Tag Archives: Ooowwww!!

Two words

Chronic pain.

Not happy words. But that’s where I am right now with my shoulder. I’ve been to the surgeon and there’s nothing structurally wrong with my shoulder – it’s actually healed really well. I have a little bursitis but that’s about it.

I know that I was told repeatedly at the hospital that my arm would never be the same once it healed but I didn’t expect it to be like this either. I thought it might ache a bit in the cold and be weak initially but with some work it’d return to fairly close approximation of how it was before the accident. That’s so not what has happened. Nearly two years later and it still hurts. We’re not talking eight or nine on the pain scale, or even a five. We’re talking a one or two but it’s my constant companion. I have times where it doesn’t hurt at all which is nice but they are few and far between.

I guess I wasn’t helped by the fact that the accident happened at the worst possible time. Pregnancy and broken limbs definitely don’t go together. Especially broken limbs that need rehab to recover. I did do mild rehab while I was pregnant but in the end it was too much. I felt so physically overloaded by the end of my pregnancy that the idea of doing anything for arm felt like it was just too much. Guess I’m kinda paying for it now.

I think I’ve worked pretty hard with my physical therapy and I guess it’s worked because I have pretty good mobility. However, mobility doesn’t mean pain-free. I don’t want to be in pain for the rest of my life. (If my grandma is anything to go by, I’m going to be around for a while yet – she’s 98!!)

So now we’re into where to go from here? How do I learn to manage my pain?

I know chronic pain is caused by the brain’s plasticity. Provoke it into a pain response for long enough and your brain rewires itself into that being the default. Any movement, any position that your brain decides is wrong leads to a strong pain response. What fun! The pain can come on at totally random times and it can tip up into the high end of the scale. If you’ve ever noticed me with my eyes shut taking a few deep breaths, it because my shoulder is giving me a hard time at that moment.

I’m about to find out if I can rewire my brain back to how it was before. I figure that if it can wire itself into this position, it must be possible to undo it. The trick will be working out how. I’m starting with acupuncture and have an appointment with my GP in a week to see if there’s something I can take to suppress the pain in the short-term. The logic behind medication is to simply give my brain a break in the hope it’ll get the picture to quit it with pain messages. Also thinking some therapy wouldn’t go astray. Talking to someone about how to manage my pain is probably a good idea.

It’s been so long since the accident. I was undoubtedly naive in the thought that it would simply get better and go back to how is was but I didn’t expect it would be like this either.

So much for me being all zen about my accident

Time to admit it.

I am really angry about it. As in really, really fucking angry.


I guess it all came to head for me when we went up to Bright for our annual cycling-eating-drinking extended long weekend with a big group of friends and I had to sit by and watch everyone else having a grand old time conquering mountains and spending serious time on the bike.

Me? I barely managed a 40km ride. I had to be pushed up a small rise that was maybe 250m long because I couldn’t get up it on my own. (Don’t get me wrong – I am eternally grateful for that push because otherwise I would’ve had to have gotten off and walked.) Yes, it was awesome being on my bike again but the next day I regretted it. My arm was so painful and it took a few days for me to recover. I don’t believe it set back my overall recovery but it was just so frustrating. I really felt like I should’ve been doing so much more and I couldn’t. All because some stupid woman ran a red light and hit me.

Okay, yes I’m pregnant so there’s no way I was going to be riding up even the smallest mountain. I knew that, accepted it but I had been looking forward to doing what I was capable of – which would’ve been a lot of flat(ish) rides. I should’ve been able to do so much more than a pissy 40km.

I know I should be grateful. My injury really isn’t that serious. When you think about what could’ve happened, I really did get off lightly. I could’ve fracture my pelvis, suffered a serious head injury, internal bleeding or I could’ve miscarried but all I did was break my arm. I should be grateful but I’m not. I feel like I’ve lost so much.

Those weeks should’ve been about me whinging about morning sickness and getting some sympathy for that. I should’ve excited about being pregnant. It should’ve been about me doing what I needed to do to stay fit and still riding my bike. But no, I spent weeks lying in bed because I couldn’t do anything else. I’d wake up in pain and go to sleep in pain. It took weeks for it to get to a tolerable level so I could try to get my life back on track.

