Capital Ex!

July 31, 2011

Since the tumble, it has been more difficult to lug around my big camera. I can only photograph when I use two hands! In place of it, I have been using my old little point and shoot. For this post of our outing to Capital Ex I have also supplemented with the odd instagram from Sable (like the photo above).

My gimpy leg and I went, via train, to the fair.

We got our carb fix in the form of poutine.

We visited the displays put out by the Canadian Armed Forces, and it seems I am still capable of carrying an 85 pound pack!

I gave the rides a pass and opted for strolling.

Don insisted we get the best value and acquired 5 bags of mini doughnuts for $10.

Lots of big stuffed animal winners.

Various entertainment.

And games!

Then a hobble up the stairs, back on the train, and back home to rest.

I am relieved that being off the bike doesn't immediately equal being housebound. The train picks up where my bike left off!

The Epic Tumble.

July 30, 2011

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!

Birthday Party!

July 29, 2011

Oh me oh my, that's the excited look of Sarah unwrapping a present at this week's birthday party!

Notice my hand wrapped up in a splint? I am unhappy to report that I spent the first half of my birthday in the emergency room at the hospital, after suffering an epic wipe out first thing that morning. I'm working on an entire post about this humbling (and painful) experience, so you'll get a full account soon enough. For now I'll just say that speed, downhill incline (steep) and a little rock were the main culprits. It had nothing to do with traffic or cars. Purely a freak accident while I was on a recreational multi-use trail.

I have some pretty epic road rash. And oh, it hurts and it sucks!

But I still felt like attending my birthday party. So I went.

Best friend Crystal offered to cut up my food.

Everybody looked so nice and shiny, it helped distract from the stinging lack of skin on my legs and elbows.

People had food and drink (WAH - no prosecco for me)

And Lisa no longer smelled of campfire like the day before.

Dave looks like he wanted the camera pointed elsewhere.

And Raffaella helped me snap better photos, since my camera hand is defunct.

Chrissy! My best friend since grade 1. She is a doctor and even came over the next day to properly change my dressings. She gives me so much love.

Tom and Liana both say, "hey"

And after much telling and retelling of my epic bike tumble, it was time to peace out along with Adam.

People keep asking me if I'll blog about my wipeout, and I too wondered if it would be a good idea. I mean, who wants to listen to a girl with road rash talk about bike riding? But I'm still going to do it! The freak circumstances on my ride that morning are totally unlike my usual routes. And although it was a horrible tumble, it's an isolated incident and probably even less common than getting rear-ended while driving a car. I realize it doesn't inspire confidence to say that even experienced cyclists wipe out, but taking a spill just... happens. Sorry I couldn't paint a pretty picture about this.

Suffice to say, all my friends were very loving and encouraging upon seeing gimpy Miss Sarah. And even though I didn't bike to my party (carpool!), I was so pleased to see many a friend arrive on foot, or with their helmets strapped onto their bags. The dream is still alive even though I am on the mend!

Capital Ex Parade.

July 28, 2011

Last Thursday I had the sunniest bike ride all over town. It started with attending the Capital Ex parade in a new polkadot dress!

Leanne came too.

And Sable.

We found a nice spot on the bleachers and met up with Dexter (who had come separately via train).

Then it was time to enjoy marching bands!


Crazy super bikes.


Monster tracks.

Leanne and Nielsen cheer!

The sun did a number on us, so it was time to cool off with cold drinks and taco treats at Tres Carnales.

This little girl was rad.

My guacamole y totopos was the bomb.

Later, Leanne and I went to 124 Street to scope out Hellas Foods for a future cookbook adventure, and we stopped off to rest at the Duchess.

And we sampled their seasonal macaron flavours.

Then another sunny ride back to the Southside! It's fun to hug your friends as you say hello and goodbye, but there is a kind of beauty when you both come to an intersection on the way home and simply turn in opposite directions (east for Leanne, west for me) while waving and yelling, "See you later!"

It feels so retro, like when I used to ride home after school with my friends.

Elk Island and Lamont.

July 27, 2011

Last weekend I didn't do any biking since I was camping at Elk Island!

The weekend looked like this:

And while we were in Lamont for supplies we happened upon their Main Street parade.

I enjoyed it all with a drumstick.

It was the best parade of the three I have seen this year! Notice the little baby dad is holding while driving the tractor? Classic!

And the other kid-operated tractors.

This guy was thoroughly impressive!

The town of Lamont was adorable and quaint. I even scored a brass pegasus statue at the thrift store that now sits on top of my piano.

Oh, and there was a chili cook off.

And a pancake breakfast and mini fair.

Little cowboy kids.

A fair.

Back in the national park there was nature walking.

Lovely dragonflies that eat mosquitos.


And piggy backs through the marshy portions. Apparently I am the last person on the planet who does not own hiking shoes.

It was a great weekend in the outdoors!

And it felt really good to come home and take a shower.

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