Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Regarding bodily injury

As it turns out, I'm good to go. No breakage, only bruising and some aching, especially my hand. By now almost nothing. It's nice to know you can fall past fifty and not break into a million pieces. I hope that continues. Not the falling, the surviving part. Gotta keep taking those calcium pills, just in case. Every morning, every night. No shrinking bones for this girl.

There's only so much you can do, though. You can wear all the safety equipment known to man but you can't live in a glass bubble. I'm not giving up my bicycle ways as long as I can still move.

On the other hand, at least I'm not out there climbing some damn mountain, wearing a sign that says "kill me" like certain friends of mine. Get a clue people. Notice how no one lives up there? Ever wonder why? Not fit for humans, perhaps? Don't come crying to me when you fall into a crevasse. Duh. I coulda told you that would happen. In fact I did tell you. I've told all my friends of that ilk. But oh no, let's go put ourselves in mortal danger when we could be curled up in front of the fireplace at home with a good book. Next thing you know it's all over the news and millions of dollars are being spent and still more lives being risked in order to rescue them. And all your loved ones are suspended in cruel agony while they await the outcome.

And then of course there's bungie-jumping. You won't trust your car to a mechanic without all the credentials and references in the world, but you'll hand over fifty bucks to some 22-year old stranger, for the service of tying a large rubber band around your feet and presumably making sure it's not too long, so that you can dive head first off a cliff. Can the guy do knots? Can he do math? Does he know to figure in that if you're heavier than the last guy, you're going to want a shorter rubber band? Does anyone know how much that rubber band has been used already?

Woe. I didn't mean to get off on such a rant. Getting back to cycling, I have a survey question for you other bikers out there. This is my fifth wipe-out since I started this bike commuting malarkey three years ago. Do you think that's high? I guess what I really want to know (or do I?) is: "Is it me? Or is it just.... the way it is out there?" (Couch potatoes need not reply.)


At 10:44 PM, Blogger Dale said...

I haven't *quite* come off since I starting cycling a couple years ago, but I'm not commuting regularly -- only riding three or four times a week. I'm very cautious and rather slow.

At 6:30 PM, Blogger fool said...

i fell once while tooling around town, got a trip in the ambulance to the hospital where they sewed me up. no permanent damage. same happened when i was 15. neither of those spills was anyone else's fault or even involved--just me go boom at 20-30mph.

At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to stop counting my serious falls around age 17, as there were just too many; very few lasting injuries, though. As time progresses, I seem to do so much more rarely, as I get more savvy and cautious, and in less of a hurry. Some things remain the same, though - it is always a possiblilty, and it is always good to be able to fall without allowing it to be a catastrophe. Practice makes perfect, and I've had plenty of that; I try to keep my meetings with the ground as freindly as possible. Val

At 3:46 PM, Anonymous todd said...

i've fallen 4 times in the last 5 years. wasn't hurt beyond a scrape any time. i ride every day. in the nineties i fell more often. i broke my wrist and my elbow on separate occasions. i have always, always been doing something semi-stupid when i've fallen, out of joy. these days i exercise joy more judiciously. i am reasonably certain that the risk of me falling and getting hurt when i'm being careful is negligible.

brommie on wet leaves: bad combo, yeah. sorry.

At 5:35 PM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Todd: brommie on bad leaves, bad combo? NOW you tell me. Now, why is that? Can you explain the physics of it in two sentences?

At 7:02 PM, Anonymous todd said...

little hard wheels have short, small contact patches that more easily slip on leaves than the longer, larger contact patches of larger wheels.

also, the light, zippy, precise handling of the brompton has a flip side: anything that's gonna happen is gonna happen fast.

you can compensate partially by running lower pressure to make a bigger contact patch. but more important is technique. avoid leaning the bike into turns when the surface is slippery. no sudden swerves. smoooth. get your butt off the saddle, keep the bike upright, and slowly steer through the turn. if you start to slip, immediately let the bike drift straight.

At 8:29 PM, Anonymous todd said...

o but the biggest thing is, when the bike lane is strewn with leaves, it isn't a bike lane anymore. ride in the right wheel track of the (motor vehicle) lane, preferably calmer streets!


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