I really enjoy riding. Even a quick half-hour jaunt through the neighborhood leaves me feeling good. So I was looking forward to my Saturday morning 25-miler.
About four miles into the ride, I had to stop for a red light. I moved the bike out of the right turn lane, unclipped my right shoe, and made the fatal mistake: I turned the handlebars to the right.
That caused the bike to lean left, and I was still clipped in on that side. I frantically tried to wrench my foot loose, but I went down on the left side. If this has ever happened to you (come on, now — I know it has!), you know your only concern is to get upright again, so all those people at the intersection don’t laugh and point fingers. In this case, there was only one cyclist who had just crossed in front of me. When she heard me go down, she immediately stopped and asked if I needed help.
I grinned and said, “No, I just didn’t clip out in time.”
“Oh, that’s happened to me,” she said.
I got moving again, glad that the bike seemed all right. But in a little while, I felt an odd sensation at the back of my leg. Blood was pooling in my sock from a puncture wound left by the chainring when I fell.
It didn’t seem as bad as it was, so I kept going.
Several miles later, I turned onto a four-lane divided street that runs through my neighborhood. It has a bike lane, but as usual, the lane was littered with debris. It wasn’t long before I sensed that my rear tire was going flat.
I pulled off onto a side street, in the shade, took off the wheel, and found the problem. A tiny nail, a brad no more than a half-inch long, had made a neat puncture in the tire. I yanked the nail out with my teeth, and changed the tube.
One move I have always had trouble with is remounting the rear tire after a flat. I can’t seem to get the cassette and chain to mesh properly, even though I have it shifted into the smallest cog. I must have done something stupid, because suddenly, my shifter cable popped out of the brake hood on the handlebar.
I fiddled with it and fiddled with it, but couldn’t get it to reattach. I was a little more than a mile from home, and rode in the big ring and smallest cog all the way.
In the bathroom, I cleaned the wound and put a Band-Aid on it — but in a few minutes, I was back in the bathroom again, when the Band-Aid became saturated with blood. After putting on several gauze pads and applying pressure, the bleeding stopped. Sort of.
Then I tried to sop up all the blood spots from the bathroom carpet. The results are less than stellar.
I like to think that every time I’m on the bike, it’s a good ride. Not today.