I got my first two wheel bike when I was six or seven. My uncle found it broken down in an alley and fixed it up it for me. It was an original ‘fixie’ – no brakes, the pedals just kept going. I flew all around the neighborhood on it for years.
I got my first real bike – one with 26 inch wheels – when I was 10. Santa Claus brought it and because we had a cold snowy winter in 1950 here in Chicago I wasn’t able to ride it outside for a month. So, you can see that I have pretty much spent my life behind bars – handle bars.
It has been nearly a month since my oral surgery on April 11. You can read the details here. I have been clocking my recovery since then. In the past week I managed a couple of 30 mile days, so I had pretty much concluded that my body finally made it back to normal. My night’s sleep had returned to around the usual seven hours from more extended hours, too. Continue reading
You never heard of a stealth injury? Read on.
I had a bad fall riding my bike Sunday morning. It was raining here in Chicago and I was rolling over wet pavement. I have done this thousands of times and understand that you need to slow down in these conditions. I did slow down, too, just not enough. As a result I went flying off the bike on a really slow turn as the tires lost traction on the wet street. Picking myself up painfully from the asphalt, I saw Mark Twain’s famous quote on biking ticker tape before my eyes – “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it – if you live.”
A wonderful fun ride over dry pavement on another day.
My brief flight ended with me landing squarely on my hands and knees. Thankfully, my biking gloves protected my hands from dirt and glass on the street surface. My knees didn’t fare nearly as well. Both knees were filthy and a bit bloody.
I got myself home and cleaned off the street grit from my knees. I also washed them with antibacterial soap to prevent any infection. So I looked like a little kid with two skinned knees. My girlfriend helped me get them both bandaged up to protect the open wounds.
Alternatively, my hands looked just fine. I got the street dirt and grease washed off and nothing showed. I had lunch and walked the dog. I found myself kind of dreading riding again because I found myself fearing another fall. Not wanting to ‘chicken out’, I decided to ride one of my other bikes, so I could take the dog along.
And that’s when I discovered my stealth injuries. It proved nearly impossible to hold on to the handlebars because it hurt my hands so much to put any pressure on them. Keep in mind that when riding a bike, you lean forward and probably 10 to 30 percent of your body weight is carried by – your hands. Although I only weigh in the mid 150s, it was really painful to hold on to the handlebars. I found myself adjusting my hands to reduce the pressure on the injuries in my palms. After about five minutes of this, I came to the conclusion that I was sowing the seeds of another fall. It is not smart to try to balance and steer in less than the most efficient manner. I turned the bike around and went home. This morning, my hands were still very tender and I didn’t take the bike out at all.
I thought it ironic that my banged up knees looked bad, but had no influence on my ability to ride at all. On the other hand, my hands which looked perfectly fine, made it impossible to ride safely without excruciating pain. Truly stealth injuries.
I stumbled across a man about my age lying bleeding in the alley with his bicycle on the ground a few feet away. His eyeglasses scattered in smithereens on the ground. A young man approached me looking distraught and asked if I would mind watching the victim, his father, while he went to get his car so he could take him to the ER at the hospital. I agreed.
First of all this was unnerving to see a man around my age who had obviously been biking lying on the ground a bloody mess. The words, there but for the grace of god … rolled through my mind. I ride my bike in this same place every day of my life.
Here I am making circuits on Chicago’s Northerly Island bike path avec pooch.
I inventoried his condition. A gash about 1-1/2 inches above his eye bleeding that was going to need at least a dozen stitches. Obviously, his face had hit the alley. Both hands bloody and dirty with pieces of broken glass and other debris obvious. His elbow was also bleeding. I was dying to ask how it happened, but didn’t want to disturb him as he lay there in obvious pain.
It wasn’t long before his son came and helped him into the car. They locked up the bike on a nearby rail. Continue reading
I fell while riding my bike last week and got hurt, so I thought it might be worthwhile to write about the accident, how/why it happened, and, most importantly, what you can do to prevent having it happen to you.
As I have said previously, my pleasure in riding my bicycle is, literally, the act of riding itself. I don’t ride to sightsee. I don’t ride to get any place. I may do those things incidentally, but they aren’t the reason I ride my bike every day I can in a four season city like Chicago.
For me riding a bicycle is a combination of swimming and flying through the air. My legs doing the pedaling feel like I am swimming while my body rushing through the air is distinctly flying. So, I usually feel like I am swimming at a high speed through the air.
Wet sidewalk from rain or runoff
I rode hundreds of miles last year in a huge parking lot that has a circumference of about a half mile. When it was empty I simply rode around it over and over … and loved every minute of it.