19 September 2005

Missing the Bike.

I am a recreational cyclist. Every year, I put at least a thousand miles on my bike(s). Sometimes, I put in a couple thousand. This year, I won't be able to do it.

Last summer, we went up to New Hampshire to visit my father-in-law. While we were there, I rented a road bike from a shop in a neighboring town, and planned on a 40 mile ride up past Lake Sunapee, where there is a ski resort, and then back to the town of Bradford where my wife and I were staying for our anniversary. It was a beautiful ride. For a flatlander, I did just fine climbing the much larger hills than what I was used to. I didn't have a computer to know my actual pace, but my perceived pace was much better than I had anticipated. I felt good and was enjoying the scenery, the peace and quiet, the cool mountain air.

Then, I decided to quickly ride across the covered bridge that is in Bradford on my way back to the inn. Bad decision. As I was riding onto the bridge, I noticed that the slats of the wooden bridge ran the length of the bridge, and had gaps that were as wide or wider than the narrow tires on the road bike. I decided to get off, but before I could stop, the front wheel fell into the gap, and I went over the handlebars. Next thing I knew, I was splayed across the middle of the covered bridge, in intense pain.

I dragged myself and the bike over the side of bridge and tried to compose myself. A couple cars crossed the bridge and went right past me. I decided to try to ride the couple of miles back to the inn. I got back on the bike, but couldn't stand the pain in my shoulder. I was convinced that I had snapped my collar bone. I struggled to the real estate office at the end of the bridge, collapsed into their door and asked them to call my wife. The two ladies in there were great, they made me coffee and tried to make me comfortable.

My wife showed up, expecting that I had a flat tire. When she saw me in pain, with a white face, she panicked. Luckily, I had ridden past the nearest hospital and was able to tell her how to get there. I have to say, the roads in New Hampshire were not as smooth as I had thought they were an hour earlier. Every bumped rattled me.

Anyway, no broken bones, just a separated collar bone. It was supposed to get better with time, but it didn't. Early this summer, I had surgery to get it fixed. I couldn't ride until that healed. Now that I am healthy, I have been unable to ride because I have been too busy.

It is downright frustrating to watch my bike collect dust in the garage. It is even more frustrating to watch my waistline slowly expand from the lack of exercise. Sadly, I cannot see any change in the short term. I am hoping that I will be able to ride again soon, but I simply am not sure.

The moral of the story -- don't ride bikes across covered bridges.



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