I wanted to do what I could to stay fit in the hope that it’d help me have a reasonable birth experience and a faster recovery. I know the shortness of breath I experience these days is because my diaphragm is being squashed but that doesn’t mean I have to like it! I can’t help but think if my accident hadn’t happened, stuff like this would be a bit easier

I was initially quite zen about the whole thing but I realise now that I am really angry about it. I’m angry about being in pain so much of time. I’m irritated about the fact that when I wake up in the morning I have to be careful about how I stretch because if I do it wrong, it’s a whole world of pain. I’m angry that my rehab will take so long and that even when it’s done and I’ve “recovered”, I still won’t have full functionality. My arm is never going to be 100% ever again.

I’m just generally pissed about the whole thing.

It really feels like the last three months have been so chaotic. Nothing has been normal. My calendar is full of medical appointments and little else (okay, the baby-related appointments are pretty exciting and make for a nice change). While I am making progress – I’ve gone from being able to not lift my arm at all to to about 130 degrees in front of me – it feels like it’s taking forever and it’s hard to not get frustrated by how slow progress is. I can’t really reach backwards at all and I’m still restricted in how high I can lift my arm to the side. It’s a slow, painful process.

As petulant as this will sound, I always end up thinking that this shouldn’t have happened to me and that is just so unfair (see, petulant – next I’ll be stamping my foot). I guess the problem is that before I didn’t really have time to be angry. I was so focused on dealing with the pain I didn’t have room in my head for anything else. Now I do have time and I’ve pretty much lost my zen attitude. I want for it to be done. I’m so over it and that makes me angry.

And life goes on

It’s kinda amazing when you think about it.

I’ve been through what most people would consider a traumatic event – both physically and mentally. But life just goes on. It doesn’t stop because you’re in pain or feeling like absolute shit. It just continues rolling on and the only thing you can do is roll with it.

I finally had an appointment with my naturopath yesterday (yes, I have a naturopath – feel free to roll your eyes) and she said something I found quite interesting. She commented that found my answers to her questions about the accident and how I was feeling “quite measured”. I think she was expecting me to be angry or stressed out of my brain. But really, what’s the point in being either of those things when that’s just a huge waste of energy?

Okay, I’m still a wee bit ticked off about the whole situation. I’m in pain every day and that’s not conducive to a positive, chipper frame of mind. But all I can do is deal with it. I can’t change what happened, I can’t make it be different regardless of how much I wish I could. I got the only justice I knew I would because the woman who hit me didn’t get away scott-free. There were ramifications for her actions. She was fined – heavily so – and from what the police officer was suggesting, she’s lost her driver’s license. That’s about as much justice as I could’ve realistically hoped for.

Initially it was incredibly stressful and hugely upsetting. I was petrified the whole time that something was wrong with the baby. Not a lot of people knew I was pregnant at that point so it’s hard to deal with it when you’ve got people asking how you are and all you want to blurt out is I’m so scared that my baby is dead. Because that’s what I thought. For an entire week.

This particular aspect of my situation wasn’t handled particularly well by the hospital. What would’ve made me (and Richard) feel a million times better would’ve been an ultrasound. Or someone coming to see me who could find the heartbeat. But I didn’t get any of that. Their attitude was that I didn’t have any abdominal pain, there wasn’t any bleeding so I (and the baby) were okay. An obstetrician came to talk to me and tried to be reassuring and tell me that they were sure everything was fine but it wasn’t enough. We finally found out the following week at our 10 week obstetrician appointment where I had my first ultrasound – a quickie done in my obstetrician’s room. There’s no words to describe how it felt to see my little passenger wiggling around and hearing the heartbeat.

Knowing that didn’t take away the amount of pain in my arm. It didn’t change my immediate situation. But it lifted an enormous weight from me and it got rid the mad panic in my brain.

So right now, my choices are either:
1. dwell on what happened and how unfair it was
2. focus on the here-and-now.

After all, I’m still pregnant. In about five months time there will be a little person who will need me. I can’t allow myself to dwell on the bad shit in my life – of which, I will admit, there is plenty right now – because it’s not good for her. Me being all petulant and grumpy won’t help me grow a healthy human being. My focus must be on getting my arm back to as normal – or as normal as it can be – so in the not-too-distant-future I can do stuff like pick up my baby.

