The Bike Accident

About six years ago, I was happily riding my bicycle through a neighboring town, going as fast as I could up and down the hills.  I felt free, independent, and strong.   About six miles into my ride, I did something stupid.  As I was pedaling fast, I wanted to see my pace, so I lifted one hand from the handlebar to look at the GPS watch on my wrist.  Simultaneously, I was approaching an intersection, and I realized abruptly that I ought to stop.  Immediately, I braked with one hand.  My front wheel locked as my back wheel spun, and I flipped over the handlebars, hitting my chin on the pavement and skinning the right side of my body.  Fortunately, I had a helmet on.  A bystander called an ambulance, which brought me to the hospital.  The doctors x-rayed my shoulder, ribs, and jaw.  I was mainly scraped and bruised, but the jaw was broken where it hinged.

The following day, an oral surgeon put me to sleep and wired my mouth shut to stabilize the bone and let it heal, and that’s how I was stuck for a month:  talking like a ventriloquist and drinking all my food.   My jaw eventually healed, leaving some problems, and the wires were taken off.  After the ordeal, it took me a long time to ride a bike again.

During the pandemic, when the gym closed, I bought a new bike and started riding regularly.  Instead of riding with a sense of abandon, I became extremely careful and no longer raced.  However, as time and new experiences accumulated, I began to enjoy riding once again.  I liked the powerful feeling of propelling my body through space, riding mile after mile in the fresh air, with the breeze cooling me as I proceeded.

This week, with emergence of warm weather, I went for my first bike ride of 2021.  Despite my history, the ride was delightful.  I’ve regained my confidence after the fall.

7 thoughts on “The Bike Accident

  1. Whew! Quite a post. I am a not brave bicyclist. I hate going uphill but downhill terrifies me! Hahaha. But I love the feeling of riding. So I’m glad you are back in the saddle. It is wonderful exercise!

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  2. Bike rides are delightful! We used to go all the time but with the move the bikes did not come along. Maybe we can find some used bikes and roll around this spring and summer! Thank you for the delightful reminder!

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  3. Good for you. I relearned to love bike riding when we took out our bikes and began to explore the rail trails turned bike trails in our area. I no longer have a bike but would love to ride again someday…

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  4. Ouch! What an awful accident! I’m glad that was the worst of it, but that’s still really bad. You poor thing. I can definitely understand hesitation to ride again. But glad you have been able to do so, especially since you enjoy it so much.

    And don’t feel too bad about doing stupid things on your bike. I used to ride with no hands a lot. I could do it well, so it wasn’t a big deal. And I used ride sometimes standing up. No big deal. You see where this is going?? Once I was riding with no hands and thought, okay, I’ll stand up now too…not.a.good.idea. Crashed to the concrete and smacked my unhelmeted head (I was 17 and it was before helmets had really become a thing more people did). Scraped/cut open the entire left side of my body. And got pinned under the bike. Laying there, I could see a car coming at me and all I could do was think “please stop, please stop.” And luckily they did. they helped me up. Asked if I need help home and I said no. I rode home, crying more and more the farther I went. By the time I got home, I burst into the house bawling my eyes out.
    I survived though!


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