I'm just going to warn you now - The next two photos I shot of my bandages/injuries is pretty gross. Don't scroll down if that's the sort of thing that is going to make you hurl and never come back again!
I promise beauty and fun will return to the blog very soon, more along the lines of cherry print bathing suits while sunning at the Legislature, like I was doing last week.
Don and I had decided to ride our bikes down to Fort Edmonton with Dexter, for a family fun-filled day (and on my birthday too). I've ridden that route several times before, and I didn't think anything of it. After all, I've been riding my bike almost every single day.
The incident had nothing to do with cars or intersections. I was going downhill on a multi-use trail (there is a switchback and then a descent) and let's just say I accelerated quickly. I wasn't even pedalling! After straightening out from a curve at the bottom of the hill, my front wheel clipped a little rock. There was a weird wheel-wobble (like when you hit a patch of sand or slushy snow) and because of the speed there was not even a moment to correct the wobble. My handlebars torqued 90 degrees to the right and I was thrown from the bike.
I was on the Amsterdam and wearing my helmet. I recall the impact (OUCH) and then some subsequent rolling/skidding. It's a cliché, but it happened really fast. At no point did I lose consciousness, I just remember breathing and thinking, "That's a good sign, you're alive." My helmet suffered notable impact on both sides. My right thumb really hurt so I lifted up my arm to look at it and noticed the skin was scraped off the webbing between my thumb and forefinger. Yuck. I decided to put it down and stopped looking at it. Then I looked at my leg and saw there was a whole lot of asphalt stuck in my shin. Ew.
Don was riding ahead of me with Dexter in the Madsen. They were completely fine! When he noticed I wasn't there anymore, Don turned around and came back to see what was up. He rode up and said, "Oh my... that is some road rash."
Dexter said, "Hi Mama!"
Since we were on a wacky non-through-traffic path we figured an ambulance would take forever to find us. With Don's assistance I got up. And I used my bike (which seems miraculously fine) as a walker to walk back up the hill to the house. Then we transferred to the car and drove to emergency where they were very good and kind to me.
So I have road rash on both my elbows, my left knee, and my left shin. My right thumb has a torn tendon so it's going to live in a splint for a while, but the hand doctor said there is no need for surgery - phew!
All in all I am just very relieved it wasn't worse and the lesson I am coming away with is that speed highly increases the likelihood of accidents. Bicycles are not dangerous. The way I usually ride (leisurely, residentially) isn't risky or dare-devil at all. The crazy speed I had happening on that river valley trail was an anomaly. Note to self: I am not young anymore!
Take a look at my bandaged arm.
And the leg. The abrasions on the thigh are actually the very minor scratches.
So I have a lot of mixed feelings.
I feel really stupid and keep re-imagining what happened in an attempt to think of what I could have done to prevent the tumble. My conclusion is: don't ride so fast!
This has been a humbling experience. I am missing my freedom of mobility. I'm battered and bruised and limpy and slow. It hurts a lot, and it sucks.
But I'm getting better every day. And if I wasn't in good health to begin with I wouldn't even be able to get up without assistance. All sorts of funky muscles are compensating for the parts of my body that don't move properly, and I am thankful I have relatively strong muscles because of my cycling.
The experience has reminded me to slow down. It's good to take it easy.
We have already dropped off the Amsterdam to get looked at by the bike dudes. With my right thumb in a splint I can't brake properly so I want to ride the Amsterdam again so I can use the coaster brake. I will not attempt riding at all until my left leg can bend normally and until I see the hand doctor and get fixed up with a less gigantic splint.
I do not think biking is dangerous. And if we're talking transportation then I still think that bikes are less dangerous than cars. Yes, I had an unfortunate bike accident. I am human! Though it's awful that I fell off my bike, it does little to change my beliefs about active transportation. In fact, my proximity to the train is what has been keeping me mobile since I'm too gimpy to drive. Even without wheels, my train is just a hobble up the street.
Am I the only person who has taken a tumble? Please tell me I'm not the only one!
I'll keep you all updated on my recovery - I am hopeful it will all happen in good time. Until then, ride safe and relaxed, and take care of yourselves!