When you fall (21.05.2018)
Well, I suppose it was bound to happen. I’ve been riding my bike very carefully for almost the past 2 years now. But I’m someone who loves outdoor sports – and who loves that sense of adventure that comes with them. So I should have known that the ‘careful’ part would only be temporary!
What did I do? Last Sunday, a week ago, I decided to try to ride a little off-road trail. It’s a completely flat, obstacle-free trail, just a 10-minute ride to a little pond. There are no rocks or tree roots, nothing to make it a difficult or technical ride. Just a packed earth trail through some grassy areas.
But I fell. Hard. If you know me, you’ll know that I usually start my stories with “the good news is… ” or “don’t worry, it ends well”. This time around I’ll go with: “On the positive side, I didn’t fall onto my already-struggling right hand and arm!”
And I didn’t really hit the ground that hard, either. What I did hit – and hard – was my handlebar. With my right thigh. At this point you’re probably wondering how the heck I managed to do that, right? I had my shoes in toe clips (like little baskets on my pedals, to hold my feet in place), and my front tire hit a rut that had dried into the mud on the trail. My bike stopped dead, but I kept moving with the momentum. So I started to go flying over the top of my bike – with my feet still stuck onto the pedals.
That wouldn’t have been a good way to fall, because the bike would have ended up on top of me – and it’s a fairly heavy commuter bike. Instead, a bike fairy must have been watching over me. As I started to literally fly over the bike, head first, the handlebar turned (into the rut in the trail) and the right end of it jolted up a bit – into the air. That raised end of the handlebar caught me in the thigh – as I was going up over the bike. The impact of my right leg hitting the raised right end of handlebar pushed me back down onto the saddle of my bike.
So I didn’t going flying over the bike, head first, and land with the bike on top of me. Instead I fell over sideways, and had enough time to react and fall “well”; onto my shoulder and my side – to protect my head (even with a helmet!) and my back. And I had time to turn my body just a tiny bit, so that I’d fall onto my left side instead of onto my right side.
That’s important, as I was able to to avoid falling on my right hand and arm – because they’re already affected by a nasty disease that causes joint issues and horrible pain. The last thing I need to do is to make that hand worse!
I was riding alone, and couldn’t reach my husband – who was out doing a longer bike ride – so I rode home. My leg was really sore where it had hit the handlebar, but it seemed to only be scraped.
The reason my leg was so sore didn’t start showing up until the next day. I’d given myself a truly nasty bruise, that’s still in fairly bad shape after more than a week. The day after I fell off my bike, this is what my leg looked like, from the upper thigh to almost the knee.
I can’t figure out whether my physiotherapist was more horrified with this bruise, with the fact that I rode home after this fall, or because I’ve been riding my bike pretty much every day since I fell!
After 3 days I had a really nice dark purple leg. The bruise extended from the inside of my thigh around to the front and the back of the leg. And from the top of the thigh to the top of the knee.
I’d just gotten a new case for an old tablet computer, with an image of a galaxy on the cover, and thought it was a good match for the bruise!
It’s been a week now, and I’m happy to see that my monster bruise is finally going away… but very slowly.
And I have to admit that I’ve gone back to being extremely careful on my bike again – no more trail riding for me. Not for the next little while, at least!
But then again, that beautiful little pond is still there – just waiting for me to ride over for a visit…