Monday, January 28, 2008

Ice Queen for a Day

Saturday morning as I left my house a heavy mist began to fall. The temperature felt at least ten degrees warmer than the previous few days. Cold snap must be over, I thought. Hence my utter shock when my bike slipped out from under me like a bar of soap as I turned a gradual curve out of the Gresham Transit Center.

I must’ve been going all of two miles an hour, but smacked the pavement as if I’d fallen from the sky. I grabbed my poor head, hoping my brain had not come detached from its shell, and just lay there for two or three minutes. I could swear it bounced a couple of times. Like before, I doubt I’d be sitting here writing this had I not been wearing a helmet. And it would’ve been so easy to leave it in my bike basket where it sits during the train ride and think, “Never mind, I’m just going a little way.” It’s only a few blocks to where I work, and I take a route with very little car traffic. But I’m in the habit of installing it on my head and so that’s what I did. It’s like when you put your seat belt on for the simple task of backing your car out of the driveway – you just do it automatically.

Most of my head-bangers have happened in such benign circumstances that it makes me wonder if I should wear a helmet for walking down the street. Do other people wipe out this much? This is about my fourth time in two and half years of daily riding. How are those odds? Does that make me accident prone, or average?

I soon realized I was lying on a sheet of ice and getting cold. So I began to collect myself -- picking up various body parts and snapping them back on. Two or three cars rolled by slowly as I strategized the extraction of my bruised up legs from the bike frame. Did they see me? How could they not? A friendly “Are you ok?” hollered out a car window would’ve been a nice gesture. They probably saw that I was getting up and assumed I was fine. Which I was, really.

When I finally stood up, I discovered that the world was my skating rink. Walking was not easier than riding. Finally I opted to get back on my bike and ride on the asphalt streets where the car tires had been. It seems that concrete ices up worse than blacktop.

Aches roamed around in my head for the next ten hours or so, but nothing a few little red pills couldn’t frighten away. But Sunday morning I woke up with a whiplashed neck, and a map of the South Pacific along the left side of my body. A trip to the neck repair shop might be in order.


At 11:21 PM, Anonymous fool said...

yay for helmets! i have the one that saved my life hanging in the living room. lest we forget =)

i had a similar low-speed wipeout on the ice recently and decided to buy some studded tires. wish i'd done so before this morning! i avoided another wipeout only by going glacially slow and being lucky in the spacing of the traffic.


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