Friday, 22 February 2013

You're either about to fall or you have just fallen

The saying goes that there are two types of cyclists, those who have just fallen or those who are about to fall. Well having bought my bike in September last year I didn't really consider myself a cyclist, I merely used my bike to commute to and from work each day. It's convenient, efficient and healthy, why wouldn't I!  I was just starting to want to go riding with friends on the weekends or group rides after work and felt as though although I was reluctant I was starting to enjoy cycling as an activity, shock horror! 
me with my bike when I bought it 6 months ago
It turns our since September I was the cyclist about to fall. I didn't really think I was ever going to fall badly, my ride to work wasn't very dangerous being mostly along a flat bike track and it was a short ride so the likelihood of falling seemed pretty slim to me. I knew it would probably happen eventually but I wasn't too scared, I know plenty of people who fall off their bikes and they never hurt themselves too much. But Wednesday last week I had my first wake up call and unfortunately for me it wasn't a small fall, not the kind where you brush yourself off and continue on your merry path a little embarrassed. My fall was the kind where you end laying in the middle of the road with your belongings strewn everywhere, embarrassed but not being able to do anything about it. Luckily for me a kind lady stopped and helped me, she didn't have much choice I was sitting in the middle the road, she could hardly go around me! 

I had been recording my rides on my Strava app on my iPhone and each day I was trying to record faster and faster speeds down the two hills in my route. I must admit, one day I recorded 56km/h and I was getting pretty pleased with myself and a becoming a little bit of a dare devil. Well that came back to bite me, severely, on the knee. The morning of Wednesday 13 February 2013 I prepared myself for my morning ride to work in my usual way, I went outside and checked the weather, it had been raining (after some really hot and dry weather) but it had stopped so I decided to ride, I always prefer to ride to work but hate getting too wet with the whole day ahead of me so I avoid it if it is raining. At 7.35am I set off down my street, I live at number 13, I crashed outside number 1! Yes I travelled the distance of six houses before completely stacking it, could this crash get any more embarrassing!

my super steep street
As I was going down the hill my speed was building up, the hill ends in a turn so I have to brake going downhill to correct my speed in preparation for the corner. As I was approaching the corner I knew I was going too fast to make it safely around the corner on my own side of the road, I could see there was no traffic in sight so decided to cut across onto the other side of the road. I could see a manhole lid in the road but I knew it was too late to try and dodge it in the wet as I would only fall, I hit the manhole lid and hoped for the best, the bike wobbled for a second, then bam I went down on my right side. My foot left the pedal (if only I had clipless pedals) and my knee bent with my foot facing behind me. The inner part of my knee, leg and foot hit the road as well as the back of my shoulder and my head. I then slid along the road for a few meters with the rest of me still holding onto the bike. My handle bar, pedal and seat also took some of the fall. This all seemed to happen in slow motion and if felt like I could see it happening before it happened. At one point I realised my head was sliding uncomfortable across the bitumen, this really scared me, thank god for my helmet.

I finally stopped sliding and I was sort of tangled up in my bike. I took my backpack off, wiggled out from underneath my bike and tried to sit up. My knee was killing me, I was in a bit of shock, then I realised my ear phones were still in my ears with my music still going (no this did not contribute to my accident whatsoever!). James Blunt was singing You're Beautiful, exactly those lyrics, in my ears. At this point in time, this was the most annoying thing ever, I angrily ripped the ear phones from my ears feeling a lot less than beautiful.  All chance of that song being featured in our wedding video is gone, I am not sure it will ever be the same for me! 

the base of the street before the intersection and where I crashed
I could see a car coming down the road but I didn't even try to move, I knew they would stop. The car pulled over, a kind young lady walked over to me and said 'did you just crash?', (nah I just thought I would sit in the middle of the road with my bike like a derelict) I shouldn't be so mean she really was super amazing. She got my bike, backpack, drink bottle and earphones which were all strewn across the road for me, then she helped me up. I stood up, leaning against the traffic barrier and assessed my body, I had the littlest tiniest cut on my finger, for some reason this was my biggest concern. She stayed beside me talking to me about bike accidents etc. I called Alex, I could still see our house but there was no way I was walking, he drove down to me. The kind lady stayed with me the whole time, even though she clearly had to get to work. Alex parked the car, I hopped in and burst into tears while he walked my bike back up to the house then returned to get me. The super kind lady left, the garbage truck went pass, the drivers staring at me, again like I was some derelict. Alex took me home and I managed to hop to the couch and started shaking and crying because my knee was absolutely killing me to the point where I felt sick, I called mum and work and then cried some more. 
my helmet, without it I think I would be dead
I managed to limp into a medical centre at 9am to see a doctor who prodded and twisted my leg, told me I had sprained my knee and I should just walk on it and it will heal over time. Off I went to work, in agony. The damage to my knee is now a whole other story. So there you have the details of my crash, I am not sure when I will get back on my bike and how I will feel about it but we will just have to wait and see. Please if you ride a bike or any other mode of transport, slow down and drive to the conditions, this was way too scary and painful but could have been a lot worse!

Talk soon


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