Monthly Archives: February 2010

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Back in the saddle

Took Lisa out for a spin today and it felt really good. I was definitely slower than normal but it just felt good to ride again.

Unfortunately it looks like I’ve busted the bike computer I was given. The display still works but there’s no data being received so I think I’ve damaged the cable which means it’s ka-put. I’m just glad I didn’t have my accident on my new bike. That would’ve really sucked if I’d damaged my bike and Garmin!

I need to get new handle-bar tape because what’s on there now is ripped right where my fingers rest. It doesn’t look that bad but I know it’ll annoy me. Not sure how I managed to do it on both sides!!

My ribs don’t hurt quite so much these days. They’re still painful and I need to be careful but it’s nowhere near as bad as what it was. My bruises are fading too. The one on my knee has spread out and it looks really ugly but at least it’s stopped bleeding. Still hurts though so I have to be very careful to not whack it into anything otherwise it’ll tear again.

I know I was extremely lucky. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I realised that if I stayed in the bike path on the inside, the other car would’ve definitely hit me and I’d be in much worse shape than I am. Going on the outside probably saved me from serious injuries, including a broken leg. It’s not much consolation but torn rib tendons and bruises are a much better outcome than a broken leg.

I’m such a baby

I don’t do well with injuries. Not well at all. It feels like someone has taken to the left side of my chest with a hammer. I’m really feeling it today. Every time I take a deep breath or move, a sharp stabbing pain radiates out from my chest. Lying down and getting up is excruciating. I have no idea if this is normal or how long I’m going to feel like this. The doctor at the hospital probably told me but I was so whacked out of my head on morphine, I can’t remember. (A quick google search says it’ll hurt for at least six weeks and the pain is normal.) I suppose what’s worrying me slightly is that I have pain in my back but it’s probably referred pain from the rib. It’s in line with the injury site so it would seem normal for the pain to be spreading out.

The bruises are coming out now. My left knee isn’t swollen any more which indicates the bleeding has finally stopped but the whole side of my knee is one giant and painful bruise. Yay for hematomas! I have a spectacular bruise on my right arm which I’m not 100% sure how I got. I don’t remember putting my arms out in an effort to break my fall (sure fire way to break your collar bone!) but I probably did it anyway.

Hospitals are not fun places to be on your own. It’s not fun to be in pain and surrounded by strangers. Admittedly those strangers were there to help me but mostly I wanted someone I knew to hold my hand and tell me it was going to be okay. I have no concept of how long I was by myself but it felt like forever. Being in a totally unfamiliar place that smells funny, unable to move because of a neck brace is actually really scary. It wasn’t helped by the fact that somewhere nearby there was a guy who would yell in pain about every ten minutes. Turns out he had a dislocated knee but he was resisting treatment. People do weird things when they’re in pain.

Familiar voices make such a huge difference. Even in my morphine induced blur, I felt better when I had people I knew nearby. After I panicked when I though I was going to throw up but couldn’t move, having my friend take my hand and rub my arm was hugely comforting.

It’s funny, I find this whole thing really hard to write about. I don’t cope well with being injured. It was scary being carted off in an ambulance. It was really scary after I’d hit the ground and recovered from the initial shock that my ribs started hurting and wouldn’t stop. I know I’m lucky that I wasn’t seriously injured and I know I’m lucky that I’m not hospital. But why do I feel so… traumatised by it? Is it because I’m just a big baby who needs to harden up?

I have to find a way to deal with the pain in my ribs because it’s going to be there for awhile. They can’t be instantly fixed.

Really wasn’t on my list of things to do last night

Today I’m sporting a likely cracked rib, a bruised and slightly swollen left knee and I’ve got a few bruises popping up. The chest x-rays didn’t show an obviously broken a rib but the doctor was fairly certain I have a hairline fracture which won’t show up.

Hitting a car on the way home from work last night really wasn’t on my list of things to do. What was getting some takeaway from the local Japanese place and sitting on the couch. There may have also been time set aside for eating what’s left of the open bag of peanut butter m&ms. (I was having a bad day okay!)

