hand.
"Get on with you, you don't want to miss the plane."
I gave him a last peck on the cheek and with teary eyes headed towards security.
We were in the air before I got a chance to see what was in Mum's envelope, Dad had stuffed five crisp twenty pound notes in my hand - very useful indeed. There was a 'Bon Voyage' card inside, a Diddle cartoon on the front, inside was a short message.
Sorry I couldn't get back to see you off but you know how it is.
You can use the card to get cash at most machines, there's £300 on it, try to make it last, the PIN is the same as your German racing licence.
Give your Gran a hug from me when you see her, enjoy yourself and kick some ass! I'll ring when I get home on Tuesday.
Lots of love
Kewl, I'm rolling in it . Well , not exactly rolling , but I'll not be short.
The flight was uneventful, an hour and a half sat above the clouds before descending through the clouds to an overcast but at least dry East Midlands airport. It's hardly the exciting and busy place that Manchester is - or even Köln/Bonn, there're no arm thingies, you have to climb down the steps and walk across the tarmac to the terminal. The queue for passport control seemed to take ages but at least the wait there meant my bags were already on the carousel when I got through.
"You okay miss?"
"I think so, it's just a bit awkward." I tugged the bike bag upright.
"Let me," and without further ado he swung the bike bag off the conveyor onto the floor.
"Yeah." I really will have to work at this.
"Och mine always seems to come through last."
There was something about him that was familiar but I couldn't put my finger on it.
"That's usually me, Drew by the way."
"Chris, so you off to the 'drome?"
"Not till next week, I'm on the junior squad, " I boasted.
"So you're the mysterious wonder from Germany."
"Well Worksop actually," I blushed, "how'd you know?"
"Let's see, bike, flight from Germany and on the squad, I might only be a sprinter but even I can add those clues up, " he grinned.
Sprinter, Chris, built like a brick you know what, oh bum.
"You're Chris Hoy? " I blurted.
"Guilty as charged lassie, come on, let's get through cattle control, " and he set off dragging not just his bag but mine as well.
We must've looked a right sight, Chris ambling along with the bikes and me doing my best to keep up. He's obviously better known in Blighty as he was clearly recognised by several people although the fact I was referred to as his daughter by one chap was a bit irksome.
"So's yer teking after yer mother then?"
"Yer don't fancy the boards?"
"I've done a bit but BC want me to concentrate on the road."
"Maybe that's as well, we're a bit light on the road still, I think you'd do well in the pursuit mind, I'll have a word with Dave later."
"You don't have to, " I spluttered.
"We canna afford to overlook any potential lassie and if you ride anything like yer mother..."
At that point he was called forward to passport control, still dragging my bike. The officer's face was a picture when he saw who was in front of him, I couldn't hear the exchange but Chris went through and the chap just waved me through after him.
"You got someone meeting you lass?"
"Uncle John should be here."
"Right then, my car's here somewhere, I'll see yer next week eh?"
"Er yeah sure, nice to meet you."
"And you lass, and you."
We briefly shook hands and with a grin as wide as the Rhein Chris set off down the concourse.
A moment later I was nearly bowled off my feet.
"Mad," I managed to get out.
"Let go of the poor lad, Madeline, welcome home, Drew.
"Er hi, Unc."
"Where's your bike?"
Bike, it should be, oh bum.
"I'll be right back."
"Drew?" Mad called after me.
I took off in the direction Chris had headed and nearly ran into him.
"I seem to have something of yours , " he grinned.
"I'd forget my head sometimes according to Dad."
"Now that would be a shame."
"Thanks, Chris," don't ask me why but I leant up and planted a smacker on his cheek.
"Och, I won't be able to wash now," he chortled, "get on with yer, see you next week."
I was blushing pinker than a strawberry by now, " Next week," I agreed.
"Who was that?" Mad enquired on reaching me.
"What? Who?" my mind finally re-engaged, "only Chris Hoy!"
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 07.03.2012
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