Never make the same mistake twice,
there are plenty others out there to make more to make
WARNING: may contain photographs that some readers may find disturbing (especially if you are my mum)
For those of you that don’t know, bikes don’t have brake lights. This may seem like an obvious statement but what it means is that if you are out in a peloton you have to keep your wits about you in order to realise that the person in front of you is braking. A slight tap on the brakes at the front of a peloton (even if it is a relatively small peloton) can have a large effect at the back. If you are distracted just a second (or don’t notice) then you can clip wheel and hit the deck. It is a really easy thing to happen.
I wasn’t one of those kids that was in and out of A&E with broken bones or covered in plasters due to the latest graze or cut. This was mostly due to the fact that I mostly watched TV. I can tell you the exact location, date and time that I last came off my bike, 8am Monday 24th May 2010 in Richmond Park. The reason that I know this is because it was a bad accident in which I separated my right shoulder and was off the bike for 4 months.
This morning I was on a club run with my club, Kingston Wheelers, enjoying the Easter bank holiday in the gorgeous sunshine. We were following the Thames toward Windsor, really steady group and I was having a good bike day. (You can probably guess where I am headed with this blog entry) we were coming up to a roundabout and I misread the situation and clipped the wheel. Luckily they stayed up right and I fell on my left side. I dusted myself off, luckily I just had really minor road rash. A couple of km later I realised that my front brake was rubbing, no biggie.
You would have thought that I learnt that I needed to pay attention. Everyone was being really good and communicating if they were slowing etc, next thing I know I hit the deck again with someone elses bike on top of me. I eventually sit on the side of the road and was just in floods of tears. I wasn’t crying due to pain. I was crying because I just felt so stupid. I know that it is just one of those things but to do it twice in one day. Unfortunately second time around was worse. I took the rider behind me out and picked up a collection of road rash and sliced the top of my little finger.
There are people who think that I should give up the bike, that I come off it more than most. Friends and colleagues think that I need to get stabilizers and duck defenders attached to my bike. The thing is even when I am having bad moments and want to throw my bike at the nearest brick wall smashing it into a million pieces, I know that I won’t. Why won’t I? Cycling makes me feel alive. In cycling I have found a sport that I love, whether it is being out on the bike, reading autobiographies, reading about races or looking at bike porn.
Cycling may involve bad tan-lines, road rash, heat rash, sweating, stressing, pain, injuries, missing friends parties, a large amount of time & money, flies and growing muscles (according to my colleagues women shouldn’t have muscles and that my calf muscles are just wrong). However give me any (or all of these) any day as I am now a participant in my own life, not just a spectator.