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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Momentary Lapse of Common Sense

It’s a while since the last time but I took a good fall on my city bike yesterday. I was humping through Turia Park on my way across town and I was thinking about how I like to ride fast even if I’m not in a hurry. I left the bike path to get out of the park through the tunnel that goes under the road in front of the Jardin Reales.  The bike path takes a stupid dogleg that I never bother with and instead go across about five meters of sidewalk that isn’t quite wide enough for two bikes.

 A girl was coming towards me on her bike and I yielded a bit too much of the side walk and slipped off. I was pedaling pretty hard at this point and I hit a rut between the sidewalk and the dirt and it threw my front wheel sharply to the left. I knew I was going down right away but I had to hang on to my bike or risk being thrown over it so I held it with my right hand.  With my left arm I slapped the ground to break my fall and protect my head so it wouldn’t bounce off the sidewalk.

I came down hard and slid a few feet but I managed to keep the bike in front of me and I also kept my left hand from scraping the cement. Probably the most important thing that I learned from my years of martial arts training is how to take a nasty fall without doing too much damage to my carcass; it’s something everyone should practice. I was also saved by my new motorcycle jacket that I was wearing. I slid on my left elbow and forearm and without the jacket I would look like a piece of meat. The jacket even has slots for optional plastic elbow pads that you can insert for added protection. All I got out of it was a scuffed left knee and my left shoulder is a little sore from slapping the ground so hard as I fell—better than hitting my head.

I probably could have avoided the whole thing if my rear brake worked at all. I have been meaning to change the brake pad for a while now. I also should have been going a lot slower, especially through this narrow part. My bike took it worse of all. I’ll need to get out the duct tape to fix the front fender and the basket on the front got pretty fucked up. I also scared the shit out of the girl riding behind me who I had just passed before I ate shit. She stopped but immediately saw that I was OK although my jacket was completely covered with dirt.

As the title suggests, it was a short lapse in common sense. Only a couple minutes earlier a girl was pedaling toward me in the park and wasn’t paying attention and almost steered directly into me. We all do stupid things on occasion and most of the time we get away with it without a problem. And then sometimes you don’t.

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