I have bad luck with bikes.
It started at an early age.
My Dad used to bike me to preschool when I was a kid. I remember sitting on the back of his bike in my sweet little brown seat. Every time we would get ready to go my Dad would remind me to keep my feet tucked in safely. “Don’t let your feet touch the wheel”, he would say.
One day, I couldn’t resist any longer. I deliberately dangled my feet out of their secure position. One foot went right into the spokes and BLAM-O, we totally bailed.
My Dad made a Herculean effort to make sure that I hit the ground unharmed. I landed safely on a someone’s cushy front lawn. My Dad however, landed hard on the road. As he lay there covered in cuts and bleeding, I got myself out of my seat and proceeded to yell at him because we were going to be late for school. Pretty inconsiderate of him to inconvenience me like that.
When I got older, I loved to bike. There was nothing like the freedom of being a helmetless eighties kid, cruising up and down the street like you owned the place. I also had some pretty epic wipe-outs, but nothing too serious…until I got older…
I don’t drive…yet. I’m learning and I really need to get my licence, like yesterday. For my entire adult life, the bus and my bike have been my two main modes of transportation. I used to bike to work when the weather was nice. I would often pretend to be Lance Armstrong, pre-doping scandal, and time myself to see how fast I could pedal to the mall. I felt invigorated when I would get there faster than the day before. I was pretty sure that at any moment, the Canadian Cycling Team would call me up and beg me to ride with them at the Olympics.
One night, I was leaving work around nine-fifteen. It was a beautiful summer evening. It had rained earlier in the day, so the pavement was a little wet. I was speeding along, just like Lance, when all of sudden, I hit something on the path and BLAM-O, I totally bailed. I somehow managed to hurl myself over my handlebars and landed directly on my head. My right shoulder and leg also joined the party. I laid on the path, with my bike on top of me, trying to digest what had just happened. Some dude came running out of nowhere and picked me up and asked if I was okay. All I could ask him was if my head was bleeding. He was like no, but your helmet’s all dented and your shoulder’s bleeding. I was like, but my head, are my brains showing? The guy was like no, you’re okay. I thanked him and walked my bike the rest of the way home in a total daze.
When I entered my house, I walked into the family room and my husband was all like, what the hell happened to you and I was like I fell off my bike. I asked him if my head was bleeding and he reassured me that it wasn’t. So, I had a beer or three to calm down and went to bed.
The next morning I had the worst headache ever. My body was all cut up and I felt like I had fallen off a cliff instead of a bike.
My Dad came over to visit and he was concerned because I kept repeating myself. He insisted he take me to the doctor and she confirmed that I had a concussion. For the next couple of days, I felt pretty weird, like I had a massive hangover. My head was all foggy and it hurt to move my eyes.
The one thing that I learned from my giant wipe-out is that you should always wear a helmet, ALWAYS. If I hadn’t been wearing one, my brains totally would have fallen out. I have taken it upon myself to yell at random strangers that I see biking sans helmet to put one on. Yes, you look like a dork in a bike helmet. Every one does, pre-doped up Lance Armstrong included. Yes, wearing a helmet also messes up your hair and they are not the most comfortable head accessory. But you know what’s even more uncomfortable? Having your brains smeared all over the sidewalk.
I haven’t done much biking in the almost three years since I concussed myself. Having just moved to the middle of nowhere, I decided this morning that I would hook up the old bike trailer and take my two year old daughter out for a spin to explore our new neighbourhood.
It started off as a lovely ride. The sun was shining as we pedaled along a picturesque path beside the river. My daughter was overjoyed to see a plethora of dogs ans squirrels.
Life was good.
The more we biked, the more I noticed that the water from the river was getting closer and closer to the path. Odd, because we haven’t had much rain. Then all of a sudden, the path became completely submerged in nasty river water. I stopped and pondered how deep it was. I figured I could make it across.
I carefully pedaled through the water and all was well, until out of nowhere, the water got dramatically deeper. I looked back at my daughter and the bottom of the bike trailer was filling up with water. She started to scream, which made me panic, so I leaped off my bike and splashed into smelly, thigh high river water. I managed to get us turned around and was able to push us back to dry land.
Obviously, I have horrible depth perception. Any intelligent person would have looked at the flooded path and turned around. Not me! I was certain that I could make it across. I hear you need good depth perception in order to be a conscientious driver. Maybe I’ll hold off on the whole license thing a little longer…
Once I calmed down my daughter, I got back on my bike and pedaled as fast as I could to get home. The water in my shoes was sloshing around as I biked, but I didn’t care. All I could think about was getting my daughter out of her nasty, river soaked clothes. Thoughts of her getting a parasite or yellow fever or the Ebola virus from her dip in the river raced through my mind. I just wanted to get her into a hot, soapy, disinfecting bath.
It’s been a few hours now since we got home. No signs of any water borne illnesses yet. I think we’re in the clear.
Sadly, my cell phone did not survive it’s river submersion. I don’t think I’ll give it a burial at sea. Too traumatic.
Even though bad bike luck seems to haunt me, I’m not going to let it get the better of me.
I love to bike.
I want to bike with my family.
I want to pedal fast and proud like Lance Armstrong did before he got hooked on performance enhancing drugs.
I just won’t bike near any rivers for a little while…
P.S. Don’t be a ding dong, wear your HELMET!!!!!!