When I first got my bike (affectionately known as Dexter, by the way) I sat in my kitchen, precariously balanced between the wall and the table, and practised clipping in and unclipping over and over until I felt confident enough to tackle the roads. For the first two months I wondered what I was so worried about; it was all working brilliantly and I felt pretty chuffed. And, then, out of the blue came my first fall and then my second … you can see where I’m going with this. Here are my best and most embarrassing reasons for scratching poor Dexter.
1. Completely underestimating the irrationality of drivers
At the bottom of my road there’s a T-junction. The stop sign facing me is a clear indication that oncoming traffic has the right of way. Like any other day before, I slowed down and prepared to unclip. As I looked to my right, I spotted an oncoming car, which, upon seeing me, came to a halt almost in front of me. Well, that was enough to send me into a spin. My head refused to engage my feet and I did a slow motion fall onto my left side. As I lay there, uninjured apart from a bruised ego, I caught glimpse of 4 suited men with huge grins … I’m sure I made their day!
2. Turning to look behind
It’s not often that I have to do this, as my husband is either on my wheel or, if on a hill, way ahead of me. But feeling rather strong one day, I got out of my seat and pumped past him up a wee incline. At the top I thought I’d look back to see just how far behind I left him and, as I looked over my left shoulder, I steered myself into the nettles on the verge and then into a stone wall. I was stranded in a rather awkward and, needless to say, prickly position until my husband pulled me back up. I know I made his day!
3. Reaching for your water bottle with your wrong hand
Being a relatively new rider, I stick to the same routines. I always unclip my left foot and I always drink with my right hand. Not sticking to these routines would upset my natural equilibrium. The other day, hubby, riding on my left, asked me to pass him my bottle as he had finished his own. My mind was telling me, ‘no, don’t do it’ but my heart was telling me, ‘don’t be stupid’. It turned out my mind was right!
4. Being clipped from behind by your partner
As Wifey Domestique, I’m supposed to alert my hubby to any dangers in the road, mostly manholes and potholes and sometimes the odd lady pheasant or lazy sheep. But when I’m in the groove and cruising along at a good pace, I’m rather reluctant to take a hand from my handlebars and point to the potential obstruction (due to point 3 above). Well, this didn’t work out so well on our last ride, when I slowed to negotiate a big pothole and my husband ran into the back of me. I’m not sure who was most displeased that day!
5. Looking at lambs
Okay, this one hasn’t actually caused a fall yet, but it has caused me to ride off the road, forcing some drastic maneuvering in order to recover. What can I say; how can anyone not love a lamb?
I’d love to hear about your best falls, notwithstanding those that have caused injury! Feel free to share them here.