At the moment, it feels like I only have a finite amount of energy each day so isn’t it better to put it towards recovery? All that anger and frustration just becomes a burden so why not put it aside? I didn’t die and I’m not seriously injured when you really think about. It could’ve been a million times worse but it wasn’t. My baby survived. She survived me being hit by car. She’s still in there, wiggling about, growing, developing. She’s alive and that should be reason enough to focus on what’s good in life.

Fun times. Or not.

Sooooo… on 17 September I got hit by a car while riding to work. Suffice to say fun times have not been the order of the day since.

I have a spiral fracture in my left humerus (which oddly enough isn’t funny at all). This is where the bone breaks up/down instead of across. They’re known for being extremely painful. I’m still sporting a huge bruise on my arm and there’s a lump which hasn’t gone away after four weeks. I also took a whole lot of skin off my left knee. I have three superb scars now but the bulk of it seems to have been something closer to a friction burn. My knee got insanely itchy after a few days and then the skin started to peel off. It’s still itchy now.

I spent four days in hospital because the pain was so bad I was being given morphine and some other heavy-duty opiate that they don’t seem to want to hand out scripts for.

From what I’ve been told, my broken arm is a bit unusual. It takes a considerable amount of force for this sort of fracture to occur and it normally happens in old people with osteoporosis. I’ve been left wondering if a clean break straight through the bone would’ve been better. But it is healing. It just feels like it’s taking forever.

It’s so frustrating. I haven’t been to work in a month. All I seem to do these days is sleep, drink loads of milk, read, watch tv shows and movies. I’m useless at anything else. I can barely take care of myself. Going out and doing things exhausts me, although that is getting better.

I feel guilty because I’m totally depended on Richard for pretty much everything. He’s doing everything at the moment while I sit on my arse. My poor work colleague has been on her own for three weeks now and I feel so bad about that. I hate the fact that I can only just dress myself. I can’t shower on my own – rather I can but I can’t dry myself off. I can’t cook anything. I can’t drive so Richard has to take me everywhere. I feel helpless and I hate it.

I’m still angry with the woman who hit me. I know it’s all her fault because she’s the one who ran a red light. But there’s a still a part of me that thinks I messed up. That I should’ve been able to avoid the accident. I’ve been riding long enough now to have developed the right sort of skills. I’m angry at myself for something I know consciously I couldn’t control. She hit me. She was the one who ran the red light. It’s all her fault but I still feel like I could’ve done something more than just plough straight into her like I did.

I remember the impact. I remember sliding across the bonnet. I don’t remember separating from my bike but I guess that because I was too caught up in landing on the road and being introduced to a whole new world of pain. I now have a new reference point for pain. I thought my back injury was the worst pain I had experienced in my life but this beats it. I’ve never passed out from pain – vomited, yes – but I got very floaty when the ambos had to splint my arm so they could get me off the road.

So yeah… my life for the last month has been all about my arm. I have a calendar full of medical appointments. I see my GP every week and discuss how my arm is going and when I should return to work.

Yesterday I finally had an appointment at the hospital with an osteo surgeon. After waiting over an hour to be seen, I spent about 10 minutes with him. He was surprised I hadn’t been seen by anyone since I was discharged from the hospital. I should’ve had at least one appointment and he was puzzled as to why I wasn’t seen by a doctor when I had x-rays done two weeks later. So there could’ve been something seriously wrong with my arm and I would’ve never known because the hospital totally dropped the ball on my out-patient treatment. But luckily it looks like my arm is healing just fine. I have another appointment in two weeks with a doctor and more x-rays which will hopefully show the fracture has healed. Then I can start rehab.

The other thing the doctor told me was that I’m looking at about three months for full recovery. Three months!!

Kinda explains why I’m still so angry with the woman who hit me. She caused the accident but I’m the one paying for it and will be for quite awhile to come.

Amy’s Grand Fondo

I know, I know – the Fondo was ages ago (16th September). So why I am only blogging about it now? Got up the Monday morning after the ride, feeling a bit stiff and sore but generally okay until I lent over to pick up my lip balm and blam! Instant back pain. Really intense, haven’t-experienced-it-in-years back pain.


