Monthly Archives: August 2011

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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 🙂