Friday, June 1, 2012

Can I Ride A Bicycle?

Over the very long b'day/Memorial Day weekend, I decided to get a little bike riding in. I sort of did a baptism by fire a couple of weekends ago, but this was the first time that I really wanted to get serious about it. However, as people are want to say, the best laid plans often go kablooie, and such was the case this particular weekend.

For starters, my bicycling got off to a very rocky start. How rocky? Well, for one thing, it didn't start on the day of my vacation, it started on the day before.

I had left work earlier than originally planned, which was due to a particular troublesome issue raising its ugly head at home. Once things managed to calm down, I decided to take my bike out for an early afternoon spin. About twenty minutes later, I found myself downtown near the park. So after taking a nice spin around the park, with only a brief stoppage supplied by Mr. & Mrs. Goose and their goslings, I decided to check out the new senior citizen's housing complex that the town had recently built.

So as I'm cycling through the complex and checking out the new housing, I'm also making my way to the far end of the parking lot, with the reason being that since one of the side streets dead ends into the complex, I can simply cut through and scoot on home without any problems.

"No problems," he says.

Unbeknownst to me, not all of the curbs were made handicap accessible/rounded. I only realized this particular fact when I was less than two feet away from smashing into a solid square curb at a moderate rate of speed. I buried my brakes mere inches from the curb.

While yes, I did come to a stop, it was the kind of stop that would thrill a youngster and his/her friends and scare the shit out of an adult.

With the curb acting as a mini-fulcrum, the back of my bicycle went a couple feet in the air, I slid forward and sang soprano, and my bicycle chain popped of the main gear.

After spending a few minutes fixing my bike, I hopped back on and bicycled home, none the worse for wear. However, in so much that I am a glutton for punishment, we decided to repeat the incident, which had a far more gruesome outcome.

About an hour and a half later, further household strife necessitated that I take a leave of absence to retain my sanity.

So once again, I hopped on this:

and took off for the center of town. About twenty minutes later, I was on my way back home, only this time, I decided to approach home from the other side. So I'm blitzing my way down Main Street for the other end of town, and about a half mile from the intersection that I needed to take a right on to go home, I came up with the idea of taking a shortcut through a restaurant parking lot.

The reason as to why I wanted to take the shortcut was primarily due to safety, specifically, mine.

The last time that I rode a bike with any degree of consistency was the summer of '07, which was about six months prior to being diagnosed with C.M.T. Since that time, my balance, coordination and dexterity had noticeably decreased to the point where I have modified the way I do things. Like, making turns on a bicycle.

Instead of making the moderately fast turns of my youth and pre C.M.T. days, I make what I like to call, lollipop turns. A lollipop turn is simply a turn that has a more elongated circumference, about the size of a decent size backyard above ground swimming pool. It's also easier to control and it makes you less prone to have major wipe outs.

So I made my lollipop turn in what I thought was the restaurant parking lot. Epic fail, as the driveway I had hit was for the apartment complex next door. I immediately went off the driveway and into some heavy mulch. Unable to get out of the mulch, I immediately came up with the brilliant idea of simply pedaling my way out. Epic fail again, as I hit the perfect corner where heavy mulch, sidewalk and driveway come together, much like The Four Corners.

Yes my friends, I went airborne. I flipped over the bike and the bike flipped over me. Having been in enough of this kind of brainless stupidity during my life, I quickly covered my head with my arms as well as tucking my head in so that I wouldn't smack concrete. I also executed a barrel roll of sorts too.

When I stood up, I brushed off the dirt, picked up my bike, and noticed a car some twenty-five feet away, waiting for me to move. I moved my bike down the sidewalk, inspected the damage to it, then happened to notice a small trail of blood running down my leg.

Upon closer examination, I discovered that I had shredded my knee in two places and shredded my elbow as well. After repairing my bike, which consisted of taking the chain completely off so that I could untangle a gear cable from the sprocket then putting it back on, I hopped on my bike and slowly pedaled my way home.

Suffice to say, riding this:

isn't quite my forte yet, but I should be back to my semi-abnormal loudmouth self in about a month. Which is good for me and bad for everyone else who happens to motor around on four wheels, because while being on foot patrol can be dangerous, being on two wheels is downright hazardous to your health. And acting like a doofus around me will get you yelled at quicker than mouthing off to a state trooper.


  1. OUCH! Sounds painful. I used to ride a moped and managed to rip my skin to shreds even when I was wearing a leather jacket and helmet. It's no fun at all.

    Still you got a good blog post out of it! :D

  2. Yikes! I'm hoping the mulch got the worst end of that deal, G! :)

    Biking is fun, but it can be hazardous to your health. And now you have the war wounds to prove it. Hope elbows and knee are healing nicely.

  3. Who knew riding a bike could be so difficult? lol I have an extra set of training wheels if you need them. Better get a helmet and elbow/knee pads while you're at it!

  4. Ouch, man. I'm sorry to hear that. I hope all your war wounds heal quickly.

  5. Oh my - I do not believe I will ever ride a bike again after reading this. I hope you're OK, G!

  6. Joe: It's funny, but the pain didn't kick in until I had gotten home and had to clean it up. Still, I did have a good time checking out my surroundings, although looking up at the sky from the pavement isn't exactly an ideal place to do it. :D

    Talon: I believe the mulch did, as my tire tracks are stil there almost a week later. It can definitely be a hazard to one's health, but if it wasn't hazardous, it wouldn't be that much fun, would it? :D

    Dan: No helmet for this big old fat guy. Maybe training wheels though. :D

    Charles: Thanks.

    You know, it seems that the only wipeouts/crashes that I've had in my lifetime have always involved flipping over the handlebars.

    There must be an easier way to stop a bicycle than flipping over, eh?

    Lynn: I'm doing fine thanks.

    Riding a bike is always the easiest part. It's the steering and stopping that gets me flummoxed from time to time.

  7. Ooooooowwww... I'm not a big fan of bike riding... and I think incidents like this are partly why. :) I hope you recover quickly!

  8. Lisa: Thanks.

    The main reason as to why I took up bicycling again is that I was getting very tired of walking. I wanted to start exploring my town and a couple of others and the only way I could do it w/o a car is bicycling.


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