About Falling Down

I’m not much of a daredevil You won’t catch me skydiving (well okay, if I’m skydiving someone should try to catch me), climbing rocks or swimming across the English Channel. I like to ride a bike, sometimes I like to ride one about as fast as I can, especially if I’m headed down a big hill and gravity is my friend (unlike skydiving, where gravity is NOT your friend). So I don’t mean to scare you in this post, I just want to be honest with you:

It’s pretty much a given that if you ride a bike you are going to fall off. I crashed 3 or 4 times when I started riding and once again more recently. On two of the occasions I’ve hit my head and my helmet saved my life. The scariest time was my most recent crash when I took a wet curve too quickly and my bike slipped out from under me. I felt my head hit the pavement, at first I thought I must have somehow hit the part of my head that was beneath my helmet’s visor, but upon further investigation, I realized that my helmet had cracked, breaking my fall. Road bikes tires don’t have tread, they aren’t really designed to displace water, so riding when its wet outside requires extra care.

The worst wreck I’ve seen was in a large group ride when someone went down and took several people with her, I had been riding next to this person before the crash and had intentionally backed away because I was concerned that she was talking too much and not paying enough attention to the road and the rest of the peloton. For once, I was right, yet I took no joy in seeing the injuries of the people around me, it was a bad day for all, if a slightly lucky one for me.

One of the things I like most about road biking is that it requires you to be fully present. Listening to your music through your earbuds is not only illegal, it’s stupid (best left to your sessions on the stationary bike). You need to be able to hear and see everything that might affect your ride; and after a while you develop a 6th sense about drivers, squirrels, and dogs.

Is the chance of falling off my bike enough that it keeps me off my bike? No, it’s not; but I will concede that if I were fragile at all (like suffering an illness or recovering from surgery) I would be inclined to ride a bike with bigger, knobbier tires and with a little more stability. One of the great things about riding a bike is that there are so many different ways to enjoy it and some people are just happier and more comfortable at lower speeds.

Falling down is, at least to me, a risk I am willing to live with because of the pure joy I get from taking a nice, long ride. Usually (although not always) I can manage the ride in such a way as to minimize the chance of falling over. I’d rather get hurt riding my bike than die of boredom in the safety of my couch, but I’m still not going skydiving!



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