Commence the week off work where I spent four days either lying in bed or lying on the couch (only four because I’d already arranged to have the Monday off). The only time I really went anywhere was to go to the physio. I just find it ironic that I made it through an entire 120km ride feeling reasonably okay – my back was hurting a bit on the first, much more difficult climb – but lean over to pick up a tube of lip balm…

Anyhoo… Amy’s Grand Fondo.

It was great! I originally set myself what I thought was the realistic challenge of completing the ride in five and a half hours. So imagine how happy I was when I finished in under 5hrs (4hr 57mins according to my Garmin). My official ride time was 5hr 36mins but this incorporated all the stops we made including one really long stop at Deans Marsh which was much longer than we intended as the cafe took forever to actually make my fiance’s very uncomplicated espresso.

My overall placing was 3110 (out of how many riders I have no clue) and I was 68th out of 88 riders in my age group (female 40 – 44). I was hoping for a top 25% finish but soon realised that was going to be impossible as I saw or passed very few women in my category which meant they were probably all in the faster groups in front of me. And they were. Still, I didn’t come last in my age group (wasn’t even close to that) so that’s something.

The climb up Skenes Creek was hard – harder than I thought it would be. My back was really talking to me about two-thirds of the way up so I pulled over to have a stretch and admire the view which was stunning. Got a few odd looks because I’d stopped but it was worth it to take in the sight of forest turning into farm land turning into ocean. I managed to get to the top in 47 minutes which is pretty decent for someone who isn’t a great climber. I actually managed to overtake a few people but I have to admit I felt the strongest once we got go into the flat bit between Forest and Deans Marsh. Had to be told to dial it back a bit otherwise I was going to exhaust myself before we even got to the Deans Marsh climb.

This was such different experience from the last time I rode the Great Ocean Road. For one thing I remembered Deans Marsh being a way harder climb than it actually was. Maybe that’s just because I knew what to expect but I really did remember there being a lot more up and a lot less respite. But I suppose this time around I was much better prepared and all those boulie laps paid off 😉

One thing that didn’t go to the plan was the wardrobe malfunction I experienced just as we started. I finally bought myself a pair of Assos bib knicks after swearing vehemently that I never would (waste of money was my usual comment – I have been persuaded otherwise now) and they have a centre strap that runs down your chest and hooks through a little holder at the top of the shorts. I’d be warned that sometimes they become unhooked and that I might like to sew a stitch or two to make the gap narrower but I didn’t have a problem on my first ride with the shorts. Weeeelll… I wasn’t so fortunate this time. We’d just rolled under the start arch and were heading for the timing start line when I felt the strap pop loose. So over to the side of the road I went where I spent a couple of minutes rearranging my clothing. At least it was before the official timing start but we lost contact with the fast riders in our start group and couldn’t catch up. Not that it really mattered as we got overtaken by a whole bunch of other riders from the group behind us.

Riding on closed roads was sensational, especially on a frankly scary road like the Great Ocean Road. I’ve only experienced it once before and that was on open roads and I was pretty much terrified the whole time. But this was great. No cars, no worrying about oncoming traffic because there was none. It made overtaking about a million times easier because there was so much space. I especially enjoyed it on the descents.

Speaking of descents I didn’t find any of them particularly dangerous although the organisers disagreed with me and had put signs out. However, there was one accident that I know of that required an ambulance so maybe I’m wrong about that. I imagine it’s hard for inexperienced riders to not get caught up in the excitement of an event like this which could lead to them taking risks that normally wouldn’t and definitely shouldn’t. Ending up in the back of an ambulance is a pretty stiff price to pay for a misjudgement. I like to descend fast and sometimes I do overstretch myself but I’ve always managed to get things under control when they do go bad. But I have to say I’ve worked pretty hard to get my skills up so that I feel confident on my bike. (I also have my former rally driver Dad to thank for some intensive lessons in the art of cornering when I was learning to drive all those years ago and couldn’t corner properly to save myself. Funny what really sticks in your head.)

It was fun and I’ll definitely be doing it again. Hopefully the next time without the back injury the next day!

Maybe now…

Work in progress. New shifters and brakes are on!

