Waste not, want more

No variations on a theme.

3 Memorable Bike Crashes I Could do Without

I have never been a physical activity hero. In fact I’m the kid who wheezed around the school field every day in P.E. for all of elementary school. Mercifully there was a little less wheezing in high school. Unfortunately, there were other more painful sources of embarrassment.

Cycling, however, has always been a relative strength of mine. This may well be because cycling doesn’t take much coordination and because when I was five and learning to ride my bike I didn’t yet think I was an exercise-leper. I just had to learn like everybody else and I worked at it. And learn and work I did. I’ll never forget my red and white banana seat, my dad steadying me and feeling the wind through my hair (back in ye olde time before helmets were de rigueur).

Not surprisingly, I’ve been in a few scrapes in my time. Thankfully, to date, none of them have involved cars (knock on wood, pay homage to the universe). From about 5 to 10 I’m fairly sure I walked home once a year wailing all the way from the end of the back alley having scraped all my knees and elbows on the gravel. But there have been three particularly inglorious incidents.

Episode #1: Dogmeat

It was a fine fall evening. I was headed home from my friend’s house. She was seeing me off, waving, as her excited dogs dashed and pranced around her. The wind was once again blowing through my hair as dusk hinted at its arrival. The evening was always my favourite time to ride. I felt grown up, free and fast riding along the relatively deserted roads. Despite the increased traffic, I still love those late rides. As I said, there was waving, wind blowing and prancing. For some reason known only to canines, my friends’ dogs became very interested in me, my bike or something across the street. I tried to brake or swerve, but it all happened too fast. I struck the shelti right in the ribs. She skittered off looking at me like I had some sort of attitude problem, as light on her feet as always. Meanwhile I had gone ass over sissy brakes, but forgotten (somehow) to let go of my bike. I landed face down on the pavement with a fine set of handlebars cushioning the blow right across my thighs. In retrospect it’s better that my thighs were cushioned than my face or my shins, but I didn’t appreciate that at the time. I can’t remember if I told my friend her dog was stupid and got all huffy, but I know I wanted to.

Episode #2: Hayfever

Once again, I was at a friend’s house. It was a glorious summer day – August 22nd to be exact. We were playing in the field beside her house playing the game we’d recently invented. In the game, we imagined we were rent-a-cops on bikes. We would ride through the streets in her neighbourhood noting infractions to one another and taking our bikes to “the shop”. I’m not sure what we were doing in the grassy field, but I am sure it was riveting. We were about to set off to patrol the area. I was straddling my bike, not yet standing on the pedals. I couldn’t get my front tire to straighten out in the long grass. I lost my balance somehow (being me) and my bike tire, doing what bike tires like to do, rolled to the right. I fell with my bike. You may be wondering why I haven’t gotten back to tales of neighbourhood intrigue given that I fell off my bike from a standing position. It’s a fair question. The story is worthy because somehow – heaven help me – I broke my freaking arm in this fall. In two places actually, almost clean through. My arm looked like someone had taken the letter “s” and pulled on each end, but only a little. I passed out. I woke up and screamed bloody murder. I wore a cast for 13 weeks. It’s a wonder I’m not a hall-of-famer.

Episode #3: Superpavement

Just a few days ago (you knew where this was going), I was racing myself home, trying to beat my previous times. I was going about 20km/hr. It was definitely time to ease up on my racing goal, as I was about 100 metres from my front door, but hindsight is always 20/20. In yet another glorious cycling move, my tire got caught on the outside lip of the path I had been using. In that inexplicable way that one can do the same thing right 99 times out of 100, but be guaranteed to do it wrong every now and again, instead of just steering into the grass, or braking for that matter, I kept trying to get back on top. And boy, did I. My bike told me where to go and I flew like superman, arm extended, wind rippling. Too bad that instead of gliding through the air I was skidding along the pavement, helmet bouncing (yup, finally integrated the helmet). After what felt like an hour, my body stopped. My superman arm was exploding with pain. Kind people stopped to help and thankfully I was so very close to home. My shoulder on the other hand is pretty sure that superman sucks and I should never extend my arm again. Hopefully it’s wrong.

Just picture more pavement below.

* This may in fact be the crudest chop job of all time. With no photo editing software I had to get creative (i.e. even uglier than a purposefully ugly superimposed head should be).


October 19, 2011 - Posted by | Childhood Complaints, Cycling, Doing it the hard way | , , ,


  1. Bless your hear, Rose. Somehow I’m picturing you typing this entire post with one hand–one finger even. So did you break your arm again? (Somehow I love the crude cropping of Superman–somehow it suits my near-crippled sense of what you’re going through.) Hang in there, my friend!

    Comment by Kathryn McCullough | October 20, 2011 | Reply

    • Thankfully I can still type. It just hurts to raise my arm out in front of me, or to the side. If anything, I’d guess that I tore something but hopefully I’m wrong about that, too. Time will tell. I suppose you’re right, the cropping is sort of reflective of my state :). Thank you!

      Comment by Rose | October 20, 2011 | Reply

  2. […] I’ve written some about a lack of focus and motivation. It should come as no surprise that when I got a freecycle email at 10pm on a Wednesday announcing that a working stand up lamp is out on the street a few blocks away, I jumped in my car (thinking this time it might be smart not to attempt a retrieval by bike. I am, after all, still recovering from the superman incident). […]

    Pingback by Putting the Freak in Freecycle – a Halloween special « Waste not, want more | October 31, 2011 | Reply

  3. I don’t know whether I should be sympathetic to your plight or just give in to the evil urge to laugh, laugh, and laugh some more! I can just picture your feverish sprint to the finish line…

    Maybe I can smile at this because I’ve also been involved in a few doozies myself– the most significant of which was being run off the road by an Albertan driver, right onto that icy chunk of snow-plowed goodness (the one that has the rocks and salt from previous street cleanings embedded into it like diabolical diamonds.) I landed on my face (awesome!), and the road rash scab that ripped my flesh off made me look like I had a Hitler mustache. Perfect for when I went to work the front desk at the Sexual Health Centre… 🙂

    I hope you’re feeling better!

    Comment by Dana | November 9, 2011 | Reply

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