Thursday, September 28, 2006

Cyclist attempting to run over own self is attacked by sidewalk

I’ve been practicing my turns lately. Not ordinary turns, but super tight turns. In case I ever want to get a job in the circus. I would think that would be the baseline -- the first thing they’d ask at the interview: how small can you turn on that thing? When I discovered I could make it all the way down the hairpin zig-zag wheelchair ramp over at the Hollywood Max station without touching a foot to the ground, I knew I had talent. So naturally I’ve been developing that as much as possible. Who wouldn't?

Yesterday I was downtown, waiting to cross 9th Avenue on my way to the post office. I approached the intersection from the nice wide sidewalk there, which was free of pedestrians. With so much space I decided rather than come to a complete stop, I would do one of my little spinny-spins. By the time I was back around, it would be time to glide right on across without even having to break my flow.

I have no idea what I did wrong. Maybe I just reached the smallness threshold of my turns. Whatever it was, I hope my body remembers it so this won’t happen next time. The right side of my head hit the sidewalk with such a loud whack that I was sure I’d split my helmet. It’s kind of hard to describe in mere words the force of the impact I felt. Let me just say that if a friend hit me in the head with a frying pan that hard? I would totally end the friendship immediately.

So you get the idea. Hard. I can still feel a sort of smacked sensation on that area of my head today. I’m glad I made it through the night, frankly. Not to seem overly preoccupied, but I had this neighbor, a perfectly strong and fit man in his early sixties, the very picture of health, who slipped on some loose gravel on a slightly inclined path, hit the back of his head, thought it was no big deal, and he died during the night. So if I seem like a hypochondriac it’s because I’ve seen those kinds of stories in real life about people I’ve personally known.

As for the rest of my body, scrapes and bruises on my knee, shoulder, and hip on the right side that hit the sidewalk, and bruises and small cuts along my left shinbone which must have come from my pedal or something. All that from practically a standing still position. Oh well, it’s nice to know that I can sustain a fall without breaking into a million pieces.

But here’s my most important point: No more riding without a helmet just because I’m only going two blocks down a quiet residential street. Now that I’ve discovered I can slaughter myself all on my own without another vehicle in sight, I’m a changed woman. Plus I’m finding another way to dry my hair.


At 12:45 PM, Anonymous rlk said...

This goes in the oopsy-daisy column, alright; and am glad you're okay!

Please do consider getting another helmet, as mine, though it's not a super expensive one, came with instructions (I know, I know) to replace it if absorbed any significant blows, and it sounds like yours surely did.

Keep safe kiddo!

At 2:22 PM, Blogger vj said...

Bike Gallery has Nutcase helmets in that are might cool looking, and cheap(ish). It's always good to replace your helmet if you go down... the helmet's replaceable, your brain isnt'.

And the new larger type rocks!

(again, I don't work for Nutcase or BG, I'm just a happy customer)

At 10:56 AM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Are y'all sure that buy-a-new-one thing isnt' just for motorcycle helmets? Darn thing cost me $80 and I can't see a scratch on it, inside or out. Isn't it just really dense styrofoam? Wouldn't I be able to see damage if it were there? Someone please write in and say Naaah, it's fine, don't worry about it.

At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Liz said...

Sadly what they say is true there Kate, and actually I wanted to view/post comments to extend my caution about your helmet as well. For your safety you should really get a new one. Even though it is dense styrofoam there is damage that has occured to your helmet that you will never be able to see with your naked eyes, or without dissecting it. Here is a link for you with some info on helmet replacement:

I got a very cool $30 Giro girls style vented helmet...very comfy, very nice looking, and best of all, when I need to replace it, I won't have to worry about "throwing away" $100. Just because they are spendy, expensive helmets don't necessarily protect you better or give you very much improved features. Good luck on finding your next heady friend!

BTW- I got your card via. the Rusty Cup coffee shop in Astoria, OR where I work and I LOVE this blog you are doing here. It is incredibly insightful and informative and I appreciate the information you are sharing here. I am a bike enthusiast and I am trying to keep in good habit and shape by cycling as I do not own a car and care not to. I will be moving to portlanf to transfer schools in two years, so I lo forward to hearing more of your experiences about biking around the city and other places. Keep up the good work and miles! :)

At 11:52 AM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Thank you Liz, for your informational input, and I'll definitely check out that helmet site. It's nice to know that handing out my little cards actually works. And I'll be posting something about the Rusty Cup, probably this week, so keep an eye out. I'm glad my site is useful to you as a future resident of Portland. All cyclists welcome.

At 3:09 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Great writing! You had me laughing from the title all the way to the last paragraph. I'm glad you're ok though!

How'd we survive as kids without helmets?

At 3:36 PM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Thanks for the compliment on my writing, Jeff. I like writing even better than riding.

How DID we survive as kids without helmets? Coincidentally, on the very same day as my accident (before it happened) I was wondering this same thing, and I was counting up the number of kids in my family who had their head sewn up at least once. Four out of the six of us.

Kids are always slaughtering themselves in some way. Sometimes I wonder if we should just all wear helmets all the time. The human skull was never built for all this.


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