Whoo hoo!! All finished!! Oohh… look how pretty she is now 🙂

Maybe now I’ll shake off my well and truly entrenched case of CBF (or the more polite version of CBB – can’t be bothered – I’ll leave it to you to work out the other one).

Yup, I’m having some serious issues scrounging up the motivation to get on the bike besides commuting to work. Which means I’m barely riding my Cannondale. I always seem to have some excuse: it’s too windy, it’s raining, I’m tired… Blah, blah, blah, blah. But I think what it really comes down to is that I know I’ve become very unfit in the last few months. It means I’m back at the beginning and all the gains I’d made, the strength I’d developed is totally gone.

Case in point: this 70km spin around The Bellarine Peninsula left me totally shattered. The first two hours were okay, I wasn’t exactly powering along like I used to but I did okay up the hilly bits (granny geared it the whole way!). The third hour was a total disaster. We turned into a crosswind and it just smashed me. I felt totally drained and nauseous. About 60kms in, I had to stop on the side of the road. I physically couldn’t keep turning the cranks. I don’t think I’ve ever actually had that happen to me before, even on some of the epic rides I went on earlier this year which were way longer and physically more demanding.

And it was only a 70km ride. It took me three hours to do a 70km ride. What’s up with that? A few months ago if I was on the bike for three hours I was doing over 80kms.

Part of me just isn’t feeling comfortable on the bike. I can’t find my rhythm, which sounds so weird when all you’re doing is turning cranks. No rhythm required there! Yeah? Really? Try telling yourself that once you’ve lost it! Before today, the bike hadn’t changed. I have. And I’m not sure I like it too much. I’m slow and overly-cautious. I feel awkward on the bike, like I’ve got all the grace on a swan on land. I didn’t used to feel this way.

Coming back from an accident sucks. Got no idea how to fix my current predicament except to keep riding. And perhaps take a dose of HTFU.

Little niggles

So, it’s been about a month since I fell over. On the whole, I’ve pretty much recovered. Well, sometimes I yawn and it hurts but that’s nothing really. Everything appears to have healed well except for my elbow. If I bump it, the pain I experience is well beyond hey, you’ve just whacked your elbow dummy! pain. I’ve only done a few rides since the accident but each time my elbow starts aching about 40 minutes in. It was hurting today on my ride to work which isn’t that far. But I’m not sure what I can do about it. My elbow was x-rayed at the hospital and it was no sign of breaks or bone chips. It’s most likely tendon and nerve damage and there’s no fixing that except with time. I keep thinking I should visit my physiotherapist but what could she do?

My confidence is pretty much back as well. I don’t feel the anxiety I did on my first ride. Still, sometimes I can be edgy and I know I’m being overly cautious on the road, probably to the annoyance of other people. But I don’t believe being overly cautious is a bad thing right now. I’ve traumatised my body enough recently, I don’t need to to it again.

One thing I have noticed on my recovery is that my cornering appears to have been affected. I’ve always been pretty fearless when it comes to throwing myself around corners at speed (after learning them of course) but I noticed I’ve back off quite a bit. There’s a section on the bike path that I usually take great joy in hurtling down – it’s got a gentle decline on it where you can build up quite a turn of speed but lately I’ve been over-thinking my line and I start drifting off to one side before correcting myself by touching the brakes a little. When I do take corners at speed I’m chosing a much wider line (which is probably not a good idea on busy city streets). I’m fairly certain it’s because I’m over-thinking everything I do on the bike right now. I should probably stop it because that way leads to accident. Somehow I have to learn again to trust my body to do what I want to do and believe that the bike will respond how it did in the past.

If nothing else, this latest crash has taught me a lot about myself as a rider. Perhaps sometimes I was stupid and doing stuff that was beyond my abilities (eg. descending at 60km/h down Kinglake probably wasn’t the smartest idea when it’s a really technical descent). Sure, at the moment I really don’t like being overtaken by just about everyone but it’s inevitable. My fitness levels are nowhere near what they were and if I try too hard all I do is wear myself out even more quickly and have to struggle the whole way home. Not fun!

But I still love being on my bike. Sometimes when I ride to work I get caught at a train level crossing and I look at the people crushed into the carriages and think I’m never doing that ever again. All those people who complain that they don’t have time to exercise…

But now to fun stuff! Bike upgrades!!

