Apparently I did temporarily. I am not the most coordinated person and there would surely be only a matter of time before I had a bike mishap, but that’s why they make helmets right? Thank goodness I have one. Maybe I should walk around with it on constantly.
I don’t know how national the news was about the two police officers that lost their lives the other week in Abingdon, Maryland, but this all occurred about a half hour drive from where I live. Last Saturday, one of the officers was being laid to rest in a cemetery a couple miles from my house. There are funerals like that around here occasionally, but the only experience I had ever had with them was getting snarled up in the resulting traffic. The weather was forecasted to be February-warm that day (low 60’s) and I decided to go up and pay my respects. And because I was no stranger to that traffic, I chose to ride my bike . Originally I was going to run up, but Betty had I had done 4 miles together that morning with a group from Charm City. She has definitely gotten bigger since our last stroller run together, but we had a great time out there. 70+ pounds of kiddo and stroller on some crazy hills!
The route I mapped was a little shy of 4 miles in each direction. When I got up to the main road there was already a bunch of traffic including a long line of police cars going by with lights and sirens on their way to the service. They weren’t even a part of the much, much larger procession that I would see later. I’m not new to riding my bike but I am still somewhat of a novice when it comes to riding with lots of people around so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous, especially crossing over the on-ramp for the interstate. Things started to get a little too congested and I could see up ahead that I would have trouble staying where I was and that the sidewalk might be a better option. Luckily there was one right there and it was relatively clear of the snow from that blizzard we had a few weeks ago.
I took my first opportunity – a wide driveway – and as soon as I crossed the area where it met the street I knew that I had made a terrible mistake. By that time it was too late because I was going pretty fast and didn’t have time to react to what happened next.
My tire caught on the little bit of ice that was lingering there and my bike shot out from under me to the left and into traffic. I was falling – thankfully NOT into traffic – toward the driveway where –thankfully again – there were no cars coming. All I could think when I was tumbling down was how happy I was to have a helmet on.
I wish I had rolled out of it as gracefully as Pee Wee. Instead there was that moment where I laid there fearing I had broken something, but that passed pretty quickly and embarrassment hit me like a tidal wave. The crowded street and all those people who saw me fall. It just had to be the busiest day out there. Traffic came to a halt because my bike was in the road. Several cars pulled close to the curb and the concerned people inside asked me if I was okay. At the time I was mortified, but now I’m glad that people did stop for me. It gave me a little faith in humanity in a world where Donald Trump is apparently a viable presidential candidate.
I collected my bike from the street and tried to get back on, but the chain was popped off so I flipped it over with zero idea how to fix it because I’ve never had to fix a bike chain before.
In hindsight I wish I had gotten a picture of any of this or a selfie of my triumphant face when I got the chain back on all by myself, but at that moment I really wanted to be off that road. I headed on my way and when I got to my destination I took more time to check for other injuries: road rash on my leg and on my elbow which I thought was funny because my jacket wasn’t ripped at all. My top lip was bloody although I don’t really remember hitting it on anything; they had been really chapped anyway so maybe the force of the fall made it split.
So a couple days later I still feel pretty beat up, but I’m super thankful that things weren’t worse…no broken bones and I still have all my teeth! And not like I ever would have ridden without my helmet anyway, but this incident definitely made me realize how crucial they are. Whether Betty thinks she looks uncool in one or not, she will never ride her bike without one!
Have you ever had an accident on a bike? Do you wear your helmet every time you ride?
I hope everyone has a happy and safe Tuesday!