Thursday, June 4, 2015

As Luck Would Have It

It was bound to happen. Perhaps, I jinxed myself.

In the four years that I have had my road bike, through the thousands of kilometres I have ridden it, never once have I wiped out, never once have I become stuck in the clips and fallen over.

Until Tuesday night, when I participated in a group ride with the Ottawa Bicycle Club, from the Nepean Sportsplex to the town of Richmond.

And it happened twice.

The first fall happened at a red light. I had unclipped my shoe from one pedal and placed it on the ground, but I wasn't quite balanced as I came to a stop, and I  started leaning to the opposite side, becoming off-balanced. Before I could come unclipped, I fell over, onto my right side. My saving grace came as I sensed that I was going to fall over, and I shifted my body so that I rolled onto my back. My right hand came down hard on the pavement, but the only thing that felt hurt right then and there was my pride, as the other cyclists looked at me with shocked expressions and asked me if I was okay.

I dusted myself off and assured everyone that I was uninjured, and when the light turned green, the group and I continued on our way.

When we returned to the Sportsplex, the group stopped in the parking lot, congratulated each other on a good ride, and we made our way to our respective vehicles. Both of my feet were unclipped from my pedals when I started coasting on my bike, but one shoe locked back in place without me realizing it had done so.

As my wife and I slowed towards our van, I tried to place my right foot on the ground, and that was when I realized that it was locked in the clip. Because I was leaning on that side and was still rolling, I went down hard on the pavement.

My final words before I came to a crashing stop were, "SON OF A BITCH!!!"

The same hand hit the ground, as did my hip. As my body rolled back my head banged on the pavement, but my helmet absorbed the impact.

A couple of our group's riders saw me fall. They had already dismounted their bikes, were on foot, and came running to my aid. This time, when I came to rest on the ground, I was hurt. I was in no rush to get back on my feet. My bike lay on my legs, and was lifted from me.

"Are you okay?" I was asked.

"My hand hurts. So does my hip," I said.

"Do you think you can stand? Are you feeling dizzy?"

"I think I can stand. I'm not dizzy."

They helped me to my feet. I took my bike and thanked them. I limped to the van and caught my breath. As I lifted my bike, which weighs very little, to put it in the back of the van, my hand hurt. The pad of my palm was swollen and tender. The wrist was a little numb.
My leg was grazed, and as I walked, I could tell that my hip was going to sport a bruise, come morning. After a couple of minutes of rest, I deemed that I was going to be all right, that the worst damage had been to my pride.

After four years without putting a scratch on my bike, I deemed that I had finally broken it in.

At home, my wife drew me a hot bath, and I soaked for about a half hour, assessing the damage I had sustained: a bruise to the side of the calf; a road rash on my hip; a swollen palm and sore wrist. A good night's sleep was what I needed, and I turned in early.

One of the great things about my neighbourhood is that we have a clinic with x-ray equipment. Many times, I find more people visiting the facility with colds, flu bugs, or other illnesses, but few people with physical injuries.

That seems to be the case any time that I've visited this clinic.

When you tell the triage desk that you have fallen from your bike and that your wrist has been aching since you awoke, you tend to jump the queue of sniffling and coughing patients, and are sent straight to the radiologist.

The results: my wrist is, indeed, fractured. It seems that when I extended my hand to stop my fall, I bruised the pad of my palm, and that caused me some discomfort last night. But it also seems to have masked the pain from where my bones compressed on the other side of my hand, at the wrist. When I awoke, my movement was limited and the pain was acute. I also had difficulty holding anything.

The good news is that it is a small, minor, hairline fracture. Left on its own, it should heal in a few weeks.

The bad news: the doctor said I shouldn't ride in this weekend's Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour. He feels that the jarring motion over the 200-kilometre trek could make the fracture worse. And, should I fall from my bike again, the risk of actually breaking the bone is significant. The doctor recommended that I not ride my bike for at least a week.

In other news, I have a tendency to ignore doctors.


  1. On the plus side, you do have that lovely corvette to drive. Go with the vet and forget the bugs in your teeth, funny bike shorts, pedal clips, and road rash. Red is your color after all.

    1. Thanks, but the Corvette isn't mine.

      I have a red cycle jersey. Close enough.