Champion Charlie, The BMX Bear Learns To Ride

Charlie Koala watched them all the time, and it always looked like great fun.

Charlie especially liked it when they jumped really high in the air.

As they came racing up to the jump Charlie watched them peddle as fast as they could; their feet were like a blur as they peddled faster and faster until finally they left the ground and flying like birds, there was no need to peddle anymore.

Charlie heard their screams of delight as they jumped their BMX bikes over the fantastic jumps they’d built on their special BMX track.

Charlie spent almost all his free time high in the trees near the BMX track so that he could watch the kids racing while he munched on the tasty gum leaves that grew on the new growth at the top of the trees.

Often, when the boys and girls weren’t riding their bikes they came over to talk to Charlie.

For months and months Charlie was too shy to talk back; it was a sunny summers day when Charlie found himself feeling extra brave. Amy, Pam and Kristy got off their bikes and walked over to Charlie’s favourite tree; Hello Charlie” the tree girls called out together, “How are you today?”

“Hello to you too” called Charlie in reply; “I’m very well thank you” the girls mouths all dropped open in surprise because they’d never heard a Koala talk before.

“You’d better close your mouths before they get full of flies” joked Charlie with a chuckle.

All three girls started to search amongst the long grass and bushes under the trees because they were sure that it was that trickster boy “Sang” playing a trick on them and making it sound like the Koala was talking.

Now that Charlie had started talking he didn’t really want to stop; “Those are lovely bikes you’ve got there” he announced when the girls had given up their hunt.

All three girls looked up at Charlie in his tree and their mouths dropped open again; “and close your mouths – remember those flies!” Charlie called down helpfully.

The girls mouths all snapped shut before the smallest of the three, Kristy, stepped forward and asked; “Can you really talk Charlie, or is this some kind of a trick?”

“Well, I guess I must be able to talk otherwise you wouldn’t be able to hear me” Charlie answered with a smile.

The three girls walked around the tree looking up at Charlie from all different angles as if they thought he might not look like a Koala from somewhere else.

“Is it hard to ride those wonderful bikes?” Charlie asked them to break the silence. Charlie found it strange talking to the three girls because they were now all standing at different places around his favourite tree, so he couldn’t look at all of them as he talked.

“It takes a little practice, but anybody can ride if they really want to.” Said Pam, who was the tallest “would you like to try, I think Kristy’s bike would be small enough for your little legs.”

Charlie had to grab hold of the nearest branch as he almost fell out of his tree with excitement; “Could I really?” he called down gleefully, jumping up and down on his branch with excitement, “That would be absolutely wonderful.” He continued before sliding quickly down the trunk of his tree and, losing his balance, did three quick somersaults, before coming to his feet in front of Amy.

“When can I do it; when can I ride your magnificent bike? Can I go really fast and do the jump?” he cried, pointing over to the large mound of dirt that the riders all used as a jump. “When, when, when” he sang as he danced about before grabbing Amy’s hand and dancing about swinging her wildly all over the place. “Well, you can’t ride my bike because your legs are too small” answered Amy, smiling, “but you can ride Kristy’s bike if she says yes.”

In wild excitement, Charlie ran towards Kristy squealing “Please, please, PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE” before grabbing the startled girl by both hands and dancing wildly in circles with her singing “I’m gonna ride a BMX, I’m gonna ride a BMX.

Amy and Pam were soon rolling about on the ground in fits of laughter at the sight of Kristy dancing wildly about with the excited Koala. Finally the pair fell to the ground laughing too, and all four rolled around on the ground laughing and tickling each other until Charlie remembered the bikes and jumped quickly to his feet.

Charlie ran so fast that his feet hardly touched the ground as he ran over to where the three bikes lay waiting for their riders. Rubbing his hands gently over the handlebars of Kristy’s BMX his eyes gleamed as he asked; “Can I do it now please?”

The girls all looked at each other and nodded; “First you need to learn about your safety gear though.” Amy said.

“Safety gear “laughed Charlie; “I don’t need any safety gear, I’m a Koala, we don’t use safety gear! We climb up trees without a rope and do daring tricks high in the air without a safety net.”