The current thing is whether or not to get a new groupset for my Cannondale. I’m aware that it’ll mostly be a cosmetic change and I’ll get no real value out of it. But I still want to do it. There has been many discussions with people about what I should buy. Should I go for Campagnolo Athena or really blow out my budget and get Chorus? Or maybe SRAM Force? But it’s simply an aesthetic change so why spend the money?

My current suggestion to my brother (and bike mechanic) is for me to buying new shifters and brakes and be done with it. I’m fairly certain the rear shifter is shredding the cable again so replacing it seems like a really good idea. The brakes my bike came with are simply rubbish and I’d buy new ones right now if I wasn’t thinking groupset.

But I don’t know. I woke up this morning having decided that yes, I’m going to buy a groupset and hah!! to it being merely an aesthetic change. After all, it’s my money. But now it seems silly to spend the money when so few of the components need to be changed. And I’d have to buy some extra bits to get Athena to fit. New shifters and brakes seems way less complicated (and expensive).

Eugh… it’s starting to make my head hurt.

It was inevitable

I was always going to get back on the bike.

What I didn’t expect was how I felt. I didn’t expect to feel as nervous as I did. I’ve always been pretty confident on the bike. It’s been something that I inherently know I can do. But not this time. I wheeled my bike out to the street, swung my leg over and stood there, looking down at my right foot resting on the pedal which wasn’t even clipped in. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I was feeling really, really anxious – a feeling I’m not used to associating with bike riding.


Okay, so now I need to deal with the fact that my confidence is shot. I’ve never felt the way I did on Saturday morning before setting off on a ride. My nervousness wasn’t helped by the fact that three cyclists who were out the front of Cafe Racer wandered out onto the road in front of me, even with my one of the friends shouting “ding, ding, ding!!” at the top of her voice in an attempt to get their attention. If you look closely enough, you can see a spike in my heart rate which indicates when it happened. Beach Rd also seemed to be much busier than usual. There were a lot of cars out at 8am.

I didn’t expect this to happen. I thought I’d be able to just get back on my bike and be fine. But I wasn’t. The other accident I had last year, I hopped back on the bike and it felt just fine. I wasn’t nervous or uncomfortable. It felt like it always did so I figured that it’d be the same this time. I thought I’d just jump back on the bike and everything would be hunky-dory. Bit surprising to discover that it wasn’t.

Still, it wasn’t all bad. I got to ride with friends who were happy to ride at a slower pace than normal. It was great to be out in the sunshine with good company. It did made a difference to have people around me who were happy to keep pace with me and stayed on the outside of me. Having people around me who I knew could trust made a huge difference. So thanks to my peeps who came out 🙂

Too good not to repost on my blog

Some answers to just about any bike forum post I’ve ever read
posted by Skip Bernet, Surly blog

If you think your bike looks good, it does.

If you like the way your bike rides, it’s an awesome bike.

You don’t need to spend a million dollars to have a great bike, but if you do spend a million dollars and know what you want you’ll probably also have a great bike.

Yes, you can tour on your bike – whatever it is.

Yes, you can race on your bike – whatever it is.

Yes, you can commute on your bike – whatever it is.

26” wheels or 29” or 650b or 700c or 24” or 20” or whatever – yes, that wheel size is rad and you’ll probably get where you’re going.

Disc brakes, cantis, v-brakes, and road calipers all do a great job of stopping a bike when they’re working and adjusted.

No paint job makes everyone happy.

Yes, you can put a rack on that. Get some p-clamps if there are no mounts.

Steel is a great material for making bike frames – so is aluminum, carbon fiber, and titanium.

You can have your saddle at whatever angle makes you happy.

Your handlebars can be lower than your saddle, even with your saddle, or higher than your saddle. Whichever way you like it is right.

Being shuttled up a downhill run does not make you a weak person, nor does choosing not to fly off of a 10 foot drop.

Bike frames made overseas can be super cool. Bike frames made in the USA can be super cool.

Hey, tattooed and pierced long shorts wearin flat brim hat red bull drinkin white Oakley sportin rad person on your full suspension big hit bike – nice work out there.

Hey, little round glasses pocket protector collared shirt skid lid rear view mirror sandal wearing schwalbe marathon running pletscher two-leg kickstand tourist – good job.

