Little Tumble

Every cyclist has a time where he/she comes into very close, personal contact with the surface they are riding on. I’ve had a couple of falls as of late–all of which I blame on my cycling shoes–but as much as I would like to blame my fall yesterday on my shoes, they were not at fault. This time it was completely due to a silly driver, my poor coordination and clumsiness…And a tree branch.

After a horrible couple of weeks, I decided my bike needed some love and attention, so I went for a bike ride. What better way to spend a Friday afternoon, especially when you’ve been trapped inside for what seems to have been years? I figured, short spin through Dutchess County, never hurt anyone.

Contrary to what other people I cycle with think–I err on the side of being indecisive on where go, as I’m riding–I do go out with a vague idea of where I want to when I head out. My route may change about twenty times on that ride, but I generally end up where I planned. Yesterday though, my indecisiveness had taken over and I could not decide where I wanted to go. I made it to Red Hook but then was at a loss of which direction to take — do I go over to Bard? I was just over that way last week. Maybe head north? No, it’ll be dark soon.

Since I could not decide, I ended up doing a couple of circles around the quaint little town. As I was approaching the main intersection on my second loop, a car door opened–which I was not expecting. I steered out of the way quickly in time to avoid a collision with the driver, only to lose my balance and fall over after trying to avoid a large branch-one I swear was not there before.

I know every cyclist needs to be aware of drivers opening doors. And since I’ve been riding I have never had the issue of near-collisions.

Alas, I guess every cyclist also needs to have near-misses with door-opening fools in a high traffic areas on Friday afternoons.

Falls happen when you are least expecting them to happen. It’s a whirlwind experience–you are on your bike one second, clipped in, and then next, boom, are on the ground. I must say, I’ve never unclipped from my pedals with such ease and speed before. Why couldn’t I do that during my last race?

Of course, the first thing I think of after falling is, “Ohh crap is my bike damaged?” Not, “Ohh, thank God I didn’t fall into on-coming traffic and die.” Yes, you know what my priorities are.

It just so happened that a Dutchess County Sheriff I passed (twice, might I add) was parked on the other side of the street and came to my rescue.

“Are you okay ma’am?”

I gazed up at the officer after making sure my bike was intact (again, a normal person might make sure their limbs are intact). Am I old enough to be called ma’am?

I’m not sure if it was the startle from falling, or the fact that I realized he was somewhat good-looking, made my usual mute-self even more speechless.

“I’m going to call–”

“No, no, I’m fine.” I interrupted him.

“You’re bleeding.” Now nick-named ‘Mr-Really-Attractive-Officer’  pointed to my leg. I glanced at my shin which had a stream of blood trickling down. Damn you, chainrings! Why must you be so sharp?!?

“Ahh.”

I picked up my bike and hobbled over to the curb where I crouched down, leaning my bike up against my knees (no one is allowed to lean my bike against the pavement) and took a closer look at my pathetic wound. Mr. Attractive actually stopped traffic, and picked up my water bottle. He also took my bike and leaned it against a tree before kneeling in front of me to take a better look at my leg.

There I was sitting on the curb: sweaty, bloody, greasy, exhausted, sporting a jersey and spandex cycling shorts, and becoming more and more aware of my appearance. Is this really happening to me?

Why wouldn’t it?My life is a comedy, remember?

“I’m okay,” I muttered and took a used tissue from my jersey pocket and started wiping away the blood.

“Hold on–” he held up his finger and then ran back to his car.  I could feel my cheeks becoming flushed and warm with embarrassment. As he left for a minute, I poured some water out of my bottle, wet the tissue a little, and went to work on my leg, thinking, all I wanted to do was go for a ride.

The officer came back from across the street and handed me tape and gauze,”Here, use this.”

“Who has gauze and tape?” I was not blessed with the ability to make small talk with attractive people, can you tell?

“First Aid kit, and I was a paramedic.”

Ohh Lord, Mr. Really Attractive fights crime and has dabbled in the medical field? I was crying inside.

“Thanks.” I took the supplies from his hand, ripped a piece of tape, slapped the gauze on and stood up, still silently hoping this was all a dream.

“Are you sure you are okay?”

“I’m fine. Thank you for your help.”

“You’re welcome,” he took my bike and handed it to me.

And so, I was off again–all fixed, having attracted the attention of the drivers in a small town, being saved by a kind D.Co Sheriff, and learning the lesson that you are never fully prepared to fall off your bike.

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