1.31.2007

Over the Handlebars

So I'm biking to work on a beautiful, cold, clear day here in Portland. And I'm just gliding along, coasting down the Hawthorne Blvd. slope. There's some construction up ahead of me, and the two-lane boulevard narrows to a single lane, so I'm merging and slowing. I'm not sure what happened, but I think that's when my brakes seized up and my front wheel froze, and next thing I know I'm flying over my handlebars, landing on my back and tumbling down the street, crunching on gravel left over from the snow a couple weeks back.

People fuss over me, my bike and my bag are pulled over to the sidewalk. I spend the next few moments getting my bearings, urging people not to worry. Then, as I'm calling work to tell them what's happened, no less than two patrol cars, a motorcycle cop, a fire truck, an ambulance and a construction team all show up, lights and everything, the whole bit.

Apparently someone had called in that I'd gotten hit by a car. It's actually very reassuring to see the full might and panoply of SE Portland's emergency services coming out en masse for the sake of a biker. We go through the usual bit of incident reports and medical preliminaries, I reassure them all that, while bruised and embarrassed, I'm pretty much fine, everything's okay and they can all go back to their ordinary days.

I shoulder my badly contorted bike and limp home, climbing back up the long slope, laughing at how painful walking has become. Because it's such a beautiful day, I was looking forward to a productive and busy day, and now I'm home painfully sitting on my bruised and aching butt. My boots, helmet and down vest all look pretty scrappy, now. I'll need to replace my front fork on my poor bike. I've got a good set of cuts on my hands and some bruises I can feel beginning to bloom all over the place...

The last time I went over my handlebars, there was a girl involved and I was in high school. It's nice to know I still got it.

best,

paulmonster-airborne

3 comments:

David said...

I've had several pretty bad bicycle accidents in my life, especially from my days riding a road racer, long distances. Once, I slipped on a soapy corner--just after a rainstorm--and my helmeted head was bouncing off the pavement before I knew what happened. When I took the helmet off, all the protective foam was broken into little quarter sized pieces; couldabeenmyhead. I've been more seriously injured--e.g., broken collarbone in a road race--but never came closer to dying than that day.

I'm glad you're okay.

David said...

I've had several pretty bad bicycle accidents in my life, especially from my days riding a road racer, long distances. Once, I slipped on a soapy corner--just after a rainstorm--and my helmeted head was bouncing off the pavement before I knew what happened. When I took the helmet off, all the protective foam was broken into little quarter sized pieces; couldabeenmyhead. I've been more seriously injured--e.g., broken collarbone in a road race--but never came closer to dying than that day.

I'm glad you're okay.

paulmonster said...

whoa. that's hardcore. I'm glad you made it through those scrapes, too.