Friday, July 4, 2014

One (or two) steps back

After a short but pleasant ride on my road bike from the Ferry to my parents' house, I got a text from V__ saying, "We've gone to the beach come meet us."  Not wanting to show up in bike shoes and spandex, I changed into shorts and beach shoes. Then I went to the garage, and dug out my brother's mountain/city/beach bike.  I had to knock off the cobwebs, pump up the tires and raise the seat, but everything seemed in order and I was in a bit of a rush.  Off I went.  About 1.5 miles from the house there's a short steep hill into an intersection.  Idiot me, I took it like I was on the road bike.  There were a couple of cars waiting to turn into the intersection, so I lightly touched the brakes.  Oops!! Front wheel locked, and, with no toe clips, before I could release the brakes, I was over the handle bars and flying.  I've fallen while riding before, but usually it's a skid on a wet road, or a plop after a failure to clip out at a stop sign.  Forward falls are a different animal.  Suddenly you are airborne, with plenty of time to consider what's going on ("Oh crap this is not good"), and what is going to happen in a bit ("This is going to hurt.  I hope I don't die.")?   It could have been worse.  I rolled a bit -- knee to elbow to shoulder to head, as I remember it (accurately judging from the abrasions).  Popped up, picked up the bike, and got over to the side of the road to take stock -- not even an "are you ok?" from the motorists, by the way.

So much for the beach.  I decided to go home to do triage.  Short inventory, a scary bruise/road rash just above my right knee, and a similar nasty just below my right elbow, a bit of skin rubbed off on the shoulder, and (big takeaway here) noticeable compression to the right side of the helmet.  I took an ice bath to stop the swelling in my knee and elbow, and then iced all evening.  The swelling above the knee and below the elbow was pretty impressive, but in neither case did it feel like a muscle or tendon bruise.  I'm still a bit nervous about how long it's going to take to resolve, but morning after, it seems to be calming down, and so am I.

Anyway, the big lessons here, are: (1) if the bike has cobwebs, take it easy for the first few miles until you've felt it out; (2) wear a helmet!! This is the second time I've been very glad I was wearing a helmet. The last time was about 20 years ago, which qualifies a header as a long tail event. I may miss my long run this weekend (maybe not), but I lived to tell the tale . . .


  1. Wow!!! Scary! glad you are okay.

  2. Replies
    1. Me too!! All injuries appear to be superficial. Will need a new helmet, though.