Monday, 2 April 2012
As easy as falling off a bike.
Even if you have had the foresight to expressly forbid your cyclist from falling off his bike, it's inevitable really. What goes up must come down, and all that. And what goes reasonably quickly on two wheels is going to hit the deck at some point.
It was a Friday in February, about 3pm, and the cyclist had been out for 5 hours on a long ride, when I got a call on my mobile. I knew instantly (wives always know).
'Are you hurt?'
'Yes.' Simple, to the point.
'Where are you?'
He gave me the address, and I got in the car, hands shaking a normal amount.
The drive was less than 15mins, he was within 5 miles of home. And I knew he wasn't seriously hurt - he had called me, not an ambulance. I'd checked with him and it was a straightforward wipe out, no other vehicle involvement; one of my biggest fears is he comes off and gets hit by something behind him not paying attention while he's on the ground.
So while I was in the car and on my way I could get on with the serious business of worrying about the bike. Because the train of thought in my tiny mind had leapt from Oh my God are you OK to Oh my God is your bike OK about 1/100 of a nanosecond after finding out he wasn't badly damaged. And being brutally honest, Oh my God is your bike OK *really* means Oh my God how much is this going to cost.
I hadn't dared ask about the state of the bike when he'd rung, eager to get to him rather than prolong the conversation, and worried I guess about what his answer would be. Not only was the fear of the expense of a shattered frame or knackered wheels a very real one, I knew he'd be bloody unbearable if his bike was out of action pending repair or replacement for any length of time (by that I mean longer than about 2 days).
In the event, we got off lightly. He had shielded the bike from any major damage with his body (smart, huh?) - the rear derailleur hanger was a write off, bent in so far he couldn't drop the wheel out to get it in the car, and there were a couple scuffs and scrapes - enough very minor damage to stop him attempting to ride home, which can only have been a good thing.
The cyclist got off pretty lightly too, really. Adrenaline kept him from feeling the worst of it until I'd got him home. One skinless zombie looking knee that oozed mingingly for a few days, a blow to the chest that developed into some grubby looking yellowish bruises and a nasty knock to the wrist that resulted in an X-Ray a week later was the sum total of the physical effects.
Sadly the lycra he was wearing that day had to be put out of it's misery. We buried it in a shoebox in the bottom of the garden.