The Accidental Cyclist (Literally…)

14 Oct

I am the accidental cyclist.  By that, I don’t mean that I accidentally got into cycling.  No, I mean that I, the girl who has never broken a bone or spent an overnight in the hospital, is prone to bike accidents.

A few weeks ago, I was biking home from work.  2 miles.  Pouring rain, wet asphalt.  So I biked cautiously and tried to stay away from cars that would spray water all over me. I wore a helmet.  And then…driving over some railroad ties, another cyclist who wasn’t wearing a helmet and who was biking at least 25 mph on slick pavement, lost control and slid into me.  I went down. My bike went down.  He and his bike landed on top of me.  I’m basically a professional buffer.  And my poor ankle landed on a screw sticking up from the railroad crossing.

Recap: Minding my own business, wearing protective gear, biking slowly.  End up with a hole in my ankle which has not felt pleasant during marathon training.

I am a freak magnet.
Sometimes it’s not even other cyclists but freak weather.

Do you know what’s worse than biking home in rush hour traffic after a very long work day?
Biking home in rush hour traffic when the fog rushes in and blinds you and then the wind blows you sideways (you can’t stay on your bike).
Do you know what’s worse than walking your bike home in freak fog and wind in rush hour traffic on a bridge?
When the torrential downpours and quarter-sized hail starts falling.
When yours arms start bleeding from the relentless hail.
You think “If I didn’t have a bike, I’d dive for safety into any of these cars stuck here on the bridge.”
You contemplate asking, begging, no forcing a stranger to give you a ride.

Do you know what’s worse than arm-bleeding-hail?
When the hail pounds so hard that it cracks your helmet.  All the way through to your skull.
And then you have to bike home looking like a carcass most people only see on the Discovery Channel.
And then the icing on the cake: finally home, finally dry and safe and warm, you have to carry your wounded self and your battered bike up to the third floor.

Do you know what’s worse than the story ending here?
The fact that the painful part of the story is over but not the embarrassing part.
Do you know what’s worse than standing, soaking wet, in your apartment front hall wiping off your bike, assessing the cracked helmet, and determining how to bandage yourself up?
Standing in your apartment hall with the aforementioned happening while wearing a towel (bike clothes are in a sodden pile on the floor) and wondering how to clean bloodstains off the wood floor when the fire alarm, triggered by massive flooding, goes off.

And you think “I’m the girl who stops at red lights and always returns my library books on time and pays my taxes.  But today, darn it all (except you think it a little stronger because you’re a little cranky and apparently your blood-sugar dripped onto the wood floor along with everything else) I am going to ignore this fire alarm!”
Do you know what is worse than ignoring fire alarms?
Pretty much nothing.   Staying in a room with a blaring fire alarm makes you go insane in about 20 seconds.
But there is one thing worse.

Staying in a room with a blaring fire alarm clad in a towel while looking like an Animal Planet Carcass can only be made (worse? better? worse?) by having two firemen enter your apartment to tell you that  you must evacuate.

And if you can think of anything worse, well, good luck with that.  This accidental cyclist is only now, a month later, finding anything remotely amusing about the memory.  And the amusement is still very remote.

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