Hey, shaved leg skinny as hell super duper tan line hear rate monitor checking power tap train in the basement all winter super loud lycra kit million dollar wheels racer – keep it up.

The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

The following short answers are good answers, but not the only ones for the question asked – 29”, Brooks, lugged, disc brake, steel, Campagnolo, helmet, custom, Rohloff, NJS, carbon, 31.8, clipless, porteur.

No bike does everything perfectly. In fact, no bike does anything until someone gets on it to ride.

Sometimes, recumbent bikes are ok.

Your bikeshop is not trying to screw you. They’re trying to stay open.

Buying things off of the internet is great, except when it sucks.

Some people know more about bikes than you do. Other people know less.

Maybe the person you waved at while you were out riding didn’t see you wave at them.

It sucks to be harassed by assholes in cars while you’re on a bike. It also sucks to drive behind assholes on bikes.

Did you build that yourself? Awesome. Did you buy that? Cool.

Wheelies are the best trick ever invented. That’s just a fact.

Which is better, riding long miles, or hanging out under a bridge doing tricks? Yes.

Yes, you can break your collar bone riding a bike like that.

Stopping at stop signs is probably a good idea.

Driving with your bikes on top of your car to get to a dirt trail isn’t ideal, but for most people it’s necessary.

If your bike has couplers, or if you have a spendy bike case, or if you pay a shop to pack your bike, or if you have a folding bike, shipping a bike is still a pain in the ass for everyone involved.

That dent in your frame is probably ok, but maybe it’s not. You should get it looked at.

Touch up paint always looks like shit. Often it looks worse than the scratch.

A pristine bike free of dirt, scratches, and wear marks makes me sort of sad.

A bike that’s been chained to the same tree for three years caked with rust and missing parts makes me sad too.

Bikes purchased at Wal-mart, Target, Costco, or K-mart are generally not the best bang for your buck.

Toe overlap is not the end of the world, unless you crash and die – then it is.

Sometimes parts break. Sometimes you crash. Sometimes it’s your fault.

Yes, you can buy a bike without riding it first. It would be nice to ride it first, but it’s not a deal breaker not to.

Ownership of a truing stand does not a wheel builder make.

32 spokes, 48 spokes, 24 spokes, three spokes? Sure.

Single speed bikes are rad. Bikes with derailleurs and cassettes are sexy. Belt drive internal gear bikes work great too.

Columbus, TruTemper, Reynolds, Ishiwata, or no brand? I’d ride it.

Tubeless tires are pretty cool. So are tubes.

The moral of RAGBRAI is that families and drunken boobs can have fun on the same route, just maybe at different times of day.

Riding by yourself kicks ass. You might also try riding with a group.

Really fast people are frustrating, but they make you faster. When you get faster, you might frustrate someone else.

Stopping can be as much fun as riding.

Lots of people worked their asses off to build whatever you’re riding on. You should thank them.


Missing riding my bike like crazy at the moment. I really hate public transport but the weather is being crap at the moment and I don’t trust myself to be able to ride to work safely. My concentration still isn’t at its best and I get very tired by the end of the day. Next week!! Next week I’ll be back on the bike for my three day week (three days cos it’s my birthday next Thursday and I always take my birthday off).

So, I’m a klutz

I’ve had an interesting weekend to say the least. Hospital ERs are not my favourite place.

I came off my bike on Friday evening after work. It’d just started raining so I thought it’d be a good idea to turn my cycling cap which I was wearing under my helmet around so the brim could offer some protection for my glasses. What I didn’t take into account was how treacherous the smooth bluestone gutter would be. My left foot was already unclipped as I had just crossed an intersection so I was prepared to pull over. But when I put my foot down, I was still moving and I think it slipped out from under me. I lost control, the bike twisted to the right where my foot was still clipped in and I went down like a sack of spuds. Landed head first on the road, smashing my helmet – and in turn my head – into a metal manhole cover. Later on, we discovered a crack in my helmet so I gave my noggin a good thumping.

Went to hospital Friday night, feeling pretty awful. My head was thumping and I felt dizzy and nauseous. The ER was packed so it took a while to be seen by the triage nurse. (Really, why do people with the sniffles go to the ER on a Friday evening and waste everyone’s time?) Just as I started to feel really, really bad the triage nurse came over. He checked me over, gave me some panadol, refilled the bag of ice I had for my head and told me it’d be about an hour before I’d be seen in the so-called “fast-track”.

