I fell off my bicycle last night.
I’ve been trying to ride my bike twice a day, just after sunrise and before sunset. I used to go walking at those times, pushing two of our grandchildren in their stroller, but problems with my right foot put a stop to that. So I switched to cycling and have enjoyed it immensely. Of course, I doubt I will still feel that way once the Michigan winter starts!
Anyway, back to my fall.
I was riding towards home on the busiest street in the Lansing area. (Over 700 accidents last year, which works out at 2 a day!) I was actually on the sidewalk going against traffic, but that can still be quite daunting as there are so many streets to cross and it was peak-time traffic.
When I got to cross one side street, there were three cars waiting for a red light. The “Walk” light was not in my favor, nor was the first car which had moved forward almost to the main road. There was no room for me to cross, so I decided to go down the side road and head home a different way. I then changed my mind and decided to cross the side street behind the three cars and get back on to the main sidewalk home.
When I had crossed the road, I had to do a sharp turn onto a sidewalk that fronted a KFC parking lot. As I turned, my bike gave way under me and I fell with quite a thud onto my hindquarters, with one leg under the bike and the other one over it. This fall from grace took place in front of three occupied vehicles, one of which was waiting in the “Drive Thru” line for her food.
Not one of these drivers offered to help me. Not one of the three even pulled down their car window to ask if I was ok.
I can only conclude that regular visitors to Kentucky Fried Chicken are unfamiliar with the concept of exercise. That goes double for those using the drive-thru! They must, therefore, have concluded I must be a vagrant up to no good. There have been a lot of hold-ups on that particular road – one pizza place even closed as they were being held up on a regular basis.
After a few minutes, I was able to get myself up again and straddle my bike, making it home in one piece a little later. I have a gash near my chest where I fell on the bike handlebars, but nothing else, for which I’m thankful.
I always carry a phone in my pocket in case of such incidents, but did not use it, preferring to take care of myself and get home without bothering anybody else.
The incident brought back memories of my teenage years when I fell off my bike more than once. I had to ride to school and back every day, about five miles, uphill both ways! This included a stretch on a major road. This was in England, where you can’t ride on the sidewalk. Having said that, English drivers are more considerate of cyclists as they are not such a rare sight.
No matter what the weather, we were expected to ride to school – in short pants, no less, until we became teenagers. In freezing cold weather the short pants do not protect from the cold. It was quite painful. Perhaps it was intended to make more people move to Australia – you could get there for ten pounds back then. Two of my cousins went and never came back.
Every bike ride makes me feel good. It’s not just the exercise value. It’s also very relaxing. I will miss my bike during the endless months of winter. I will continue to ride whenever I can, but I don’t think I will brave the snow and ice, even in long sweat pants. Rain doesn’t bother me, but ice does and there’s plenty of that here in the frozen north.
If I’m to continue daily bike riding, I need a few months in Arizona, or, better still, Australia, where the sun will shine on me each time I go out. Still, I can’t complain. It’s late September and the weather here in Michigan is still nice and warm – I’m still riding in a T-shirt.
But I don’t think it will last.
P.S.: I just learned the gas station I pass on my rides – one block away from KFC – was held up again this afternoon, in broad daylight. Maybe I need to change my route!