Stuff I Know

Just stuff by me about me and my life, such as it is.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


A word of advice for bicycle safety. Always keep two hands on the bicycle handlebars at all times.

I went riding Sunday, the 4th. It was pretty chilly, so as I was zooming along, I lifted one hand to adjust my sleeve to keep out the cold. Just then, suddenly, a pothole appeared in the road right in front of me. OK, so maybe the pothole was always there, but it certainly was an inopportune moment to encounter it. Had both hands been on the handlebars I am pretty sure I could have ridden through it. However with one hand off the bump was enough to spin the front wheel nearly perpendicular to the direction of travel. And thanks to Newton, since the bike was no longer moving me forward, I had to go forward somehow.

I assume from a different point of view, it probably looked pretty interesting. Maybe like Superman on a low level flight along the road. But from my perspective it was pretty damn scary. I managed to land pretty flatly on my chest and hips, and thanks to my right hand and elbow I was able to keep my face out of the pavement. Of course the bike continued moving forward too and ended up tangled in my legs. I was surprised how quickly I was able to stand up and shake it off. After all, I am no longer a spring chicken.

From a general perspective, I think the worst part of any bike crash that you can get up and walk away from is the humiliation you feel knowing others just saw you execute a face plant. Luckily there was only one car that saw me fly/fall. I guess it did look pretty bad, too, because I could see the grimace on the driver's face as he went by in the other lane.

After picking up my bike and doing a quick assessment ... Yes all the fingers were still there, no major skin losses I could see (though the elbow started to bleed a bit later), and luckily enough, the bike was still in good condition. I think what saved me was the fact that I was bundled up rather thickly due to the cold. I am not sure how I lost the skin on my elbow without tearing the sleeve and at the same time shredding my glove yet not suffering a single scrape on my hand. My knee hurt a bit, but I just figured that was par for the course for a fall like that.

Since I hand only just started the ride, and everything was still working (the bike and me included) I hopped back on and went riding for another 2-3 hours. About a half hour or so later, though, I came to realize the picture wasn't so rosy. I could feel my elbow bleeding. I figured it couldn't be that bad and looking at it would only make me feel bad, so I let the sleeve eventually stop the blood. The knee was another matter. It started to hurt a lot more, especially when I stopped pedalling. As long as I was pedalling, the pain wasn't so bad. So, I just continued with the ride. In the crash, I smashed my knee on either the bike or the road. I still don't know which.

Despite the cold, the crash, and the knee pain it was actually a pretty nice ride. The valleys and "canyons" I rode up into where pretty nice. Some nice countryside that I am sure is nicer in the spring. If you look at the map you can see it was an out and back trip. The road did actually dead-end there at the southernmost point. The place where the pothole is located is marked by the skull. If you ever ride that road, be wary of that location.

The ride ended without any further incident. But after getting home I was able to see, and feel, how bad my knee was. There was some swelling, but nothing scary. The worst part was, now that my leg was straight most of the time, any attempt to bend it was met with incredible pain. Monday was terrible because I had to walk between classes, up and down stairs, and sit at my desk. I realized I actually could bend my leg, but only if I did it very slowly. After some Googling I determined that since I could actually put weight on my leg, the kneecap was probably not cracked into pieces. But it certainly felt like it could be.

I decided that I should probably get an x-ray, but that I would wait to see if it gets any better. It is hard to adjust to the fact that you have health insurance when you have been living without it for so long. With no health insurance, only the most serious incidents send you to the hospital or doctor. And even now that I do have health insurance, I am still hesitant to use it.

Even though my knee is a bit better, I will still go get an x-ray. It hurts enough at times to make me wonder what happened. I'll go Friday and let you know what I find out. Wish me luck.


At 7:31 PM, Blogger Omni said...

I hope your knee's not BROKEN!! :-O

(Click here if you dare)


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