Falling Off My Bike at Age Fifty-Seven
It was a great idea. I had a meeting at 7:15 am and it was only three miles each way. I was going to get in a meeting and my exercise in one fell swoop. At the meeting everyone was adequately impressed with my aging attempt at cardio exercise even though I never broke a sweat. The meeting was over in an hour and I was feeling good, so I decided(in my perfectionism)that three miles back home was way too easy. I would make a detour to Alvernon and put in another two miles. Yeah, I was doing it all right; after all…what could go wrong?
Alvernon is a wide, steady moving example of inter-city congestion. I knew it had a bike lane and felt like it was a safe road to travel. I biked from Country Club to Alvernon with no mishaps. It was great. As I started riding on Alvernon, I noticed that that the road had gaps of about three inches wide every so often. I never noticed that before and preferred to have a smoother ride if possible. So I decide to move onto the sidewalk; less bumpy and I’ve always felt that it is a safer place to ride. As I made my move, I saw the lip of concrete that separates the street from the driveway entrance. Did you know that a one-inch high piece of concrete could literally mangle you? As I expertly (NOT!) guide my bike onto the driveway towards the sidewalk…BAM! I didn’t have time to react or scream. My transportation once my friend had suddenly turned on me or should I say slipped on me. One second I was happily riding along, the next second I was on the ground. The bike slid out from under me as easy as butter melting in a hot pan.
I lay there, my 57-year-old overweight form lying halfway in the bike lane and halfway in the driveway, my bike resting partially on my body. All I could do was be still. Okay I tell myself, don’t panic, take nice deep breathes. Breathe, breathe. I breathe and I pray. Three minutes seems like eternity when concrete and flesh meet. The morning rush hour traffic is moving by my horizontal body at a predictable speed. One woman bless her soul, shouts out her car window, asking if I want her to call 911. She is halfway down the block before I could stoically say no don’t bother. I lie there looking at the sky wondering what all these people must be thinking of me. Do they think I’m dead? Do they think I am drunk? On the other hand, do they just think I’m stupid? They are probably not thinking of me at all.
I take stock of my situation. Nothing seems to be broken, although my ego is bruised. I sit up slowly, unable to make any sudden moves. I start taking inventory of my body…ams, legs, hips, shoulders, everything seems to be in order. Could it be I fell and didn’t hurt myself? A few bruises and scrapes but that was all. A woman walks over and asks me if she could call someone for me. That was nice. I told her I was all right and that I have a phone. Whom would I call? Why would I call? I’m not hurt, my bike seems okay. I get back on my bike and finish the ride. I finally arrive home to safety. I am afraid of how this fall will affect me later.
All of a sudden I realize how frail and vulnerable I feel. Of course, I do all the right stuff; ice, ibuprofen, relax, breathe, pray, call work. I could have done without this one adventure. As I lay on the couch nursing my wounds, I wonder if I should give up bike riding. Am I too old? Should they have remedial classes for bike riding specifically for the age-challenged? This accident makes me feel old. I have never felt old before. This is not a good feeling. Thank God feelings are not facts. Well, I have felt worse things, like cement forcefully interacting with my body. I think I am taking myself too seriously. However, I do know this, I will get back on that bike. I will get back on that freaking bike if it kills me! What is the definition of insanity…doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results? That’s me.
Fifty-seven and holding