‘Nother Bike Wreck?
Three close calls. That’s the limit, the way I’ve heard it. These are the kinds of things that “come in threes,” right? Of course they do.
Except not. Assumptions like that can lead to eventful days–like yesterday. Being a warm October day, I thought I’d bike into Durham on the American Tobacco Trail and try out the early voting opportunities there. A mile from home, I hit something in the leaf litter that threw me onto my front tire. I was balanced there, like one of those stunt motorcyclists. I held it together on one wheel for a second and righted myself. On I went.
Crossing a normally peaceful side street, I was confronted by a hurtling, two-ton vehicle bearing down on me. Brake hard; take evasive action. Check.
Later, taking off from a stop at a light, going straight, a driver beside me decided to make a right regardless of my existence in the space toward which he headed his car. The booming bass and rattling widows gave me an aural picture of what I had to miss. Sporting of him. Not even that close.
And we’re riding! We’re riding!
But back to unfounded assumptions: When you cheat injury and death three times in an hour, you may start to relax a little. You may well ask, “What else could happen?” Dangerous question, that.
I found out how dangerous minutes later, grinding up a hill. I encountered a couple of cyclists toiling along side by side, a little more slowly than myself. As I passed, the woman on the left unaccountably veered left, hooking her handlebars into mine and driving me into the loose gravel on the side of the trail. With no steering and no traction, there was nothing I could do but attend to the falling.
I did OK at that, but I must have fallen onto her pedals or her recurved handlebars because I took a deep bruise to the thigh. I also scraped up my left hand and chin and drove my right palm down hard to break the fall. That whole arm aches from the shock. The bike’s a mess, too–a boon for the bike shop, no doubt. The wreck broke the brakes on both front and rear. Various parts will need replacing at some considerable expense. As another old saying has it, “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.”
I suppose the other cyclist was hurt, too, at least a little. I couldn’t stick around the find out. Something newsworthy was about to happen if I stayed there, and one simply does not want to appear in the local press in that sort of light. With my rear brake completely bound up, I picked up my bike for the three-mile walk home. The thigh was really painful at this point. Luckily, I was able to free up the brake a little later and make some slow progress. With no brakes, it had to be slow progress. I had to walk the downhill stretches or risk another crash.
Arriving home, I was greeted by my little boy, who was very concerned about his old Dad but glad this wreck was not as bad as my last one. He wanted to know where he could kiss me or hug me without hurting me. What a nice boy, but I had to tell him there just weren’t very many places like that on me. He cheered me up as only he can do, though,and I felt much better after a shower.