Falling off my bike

Last night I fell off my bike. I was not really injured in the fall, but it would have been nicer (and I would have got home faster) if it did not happen.

How it came that I slipped and fell, I am not completely sure. I was going to go through a puddle, but had not been paying too much attention to the path in front of me. In part, I was annoyed with the cyclists in front of me. All my field of vision was taken up by the flashes of red, leaving my eyes struggling to make out the path and my surrounds in between the pockets of brightness which illumined nothing. For some reason, I thought it was silly to slop through the puddle as I did not know how deep it was (or what lay at its bottom), and perhaps I made a quick head check before swerving to my left, or perhaps I swerved left instead of right because I had not properly checked.

Whatever my reasons, justifications, excuses and actions may have been, the result was I had to try to right my bike. However, in the wet conditions, the muddy puddle on the side of the path offered no traction and my wheel failed to remount the bit of wood edging on the path’s side. Going so slowly, I hopped on a foot once or twice before meeting muddy puddles, a bit of lawn, and some of the asphalt path.

Falling off the side of the path, and that the path was probably shared with riders much more skilled at staying on their bikes than I proved to be, probably contributed to nobody being wiped out behind me. A man decked out in serious cycling gear pulled up alongside me. I said I was alright, apologised, thanked him for stopping, told him I was alright again as I set my bike right and thanked him again. He wished me a safe trip and rode off.

This has not been the first time I have fallen off my bike. Thinking back on the other two times I can remember, both of them involved riding slowing on the edge of the road. Each time I was riding so slowly, so close to the edge, my tyre got caught in a narrow gap and would not bounce out of it, sending my bike tipping over and me going with it- hopping a step in front. The only real accident I had, I did not fall off. I was going slowly and a van door opened in my head. In each of these accidents, the biggest risk was becoming an obstacle that other cyclists or vehicles might not evade.

Perhaps there are some skills I could learn to bounce out of these gaps? Perhaps if I had a different bike my wheels would not get stuck? Perhaps if I payed more attention I would not have ended up in these situations in the first place?


One Response to “Falling off my bike”

  1. MMRMTL » The Social Life of Floods Says:

    […] been slowly tapping away at a blog piece provoked by Tracey’s fleeting mention of puddles. It was an experiment in leapfrogging from the particularity of my experience into socio-economic […]

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