Toad Strangler Water Biking


When I was a kid growing up on Nebraska Street, I want to tell you, when it rained, it poured.

When the skies really opened up, I remember water gushing out of our house’s downspout so hard that it ripped up the Bermuda grass and turned the yard into a mud bog.

That, or the rain would overwhelm the gutter, and actual sheets of water would come crashing over the side, digging a huge trench in the front yard.

If you ran underneath the sheets — as you did, of course, when you were a kid — it was like having a pitcher of ice cold water poured right down your back.

Both exhilarating and stupid at one time.

After the storm had blown over, the run-off would cause Nebraska Street to overflow its curbs.  After a real toad-strangler cloudburst, the water would reach all the way up to the water meters.

When that happened, we’d quickly put on our grubbiest cut-offs and go water-biking in the dirty street water.  It was pretty cool but hard going, like you were riding in slow motion.

Nebraska Street was fun, but not really dangerous enough, so when our Moms’ weren’t looking, we’d sneak over to the apt-named Flood Street.

The water there would come up to the top of your bike tire, or even over your banana seat, which was awesome.

Riding bikes in “Lake Flood” probably wasn’t the brightest thing we ever did, but it was so much fun.

If you built up a full head of steam on a side street and rode straight into Flood St., it felt like a giant hand had grabbed the back of your bike and stopped it dead in the water.

If you managed to stay on your bike, that was great.  If you flipped over the handle bars, out onto Flood St., it was even better, if you didn’t get run over!  

That sounds more dangerous than it was, since we had “spotters” and  cars had to drive really slowly when Flood was at high tide.  Even so, it was a pretty good adrenaline rush for a 10-year-old.  

Since we weren’t supposed to be there, before riding home we had to get all the incriminating mud off our bikes and ourselves. 

We’d get down on all fours right next to the street and stick our heads into the wall of water cars kicked up when they chugged by.  That was a challenge to do without getting killed.

We got a lot of angry looks, mainly from worried Mom drivers. The Dad drivers would laugh at us. They’d probably done it themselves, and they knew why we had to rinse off the evidence.

Otherwise, we’d have gotten home all muddy and gross, and our angry mothers would have insisted on hosing us off in the front yard, right in front of God and country, while reading us the riot act as they did it.

Moms could be so sensitive about stuff like that. 

One Response to “Toad Strangler Water Biking”

  1. Lillian L.. says:

    If Mother had known you were doing all these things, she’d have had a hissy fit and your hiney would have been paddled. Amazing that you lived thru it all.

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