“If you don’t wear your safety gear, you won’t be riding any of our bikes.” Said Pam, shaking her head; “it would be really silly to ride like we ride without your safety gear on.”

Charlie felt a little bit silly all dressed up in Kristy’s special armour jacket, hard plastic shin protectors and knee and elbow pads that the three girls helped him to put on.

Only Amy’s helmet was big enough for Charlies fat little Koala head and finally she clipped it under his chin and slipped the goggles over the top to protect his eyes and the excited little Koala was ready for his first ride.

Charlies chest swelled with pride inside the hard shell of his tough armour plated jacket as he finally sat astride Kristy’s bike with both feet planted firmly on the ground.

With a yell from Amy, Charlie started peddling as fast as he could and the bike shot forward. The three girls ran with him; Amy and Pam on either side of him to stop him from falling over and Kristy running along behind, as fast as her little legs would carry her, pushing him to help him gain speed.

Charlie was going so fast that his long whiskers were blowing out behind him when he suddenly realised that the three girls weren’t around him anymore.

Charlie turned his head to see where Amy, Kristy and Pam were, when, suddenly, he heard a crash, felt a smash, heard a bash and felt a mash as he nosedived face first into the dirt beside the track.

Charlie was still picking dirt out from between his teeth when the three girls ran up to him “You have to watch where you’re going” they laughed in unison as they helped him to his feet. When Charlie had turned around to look for the girls he had run off the track, and he’d ended up in a pile of arms and legs and fur and bike, as he picked himself up Charlie could see why he needed all that safety gear to ride these bikes.

Charlie could feel where the end of his handlebar had poked sharply into his stomach, or at least it would have if it wasn’t for the armour-plated jacket and he knew that his arms and legs had been dragged along the ground as he tumbled to a stop; now he understood why the girls had insisted that he wear all this funny looking gear.

Without all his safety gear Charlie knew that he would have been badly hurt on his very first ride; without his gear on he’d be too sore to ride now and would miss out on heaps of fun.

But now the girls were all clapping; “That was wonderful Charlie” yelled Amy excitedly.

“I’ve never seen anybody ride that far on their first try before.” Said Pam with a big smile, and, “You’re natural Charlie” cried Kristy, jumping up and down clapping, “I reckon you could enter our novice competition next week if you wanted to.”

It wasn’t long before Charlie was whizzing down the track again; this time he knew when the girls let go of him and he just kept on peddling as fast as he could.

Round the first corner he went, round the second and the third; Charlie knew that the big jump was coming up next.

Charlie was going so fast that he was almost flying before he even reached the jump; it looked so big as he sped towards it that he almost stopped and went back to his tree, but then he heard the girls cheering and knew that he could never stop before he’d made the jump.

At first Charlie didn’t even realise that he was off the ground and kept peddling, but the bike just pushed away from him every time he tried to peddle.

Looking down, Charlie realised that he was almost as far off the ground as the highest branch in the highest gumtree in the forest.

Suddenly, the ground was getting closer and closer until Charlie landed on the landing ramp at the other side of the jump; he hit the ground with a big bump that jarred his whole body and almost thew him over the handlebars, but he held on and started peddling as fast as he could.

As Charlie finished his first time round the BMX track he knew that he was now a real-live BMX rider. The three girls knew it too, and as he brought Kristy’s bike to a skidding stop in front of them, they all clapped and cheered.

And that is the story of how Charlie Koala became “Champion Charlie, The BMX Bear”.

Well Charlie wasn’t a champion, when first he rode a bike

It was just one of those things he knew that he would like

He’d watched the boys and girls from high up in his tree

And knew that a BMX Champ he would love to be

So his friends taught him how; now he rides so fast

That whenever he races, he’s always first, not last

(for any of you who are now going to email me and tell me that Koala aren’t bears, I know but “Charlie the little furry thing in a tree who is closely related to a wombat” just didn’t seem to fit)
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About a foolhardy florilegium

Nullius addictus iurare in verba magistri
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