One of the best places to play in Nariah when you are between the ages of 5 and 14 is the Bike Track out the back of Nariah. It’s hidden in the scrub and can sometimes be a little tricky to find, not because of how old it is or anything along those lines, but because it’s slightly temperamental and will disappear when it feels like it’s not being used as much as it would like to be used.
In short, it turns invisible when no one is using it as a kind of temper tantrum. I’m pretty sure that if it was human it would wail and flail about like a three year old whose mother or father refuses to buy it a lollipop.
When the Bike Track does throw one of these temper tantrums the council likes to send someone out to console it and try to make it visible again. They say things like:
“It’s ok that no one is visiting you, no one visits the airplane in the park unless it’s market day or the Year 12 Muck Up Week.” Or
“How is anyone ever going to be able to come and visit you at all if you keep turning yourself invisible?”
Or my personal favourite
“You will turn yourself back to being visible again, or so help me I will remove all the signage and NO ONE will come and play with you at all!”
The last one is usually a last resort when everything else hasn’t worked and the kids are starting to get restless.
To be completely honest the last time the Bike Track went invisible was when I was ten, and it over heard a couple of the teenagers in their car complaining about how boring it was. It took three different council members and the promise that they would add in some new jumps and trick stuff in order for it to become visible again. The teens involved still haven’t heard the last of it and are still reminded of their failure to adhere to the age old saying: if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.
I know this because my older brother was one of the teens who was involved.
Earlier this week the Bike Track went invisible for the first time in over five years and no one could figure out why. All the teens now knew how sensitive it was and we refuse to say anything horrible about it out loud. It was being used frequently because of the Annual Council Bike Safety Awareness campaign that involves tips on the best way to do a Superman trick on your pushbike and the best way to to remove all slime that gunks up the works when one of the ghosts from Eric’s Grandmother’s B&B decides to borrow it for a joyride, before they realise that you can actually forget how to ride a bike.
Especially if you have been dead for more then twenty years.
Ben’s Dad was the one called on to go and have a talk with the Bike Track and find out what the problem was. It took two hours of searching and a few swear words before he reported that apparently someone had been using the Bike Track on a motor bike.
Now there are very few rules that come with the Bike Track (other then you don’t insult it within hearing distance), but one of the biggies was that you don’t ride motorbikes on it. Once upon a time you had been able to but that all changed.
When the Bike Track was new and just created, it was happy for motorbikes to use it. The more the merrier, right? But like all toddlers, it got too excited and threw a guy who was riding a motor bike into a tree after vibrating so much in happiness that it threw the motorbike and it’s rider clean off. The Bike Track felt horribly guilty and has since refused to allow motorbikes anywhere near it’s paths, until it was ready.
Plus it got all embarrassed because the Race Track over at the show ground saw and because the Bike Track kind of has a crush on the Race Track, it doesn’t want to do anything stupid that could ruin the potential relationship.
Normally this would have caused a problem. The Council would start complaining about the teens and their motorbikes and not thinking about other peoples feelings. We would respond saying that we don’t use the Bike Track anymore and the Bike Track can’t actually be defined as a person because it’s a series of paths created by the Council. The Council would then reply that we shouldn’t discriminate against someone because they’re different and that we would all be grounded if we kept up that tone of voice.
None of that happened though.
Ben’s Dad had an idea and started to work on plans for a Motorbike Track, not far from the Bike Track, but close enough that they could be friends.
So far the idea has passed both the Council and Bike Track and the Bike Track is beyond excited for it’s new younger sibling. All the kids are saying that when they ride the Bike Track it’s vibrating with happiness, which makes using it all the more fun.
Parents however are double checking that all kids are wearing their helmets before they leave the house.