The Bad Ride

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.

The blood and the chainring tattoo made an interesting pattern.

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.

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  1. At least it didn’t start to rain……

    IT stands to reason the bike lanes would be full of trash with all the rain last week. Dodging the masses and mud this morning with my 8 year old on Town Lake seems easy now. Did you get the nail on Latta, Davis or Escarpment?

    I alway have problems with the back tire. I seem to do better turning the bike upside down to change tire but I still struggle. It’s so frustrating cause I see folks pop them on and off no problem.

  2. Sat Sept. 4, flat front tire about 30 miles into 47-mile ride.
    Wed. Sept. 8, fell to the left because I was unclipped to the right. Slammed to the ground the arm and wrist that were broken a few months. Sore but undamaged. (Did not mention this fall to wife.)
    Sat. Sept. 11, foot-long twig slices through rear tire and strips part of pain from the back of seat tube. Rear tire, even with boot won’t hold spare. Have to call home for pick up. Have to purchase tubes, tires and get biked checked out at LBS…So I feel your pain.

    • This is Don Blount, who guest posts here frequently. It sounds, my friend, that if it weren’t for bad luck, you’d have no luck at all. It’s also apparent that your wife doesn’t read this blog.

  3. Yep, we’ve all had them, I’ve had to call for two home pickups recently, the last one when I broke the stem off the replacement tube as I was pumping it up after a puncture.

    Hope the wound heals quickly, it looks nasty!

  4. Ouch. Been there, done that.

    Did anybody laugh at you?

    Did you use bad words?

    Once again, we see the all powerful hand of statistics at work. Most adult bicycle injuries come from falls. Let’s just hope the dice roll your way next time — you’re due for a good ride soon.

  5. I’ve started using clipless this year, and I’ve had many close calls, but never actually fell.
    I use shimano SH-56 and set it to the most loose settings.
    Even when I’m about to fall, just simple “panic pulling” will release my cleats.

  6. I feel for you. It happens sometimes, I’ve been there, come a cropper a few times on the odd ride. I just accept it because the 99 out of a 100 great rides i have make it all worth while.

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