How not to dump your bike
I used to love taking my bike down to the boardwalk on weekends early in the season before the crowds came to spoil my fun. In 2004 I was working too much and the weekends had been too rainy so I almost missed my chance.
May 22nd, the weekend before Memorial Day (Benny Day as we called it) I biked down only to find that the boardwalk was already crowded. Damn sunny days. Annoyed I continued on. I started in Avon by the Sea and peddled south through Bradley Beach. The further I went, the worse the crowds got. By the time I crossed the bridge into Belmar I could hardly ride without running over yet another person inexplicably pushing an empty baby stroller. Yet, through sheer force of will I steeled my jaw and pretended to be really enjoying myself. Just about then, I few local cops reminded me loudly that I wasn’t allowed on the boardwalk with my bike. This was indeed the case in Belmar, but not in Avon where I started.
Being chastised by a cop isn’t the thing to make someone who is already a grumble-bear into a happy camper. Frankly, it pissed me off to the point that I just decided to bail the boardwalk and bike the back ways home. That’d been fine, except I decided to take the back way off of the boardwalk – right over the side. Now, it’s only a three foot drop onto the sidewalk and I had done it before, but that was without the crowds and in a more focused state of mind. Over the edge I went and …
I forgot to pull up my front end.
My front wheel hit first and as you might have guessed I went ass over elbows. Now, I’ve taken lots of spills and I’ve dumped my bike countless times so I know how to fall. I tried to roll off of the bike when it went over, but alas, my feet got tangled and had to go with an alternate plan: limit the damage. I was ready to roll off of my right arm so I flipped my hand over and tried to roll anyway. Didn’t work. I skidded on my right arm, wrist and the back of my hand while my bike did a hand-stand/skid on it’s handle-bar.
I picked myself & brushed myself off just like my Dad always told me when he taught me to ride my bike 25 years ago. I also said a word that I believe I learned from late night HBO. I didn’t look at my arm. I know better and from the force of the impact I knew it wouldn’t be pretty. The ‘sidewalk’ that cushioned my fall was old macadam. It was gray, rocky & since it was ‘pre-beach-season’, still littered with gravel, sand and salt from the winter. Nice. The cops who had seen the whole thing didn’t even ask if I was Ok. Typical. I would have most certainly been paperwork.
It’s about a 45 minute ride from where I was back to my place where I could clean up – and that’s if I stuck to the roads. Before I could complete the first mile, blood ran down my arm, over my hand and handle-grip and started gumming up my hand-brake. I got a few odd looks, but I still refused to look at the wound. After about a half hour, the blood stooped gushing but had already coated my arm and handle-bar and speckled the right half of my body. It started to dry. Adrenaline wore off. It started to really hurt.
Three blocks from my home a woman in an SUV didn’t yield to me in the cross-walk. Tired, angry, I decided I wouldn’t yield either. I threw up my hand in a traffic-cop stop motion. Blood splashed on her fender. Her mouth flew open. She stopped. I continued home.
I cleaned up the wound as best I could. I pretty much covered my whole right arm from the pinky to the elbow with gauze and antibiotics. Fortunately for me Heather was eligible for the employee discount at Johnson & Johnson because the non-stick gauze and stretch-wrap is really expensive otherwise. Within a fortnight I was on normal band-aids. I never did see a doctor. After a month I was down to just scabs…
Except for one spot.
That one spot on my arm, about 1 1/2” from my elbow and positioned right over the bone, remained slightly raised more then the rest of the scar tissue. Months went by, as they tend to do. The skin covering the lump just got thinner and thinner and then, November 1st – 6 months after the fall, something poked it’s head out. It looked like a pebble, but it was too smooth so I poked at it and dug at it until I removed it. It was a chunk of glass. Of all of the dirty sandboxes I could have fallen into, why did I have to land on a chunk of glass? It had been EXTRA sore right there for many extra weeks and I now understood why. The glass’s progression through my soft tissue was stopped by my Ulna. Go back to the top and take another look at the glass. It was stuck pointy side in of course.
Ok, now imagine me digging at it and wiggling it. Sick yet? You should have seen the hole it left when it came out. =] Ok, that’s all. Enjoy dinner! Would you like a glass of chipped Ulna with that?