So yes… I hit a car. It’s kinda hard to explain. I think it was at the intersection of Canning and Richardson St. Two cars. One next to me who was turning left and one crossing Canning on Richardson. The guy on Canning had stopped and left space for me to get by. I think he edged forward or took his foot off the brake and I decided it would be better to go around him on the outside. But the car driver on Richardson thought the one on Canning had stopped for him so he went. I saw this, tried to brake but was going too fast and ended up rapidly decelerating by slamming into the back of the car. My bike kinda jack-knifed and I went over the frame instead of the handlebars. Ended up a crumpled mess on the road, coming down on my left side which I’d just rammed into the car.

First time in my life I’ve had morphine. Not sure I like it that much. It’s great at deadening the pain but it made me feel sick. I’m also really not keen on the neck collar. It just hurt my jaw and I was so glad to have it taken off when they finally removed it. The time at the hospital is actually a bit of a blur. Mostly I just felt sick until they gave me some really good anti-nausea drugs after I had my x-rays.

I did discover that my resting heart rate is actually quite low. While I was lying in the hospital, it got down into the low 40s. That’s probably lower than normal for me as I was doped up on morphine but it never really got above 50. I had the doctor come in and start checking my head and neck but as soon as she touched my head, my body temperature shot up and I was certain I was going to vomit. But I still had the neck brace on so they had to page a bunch of people to come in and roll me on my side. And then I didn’t vomit. All that effort for nothing. I was hooked up a heart monitor during this ordeal (panicking whilst wearing a neck brace and unable to move on your own is freaken scary) but my friend who was with me said my heart only got up to 56. So, obviously I’m fitter than I thought I was. Not exactly comforting but kinda good to know.

I’ve never hurt my ribs before. It’s not something I’d recommend to anyone. It hurts to take a deep breath, it hurts to laugh, cough and even burp. Sitting upright is more comfortable than lying down but it still hurts.

The risks we take

I knew when I started riding in Melbourne that it would be risky at times. Everyone who rides has at least a dozen stories of near misses. I’ve got my own fair share. It’s just part of the experience.

But last night’s near miss really rattled me.

I was waiting at the lights at the corner of St George’s Road and Holden St, heading home down St George’s Road. The lights went green and I pushed off. I put new cletes on my shoes last week and I’ve been having a little trouble with them as they’re much harder to clip in at the moment. I couldn’t work out which way the pedal was so I quickly looked down to check. When I looked up, there was a car turning – illegally – in front of me. It was going way too fast and I didn’t have time to brake, turn away or do anything except make a tiny squeaking noise as I was 100% certain I was about to be hit.

Obviously, I got lucky otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this right now. But it was close and I mean really close. Closest call I’ve had in a long time. Being the big whimpy girl I am, I totally freaked out. I started shaking and wobbled the rest of the way home with tears leaking out of my eyes. I don’t know why it scared me so much. Maybe it’s because I’ve had this happen before except that time I did get hit. Got really lucky that day – the road was wet and I somehow managed to stay upright after the initial contact and slid into the side of the car. Well, it was more like a slamming into the car followed by a desperate grab of the roof instead of going down like a sack of spuds. Of course, I was yelling a string of profanities at the top of my voice and was being watched by a captive audience. I wasn’t seriously hurt and was able to walk away – after giving the car driver a piece of my mind.

Last night was genuinely scary but I can’t tell you why. I’ve had four wheel drives get within centimetres of me and it’s given a me a nasty surprise but not affected me like that. On Sunday morning, I had a bus nearly launch out in front of me. Maybe it’s because I’m partially to blame. I looked down when I shouldn’t have. I took my eyes off the traffic even if it was for a second. The person in the car was doing something incredibly stupid and dangerous but I should’ve been watching. I should’ve been looking out for myself. I know there are car drivers out there who really do think cyclists are the scourge of road and would run us all down if they could get away with it and I ride with the knowledge in my head. Last night I dropped the ball and nearly got myself seriously injured or killed.

