Since I have been riding my road bike for almost a year, and enjoying it immensly I might add, I did what most bikers do and upgraded my pedals from the cage to the clip-in type. And what a whirlwind ride it has been.
Since that time, I have literally fallen over with my bike a couple of times. It is not like falling off a cliff, but when stopped not getting your feet out of the pedals fast enough to keep from tiping over. As with pedal cages, clip-ins can be adjusted tight or loose and I think mine were to tight. Also, the outward heel motion needed to un-clip, as I found out today, was hindered by my left knee feeling a little numb from a back injury several years ago. It is a rookie mistake and one that I was told upfront that I would make—every biker does. I thought I could surely beat the odds—instead I got a beat up leg and a thumb that I think took a beating as well.
It is the wierdest sensation knowing that you are going to fall and can’t do anything about it. It is like a two second slow motion movie and then you hit the asphalt and hurt at the same time. Of course your feet come out at this point and the bike is on top of you.
After I fell, Glenn and I finished our ride (another 14 miles) and when we quit my leg was beginning to feel a little stiff around the knee. It was a little bloody and the scrapes were filled with little rocks, but I made it home and put some ice on it and some Arnica gel and this morning it was still stiff but not damaged beyond a few days repair.
I took my bike to the shop and had them look it over and tighten a few things and adjust the tension of the clips and I am ready to get back on and ride.
Am I a little apprehensive—you bet! I have gone from no accidents to two almost over night. I feel a little more vulnerable that I did before and maybe that is the more realistic approach to riding or anything with a measure of danger attached to it. Had I become complacent. Maybe so. But as in life, I can’t let the fear of maybe falling keep me from doing what has come to be such a blessing.
I sure didn’t want to get back in the saddle right after my last tip over. Knowing in your mind what is theoretically possible and feeling the results first hand are really two different things. When the riding is easy, it is all about the theory—when it gets tough—it is all about the fear of future pain.
As Graham Cooke would say, we often experience “Suddenlies” in life. After a suddenly occurs, nothing is ever the same—nor can it be. Whether it is a car wreak, a gunshot or a small bike injury, the way we look at the world changes. What we do with how it now looks determines the success and enjoyment of our ride.
You pray for mine and I will pray for yours. It is all I have to give at this point.