Saturday, October 4, 2008

There will be bruising

'Cause there's already blood.

I wanted to go down to the Portland REI to look at the Ortlieb messenger bags that are currently 25% off; it was hard to tell online which size was best. (I had taken a look at the Chrome bags, way back when, but decided they weren't for me.) There are a number of ways to get down there but I opted for riding my bike, partly because I haven't been riding much and partly because I need to force myself outside my comfort zone sometimes. I have very little experience riding downtown and the only way to overcome my fear of it is just to do it -- I learned that after I found all my months of fretting over riding at night were for naught.

Today was one of those sunny/rainy days, and when I left the house it was nice, but about 3 blocks down the street I saw it wasn't going to stay that way. I was totally unprepared. I was wearing a light, permeable jacket; my gloves were MIA; I had left my lights on the stairs; and I had fiddled around with my new Freddy Fenders and then left them for another time. Before long I was cold, my bare hands were slipping around on the wet handlebars, all the cars on the road had their headlights on, and puddles were impending.

Attempt #1: mission aborted.

A bit later I was back on the road, having installed the rear fender as a start, dug my gloves out of a pile of laundry on the bathroom floor, popped the lights on, and changed into a warmer, dryer jacket.

Attempt #2: mission accomplished.

I'll skip the whole REI-on-a-Saturday-during-a-sale-part; everyone knows how that story goes.

Then I found myself in an unfamiliar part of town, trying to find my way home without a plan. Everything looks different on a bike, and I might just as well have never seen these streets before. So I was puttering along some Eastbound street, and decided to take a right onto some Southbound street, and I was thinking about getting over to the left lane, and whether I had any idea what I was going to do after that, when it happened:

The dreaded trolley track take-down.

It's kind of funny how you have time to think, "Uh oh. Bad idea," as your front wheel locks into the track and you start the downward motion. It was a slowish fall, but I landed hard. My only saving grace was that there was no other traffic on the street, other than the one worried-looking guy walking by. I told him I was fine, picked up my bike, and hobbled over to the sidewalk, but I was hurting. The bike looked okay and by then I really wanted to get home, so I figured I'd check my injuries later. Heading up the Hawthorned Bridge I realized my left shoe was not only moving freely on the pedal from side to side, but just as freely from front to back; the impact had nearly ripped the cleat from the shoe. I pulled over at the bus stop, whipped out my handy Swiss army knife, tightened the screws and went home to survey the damage.

Elbow: round, bloody scrape, less than 0.5" in diameter. Glad I was wearing a jacket and not just the sleeveless shell I had on underneath -- ouch!

Hip: An approximately 3" by 3" expanse of relatively minor road rash, under the shorts, no embedded gravel. Yay!

Also: Scrapes to both ankles.

So, not too bad. The wash up wasn't bad as no scrubbing was needed; the wounds are clean and since there was no direct contact with the ground I doubt flesh-eating bacteria will be a problem. All in all, I'd say the trip was a success.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

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