Monday, July 11, 2011

Do Unto Others

          The other cyclist was passing me on the outside. As she moved ahead of me, she took a hard right without warning, turning directly into my path. With no time to react, I slammed on my brakes to avoid hitting her. Although I managed that, I had only pressed down on the front brake. Before I even knew what was happening, the rest of my bike kicked up and sent me flying over my handlebars. I flew through the air and slammed into the pavement with a dull thud.
          Lying on the ground in pain, I heard her bike away.

This one is partially based on an unfortunate accident I had Friday night.  Fortunately, I wasn't hurt that badly and the other cyclist in question didn't bike away casually.

I was biking home after a tiring game of soccer when I passed by some road work.  Coming out on the other side of the construction, I noticed two children on a side street biking quickly in my direction.  One of them turned speedily in front of me, causing me to swerve a bit to avoid her sudden entrance onto the main road.  I was taken aback by her reckless biking and, seeing that we were biking at about the same speed, I tried to quickly explain some of the finer points of cycling safety, including why what she had just done was dangerous.

Considering that I was just some stranger on a bike and she was "racing" as she so candidly told me, it's not terribly surprising that she didn't really pay attention to my advice.  Nodding absently, she told me that she was going to pass me.  I figured she meant that she was done listening and was going to bike on ahead of me.

I was only half right.

She was definitely done listening (if she had ever started), but she wasn't biking on ahead.  Instead, like the character in the above story, she turned directly in front of me.  I don't possess quite as much class as my fictitious protagonist, so I let loose some loud curses and tried to stop.  However, my protagonist and I are not completely dissimilar, because I stupidly only used the front brakes.  Like him, I went sailing over my handlebars and hit the ground.  Fortunately, I managed to roll into the fall, coming out of it with nothing more than some bruises.  Certainly some painful ones, but nothing broken, so there is that.

The little girl actually stopped her racing and came back to see if I was okay.  Ignoring her at first, I let out a few more curse words that I imagine she hadn't heard before.  As more people came to see if I was alright, I sheepishly got to my feet and said that I would live.  Turning to the girl, I tried to make the experience into a teachable moment, explaining that this kind of thing is exactly what I was talking about before she'd cut me off.  Judging by the terror in her eyes, I imagine that she didn't hear many of my words the second time around either.  But she probably did learn a lesson.

Anyways, all this to say that I wanted to try to capture what the experience of getting thrown over one's handlebars was like.  I think this effort is a little too rushed, focusing too much on the entire sequence and not enough on the handlebar portion.  Might have to give this a second go around...

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