Saturday, September 15, 2007

Like riding a bike

To tell you the truth, I never really liked riding a bike. When we were little, sometimes Amy would ride her bike and I would jog along beside. I just never felt all that comfortable on two wheels. Over the years, I’ve managed to increase my comfort level, but the problem is, I am just not very good at it. I do pretty well on Iris II—my “hybrid” bike (it has intermediate tires), but my road bike…that’s a different story.

A few years ago, Rob found me the teeniest, tiniest, fastest little road bike with the skinniest tires you can imagine. I call her Ida May. She kind of terrifies me, because her light weight makes her more difficult for me to control, plus, you can get going really fast really quickly on this super skinny bike. Despite my fears, I’ve taken Ida on some pretty tough rides, including up (and down) the tallest mountain in Tennessee. Don’t get too impressed though—I am not very good at it.

I haven’t ridden Ida May since we’ve been back from Nicaragua, and I’ve been growing ever more eager to do so. Yesterday I jumped at the chance when Rob told me that he and cousin Kevin were going for a ride after work, and I was welcome to join them. I had Rob make some last minute adjustments to Ida (including raising the seat), and off we went. Well, off they went. I actually fell off my bike while trying to start it—as I was coasting down the driveway. Hm, maybe that seat was too high afterall. Thankfully the guys didn’t see this, though they probably did wonder what was taking me so long to catch up to them. I’d landed squarely on my left knee in the mini-crash and to be quite honest, it was a little bloody and didn’t feel so great. I pushed it out of my mind best I could and just proceeded onward.

As we came to a 4-way stop on the way out of town, I realized that my feet were miles from the ground and in order to stop, I was going to have to leap off of the bike. I felt queasy. Luckily, we didn’t have to make a complete stop, and soon we were out on the open road. We kept going for a while, but I felt terrible. In fact, I had an intense desire to get off the bike and never ride again. I sidled up to Rob and said that I thought my seat was too high; he said no problem, we would stop and adjust it. So there I was, coming to a stop, when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to make it happen and I flew off the seat—landing very hard on the bike frame—before toppling over onto my left knee (for the second time). Ouch. At that point Rob realized that he did not have his Allen wrench with him, so my seat would have to stay where it was at. I was trying to play it cool, but believe me, I was in a considerable amount of pain. Five miles from home—what can you do? We looped around to head back to our place, and I struggled to pedal onward, into the driving wind. As we got back towards town, I became increasingly nervous about the 4-way stops and stop-lights we would encounter on our way in. Suppose I should have another unceremonious dismount and end up on the pavement in 4 lanes of traffic? I did not relish the thought.

Just about a quarter mile from home, I decided I had to get off the bike. So I pulled off and slowed myself to a stop—no problems, even graceful this time. I have no idea why the high seat and/or toe clips had proved problematic to me before, but I was just glad to be off the bike and within walking distance of home. I encouraged the guys to continue, so they ended up heading out for another loop while I hobbled home. I hadn’t thought that 2 slow-moving crashes could cause such damage, but—without getting too gory—I discovered that I had shed a fair amount of blood. I actually felt quite wretched, but that didn’t stop me from making dinner for everybody (okay, it was just black bean garden burgers), though all the while I wondered why it is the curse of my gender to feel the need to prepare food for others even after enduring 2 bike crashes and substantial blood loss.

I was hoping it would all be better in the morning, but I think I actually feel worse. My weekly bike trip to the farmers market is out, as is my plan for a 12-mile marathon training run. I’ll be as good as new soon enough, it will probably just take a couple of days. Thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...

.........Ahh, poor baby. I can certainly "feel" for you because I too am very short and have had my share of bike wrecks.
.........Hope your knee heals quickly so you can get back to tip-top shape for your marathon training.
.........Mom Scho

amypfan said...

This is funny, because you mention riding bikes with me when we were little, and I honestly cannot tell you the last time I was on one, except that it was pre-Bryn and that I was pretty pathetic at it. Ah, how times have changed. At any rate, I have recently taught Ben about the wonders of Neosporin covered by bandaids (following his most recent--and most grisly--softball injury), so I recommend that you do the same. :)

Anonymous said...

OH NO!!!!! I think you and Ida May should have an agreement that you will dust her off every once in a while and she won't ever have to go outside again!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so sorry about your upsets ... and hope your injuries heal quickly! Knees are a very important part of us. hugs, auntie

Anonymous said...

As usual, I found myself laughing out loud at your bike adventure. Do you think there might be something wrong with what I think is funny? It made me think of the time that my husband, Ken, decided to start riding his bike to work!!! I said, you haven't been on that thing for quite sometime, "No problem, he said". Took off out the drive and made the turn and just flew right off the bike!!!! I'm sorry, I had to laugh then also. I am glad to hear that you will be alright, but make sure the seat is adjusted right the next time. Ya Think?????
Always a good read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AND, I should probably add, I don't think I could even ride a bike anymore?

Aimee said...

I blame Ida May...or maybe you blame me. for other readers out there, I was Ida May's keeper while Melissa was gone and on my first--and only trip out--I had a slow moving accident as well. The other connection here is that little accident lead me to dang ho for wrist x-rays also...hmm.

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