Just like falling off a bike!

I’ll be 43 in August. I’ve used a bicycle as my primary means of transportation since moving to Portland 17 years ago. As an adult cyclist, I consider myself to be lucky: I have never gotten into a bike vs car crash. Yes, there have been close calls, but no contact. Yes, a lot of other folks I know who regularly ride have not been so lucky. I’m not bragging, or saying I’m doing something “right”, just making an observation.

But this doesn’t mean I haven’t crashed on my own. Now, I haven’t done that a lot either. There’s only been a few significant ones, like the time during the Big Tour in 2011 outside Dauphin, Manitoba where I ate it on pavement after drifting into the gravel shoulder. The most spectacular crash was in November 2011, where I ate it (figuratively and literally) on the streetcar tracks on SE MLK. This one required a trip to the ER and stitches, and I still have the scar above my upper lip.

And on Friday I added another single person bike crash to the list, albeit a minor one.

I was riding the Crested Butte from N Mississippi Ave to work on SE Hawthorne. I decided to swing by my bank, which meant I needed to ride a block of sidewalk on MLK. Getting onto sidewalk from pavement, I noticed that there was mud on the edge of the sidewalk. I tried to overcorrect to avoid the mud, but I still managed to hit the patch at an angle, making me lose control. I fell on my right side, managing to hit knee, elbow, and scrape the side of my head. Ouch.

I lie there for a second, making sure nothing was that wrong. No bleeding, no ripped clothes. I got up, muttering “nothing to see here, folks”. There was a bit of an audience, as traffic was stopped at the light, but no one asked if I was okay. Thanks, folks.

And thankfully, I’m not that injured, just a bit bruised and sore. No ER visit this time, thankfully. I mostly feel stupid in that way that you feel stupid in these situations. The bike is mostly okay, but  there is some damage, which of course is ironic because I was just picking up this bike from the shop!* The right side of the handlebars scraped pavement. The brake lever and grip has abrasion, but the right shifter took the brunt. The old Deore shifter has bent and lost its faceplate. These shifters were the replacement for the much cooler looking (though not as functional) first gen Deores that came with the bike. I don’t know how much longer this tweaked shifter can last.

But to be honest, while these shifters are more functional than what came before, I never really liked them. In fact, originally I wanted to use those Sun-Race shifters sold by Rivendell, as they could be tucked on the “inside” of the Bosco bars. But I was convinced by a bike shop to use the Deore shifters, since they oh-so-conveniently had a set available. So maybe this crash was a blessing in disguise? 😉

Anyways, I hope to not crash again anytime soon!

*I got brake work done.

7 thoughts on “Just like falling off a bike!

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  1. Glad to hear you (and the bike) escaped with minor injuries!
    A couple of nights ago, I was out for a run and stepped into the street from the sidewalk to go around a bike/trailer/can collector dude. I had barely touched the storm drain when I went down hard and rolled into a traffic lane (SE 52nd and Steele). Luckily, traffic was stopped for the light. Like you, not a soul offered to see if I was okay. The can dude on the bike shouted “Slippery when wet!”. Yeah, thanks. Anyway, just some ripped clothes and bruises (and embarrassed). I think we might be getting too old for this shit.

  2. “I think we might be getting too old for this shit.” Hahaha…that’s what my uptight neighbors think about me as they sit in front of their TV’s and watch Fox News.
    In all my years I’ve only had minor crashes usually caused by boneheaded maneuvers on my part. I seem to have an uncanny sense that enables me to avoid right hooks attempted by clueless motorists.

  3. Cyclist was not wearing a helmet 🙂 …that would be the tag line…just teasing.
    I went down this fall and I can attest that the older you get, the worse it feels and the longer it takes to come back. I am glad to hear that the damage to you and Raleigh is not too severe.
    Let me know if the shifter gives up after the impact. If I dig around the shop, I might have an orphaned right side shifter.

  4. I’m glad you’re OK.
    I know how you feel: I’ve taken a few tumbles and have been “doored” a couple of times. It really does make you feel stupid, even if you know intellectually that the accident wasn’t your fault.

  5. I feel for ya, I scraped up my Dura-Ace DT shifters with a low speed topple near the Space Needle many years back, I also did a total yard sale after being brought down by a traffic turtle in a busy intersection and had many people (waiting for the bus) not only ask if I was ok but help me and my bike and my stuff out of the road, I do seem to recall screaming like a 5 year-old girl as I went down so that might have had something to do with it

  6. Oh, Manitoba’s infamous shoulders. . .

    Glad to hear your recent crash wasn’t too bad. It’s been more than a year since my last one — a rather spectacular header when a somebody let their bike hating dog run onto the road directly in front of me.

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