I have to stop thinking about it though. Nothing bad happened to me except I got a huge fright. Wasn’t hurt, injured or maimed in any way, shape or form. It’s nothing but a moment in time. The lesson is that I must be more careful all the time. It’s crap that we have to be so defensive all the time and ride like car drivers are out to kill us but it’s a choice between that or not riding at all.

What you missed this morning

Me breaking 70kms on my bike:
Okay so it was by 1.5kms but still…

I nearly made it to the turn around point at junction of Neapan Highway and Beach Road but I knew I didn’t have the reserves to make it there so I turned around just after St Bebe’s School. I’m disappointed I couldn’t make it but glad I’m smart enough to know not to push it. I will get there (and probably sooner than I think) but it has to be when I’m ready to. Right now, I’m not quite there. Plus, I wasn’t prepared for how hilly it got at the end.

I got a couple of lifts on the way back. I was really struggling on my own so I latched onto the first group I could keep up with. I think I surprise a lot of guys because I can keep up with them when by all appearances, I shouldn’t be able to. However, I think I had two guys checking out my butt on the way back! I was pedaling along, minding my own business to hear a comment along the lines of “that’s a better view”. The rest of my body might be in terrible shape but my butt? Totally rocking! 😉

Best bit about today? Having my housemate cook me scrambled eggs when I finally made it home 🙂

I took the new bike out for a “getting to know you” ride yesterday morning. I’m really looking forward to getting her now. She was so light and I felt like I had more power from a standing start. The gears got a bit sticky a few times but that can be sorted out. I added a Garmin Edge 500 with a HRM to the package yesterday so I’ll be entering the world of power output, maps and a whole bunch of pretty graphs when I get her. The ride yesterday really sold me on the bike. She handled really well and I didn’t feel as scrunched up. I wasn’t even aware I did feel scrunched up but after riding the new bike, I realised that I am. But that’s not going to stop me from riding.

I’m about to head off to the bike shop to pick a pair of awesome Sugio arm warmers. They’re white with little skulls on them.

What you missed today


A short but mildly taxing pedal around the Capital City Trail brought my housemates and I to the very lovely Dights Falls on the Yarra River. I was surprised by some of the hills on the ride. Some of the ascents are quite sharp and there are quite a few long slow ones as well. From what I can tell, the Capital City Trail is actually quite long so I think it’ll be worth investigating more thoroughly. But I should’ve known it would be hilly because Kew Boulevard (actually Yarra Boulevard) is the border of the park.

Black Rock this morning was stunning. Perfect riding weather. The sun was out, the temperature was low and there was the tiniest breeze keeping things cool. And, well, it gave me time to come up with a plan that gets me my new bike when I get back from America instead having to wait until the middle of May.

Days like today make the hard days worthwhile.


I’m not exactly sure how it happened but I kinda bought a new bike today.

I put a deposit on an absolutely gorgeous Cannondale CAAD9 Feminine 5 in brushed alloy even though I’m still paying off Lisa.

The official Cannondale photo.

Always was a sucker for brushed alloy (as illustrated by my MacBook Pro). The leaf motif is all over the frame.

This bike is a better fit for me with a top bar of 51cm instead of the 46cm that Lisa has. It should correct any little quirks with my riding style and will hopefully sort out my problems with my elbows.

It wasn’t my intention to get a new bike just yet. And certainly not a Cannondale. The sales guy was really good. He didn’t do the hard sell or anything. He showed me the bike and we talked about bikes in general. He was funny and didn’t treat me like I was some ditzy girl who liked the bike because it’s so pretty. He picked it up to show me how light it was and then handed it to me so I could see for myself. He really won me over and by the time I went out of the test ride I was pretty much sold. I did ask a bunch of questions before finally committing.

Such a gorgeous bike. A few tweaks and she’ll be perfect. Heh… I’m going to have a bike with a carbon seat post in a few months. And I’m thinking hot pink tape for the handle bars 😉