*Ira Glass voice* It’s like this. You’re on your bike. Out for a ride in the hills of Baraboo, Wisconsin. And you get going pretty fast on a long downhill. And then it happens. You start to shimmy. */Ira Glass*
Interviewee #1: I’m not a very technical rider, right? But I have this pretty good bike, and I like to go fast.
*Ira Glass* This is Tim.
TIm: So when I ride downhill, I like to pretend that I’m Alexandre Vinokourov.
*Ira Glass* Just a note for our listeners. Alexandre Vinokourov is the world-famous Khazak cyclist who got caught for blood doping at this year’s Tour de France. */Ira Glass*
Tim: So I get down in this aerodynamic position, leaning way out over the front handle bars. And I look down at my speedometer and I’m going like 40.
*Ira Glass* So, let me get this straight. You were going 40 miles per hour on your bicycle?
Tim: Yeah, well, it’s not that fast, actually. Unless you’re like me and you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.
*Ira Glass* Cause that’s when you start to shimmy?
Tim: Yeah. My bike starts to, like, vibrate. It feels like it’s going to explode, and here I am going 40 half-way down this huge, curvy hill, and I can’t see what’s around the next corner.
*Ira Glass* So what exactly causes the shimmy?
Interviewee #2 (the expert): Shimmying is caused by one of three things.
*Ira Glass voice* This is Fred Metheny.
Fred: Your bike either needs a frame adjustment, or its wheels are out of true, or your headset needs adjustment.
Tim: Well, if by headset he means my brain, then yeah.
*Ira Glass* Well, today on our show, Shimmying. What to do when your life suddenly seems to go out of control. From WBS in Madison, it’s This American Live. Our show today in two acts. Act one, “The School at Night.” Tim Storm has the story of what it’s like to be in an empty classroom on the brink of the new school year. Act two, “Underestimating Water.” We look at the deceptive nature of water, and why news of flooding never does it justice.