As we waited in the fast-track waiting room, I started to feel a bit better as the panadol dulled the pain in my head a little bit. More waiting and finally got checked over by a doctor. He decided I needed x-rays on my hip and elbow. Hip because this time I managed to land right on the bone, my elbow because I was experiencing some pain when rotating my arm and he was concerned I might’ve chipped bones in both of them. But I managed to talk him out of insisting I get a head CT scan which was pretty stupid considering it was my head that sent me to the ER in the first place. I was feeling okay at that point (alert and talking coherently) so he sent me home with some pain killers and instructions that I wasn’t to be left alone.

Saturday started okay. I didn’t have much of a headache when I first woke up but the lump on my head had egged up massively overnight. Fast-forward about two hours and it was a different story. I was really dizzy, to the point I couldn’t keep my eyes open without seeing three of everything as my eyes struggled to orientate on a point, incredibly nauseous and in a good deal of pain. Not sure why I decided it’d be a good idea to have a shower but the vertigo had backed off a bit and I felt really grotty. Turned out is was a bad idea as I nearly collapsed and ended up throwing up. At that point, it was decided I had to go back to the hospital and I really needed a CT scan to see if something was wrong with my head.

So back to hospital we went. I didn’t have to wait quite so long this time and I was admitted to the actual ER, not the fast-track. Had an ECG done, got hooked up to the heart monitor and had blood taken. I really don’t like people shoving needles in my arm.

The fun part was the nurse having to change the alarm on the heart monitor as it keep going it off. Turns out my actual resting heart rate is around 50bpm, which is the point where the alarm was set to go off. I thought my resting rate was about 60bpm but that’s apparently not the case. The nurse kept looking at the monitor, looking at me to see what was going on before asking how much riding I do. When I answered about 200kms, that was when she changed the setting because she realised there wasn’t anything wrong with my heart and I wasn’t lapsing into unconsciousness.

Spent about eight hours yesterday in the ER so they could do a head CT scan, a x-ray of my back as my neck and left shoulder had started hurting quite badly and a belly ultrasound to make sure I had no internal bleeding because I was complaining of pain in my chest when I had to sit up. The CT scan was kinda weird. I’ve never had one before. I got a bit of surprise when the thing I was lying on starting moving. I would’ve liked to have seen the scan (who wouldn’t want to see a pic of their brain?) but didn’t ask to as the senior doctor who did the ultrasound seemed a little puzzled as to why I was there. He couldn’t see that anything was wrong with me apart from some bruises and a bump on the head. I was finally given the all clear to go home at about 7.30pm. No bleeds on the brain, no broken bones, not even a bone chip. Just a mild concussion, a honking great big lump on my head, a headache that comes and goes, some soft tissue damage to my neck and left shoulder and some great looking bruises.

So yes, yet another misadventure for me.

Still, I’m okay. I’m very aware that I was extremely lucky. It could’ve been so much worse than me sporting a headache and lump for a few days as well as needing to buy a new helmet. I was always a bit of a helmet advocate before Friday but I’m definitely one now. If I hadn’t been wearing it, I would’ve cracked my skull open and I’d be in hospital right now.

Still, one thing I have learnt yet again is that on the whole people are pretty decent. I was helped by a total stranger, Marissa the occupational therapy student, who just happened to be driving by. She didn’t have to stop but obviously felt she needed to and should. She really didn’t seem to care that she was kneeling in a gutter in the rain, she just helped me. I’m really hoping she didn’t end up with a parking ticket because she parked in a 15 minute spot. Surely the universe can’t be that mean.

There is one big difference from my last accident to this one. Last time, I got stuck calling around, trying to find someone to come to the hospital. This time I had someone with me. It’s still a relatively new relationship but now I have no doubts about how he feels about me (not that I really had any). How could I when on Saturday, he got me out of the shower, dried me off, calmed me down, helped me dress, put my socks and shoes on and took me to hospital where he sat for eight hours holding my hand. You don’t do that for someone you feel meh about. He’s my hero 🙂