The Internet is a weird thing. You make friends with people first, get to know them, and then you make friends “in reality.” Perhaps epistolary relationships were once like this, but not really. On the Internet you get photos, social media updates, and so much more information about the stranger with whom you’re friends. It’s not like you have to wait six months for a steamer to carry your letter to China.
Anyway, my friend and I met up at the Center of the Known Universe, shared a coffee, swapped some stories, and then he offered up a choice bit of blogging that you can read here: If you don’t laugh, there’s something wrong with you.
And plagiarism being the first legitimate son of flattery, and the profligate deadbeat dad of copyright infringement, I immediately took his idea and decided to imitate it as best I could. Feel free to add your own experiences in the comments.
Unlike Vlad, I don’t remember all of my falls, but like him there are several that stand out, proving the adage “It’s not if, it’s when.”
- Childhood bicycle falling off incidents: There were many of these but I don’t remember any of them except the time I wasn’t paying attention and rode my bicycle off the edge of Galveston’s 15-foot seawall onto the rocks below. I still remember my father screaming as I plunged. I landed on a massive granite boulder, unhurt, looking up at my dad peering over the ledge in horror as my brother peered over in glee. I noted at the time and still note that fifteen feet goes by rather quickly.
- Junior high school bicycle falling off incidents: I rode my bike to school every day for three years and never fell off.
- High school bicycle falling off incidents: These were the only three years of my life that I didn’t ride a bicycle. And I never fell off.
- Head under the car falling off incident: I had just bought my first road bike, a Nishiki International, in November, 1982, from Phil Tomlin at Freewheeling Bicycles in Austin. I would later note that the purchase of a road bicycle drastically increases one’s chances of falling off. I was swooping around the turn from E. 30th onto Speedway when my bike slid out and I slid with it. There was a parked car on the far curb and I slid under the car. My body went beneath the car and my head slammed against the bottom of the door. It hurt. I made note of the dangers of excessive swooping and went on to class. My bike was unhurt.
- Chris Hipp bicycle falling off incident. This was a Cat 4 race in Dallas in 1984, a downtown crit. On the second lap Chris Hipp moved over onto my front wheel and I fell down. I was amazed at how hard the pavement was and how everything came to a stop in my world, while everything in the world of the other bicycle racers didn’t change at all, as evidenced by the fact that they kept riding and I lay there. My bike was unhurt, but I hurt my finger and quit.
- Japan wrong-way bicycle falling off incident: For many years I didn’t fall off my bicycle despite much racing and training. Then I moved to Japan and one day was bombing down a twisty little hill in Utsunomiya. I caught the green light at Heisei Dori just past the little stationery shop called Silver Business, went right full speed, and set up to make a swooping left the wrong way up a one-way street. They had a green light and I was so enjoying the swoop that I failed to notice I was swooping directly into the front of an oncoming car, followed by swooping onto the hood and even more swooping onto the windshield. I was unhurt but my front tire flatted and my pink Tommasini got scratched. The driver later tried to get me to pay for his bent hood and threatened me with yakuza.
- Japan wrong-side-of-street falling off incident. I was bombing a descent coming back from Nikko. It had straightened out and I was slowing down when a car appeared. The road was narrow and the driver moved over as far as he could to the left, which is the side he was supposed to be on. I panicked and forgot which side of the road I was supposed to be on, and hugged the right, which was his left. There was a tiny gap between his fender and the sheer rock wall. My handlebars wedged, I flipped, and landed sitting up at the rear of the car. My butt hurt and when I raised my head the little girl in the back seat screamed, as my face was just an inch or two away. My bike was unhurt but my butt was not. I hurried home in case he too was friends with the yakuza.
- Houston wet patch falling off incident. One day I was riding home along the Buffalo Bayou bike path. I exited the path onto South Braeswood, and as I turned I hit a wet patch and fell off my bicycle. I felt really stupid and I am pretty sure I looked even more so. My bike was unhurt but my pride was wounded, grievously.
- Ganado backflip bicycle falling off incident. One day I tried a wheelie on Ganado. The first part of the wheelie worked, but the second part didn’t, as it kept on going, all the way until the wheelie stopped with the back of my head slamming against the pavement. A lady and a lawn guy watched in amazement and rushed to my aid. My bike was unhurt, my helmet was mortally wounded, and I was a few more IQ points down.
- Wheatgrass bicycle falling off incident: It was my first season of cyclocross so I was pumped with my great skills. As we swooped from PV North onto the right-hander at the reservoir, my front tire flatted. In mid-swoop I hit the ground and tore an armwarmer. My bike wasn’t hurt and neither was I. My armwarmer was hurt.
- 2013 BWR bicycle falling off incident: On the second BWR we dropped off the bike path and rode along some dirt and then came to a big wall. I hit something and went flying for a long way in the air. When I landed, Johnny Walsh rode by laughing. “That was the funniest crash I’ve ever seen,” he said. This carried some weight, because he has not only seen a million of them, but been involved in several hundred thousand himself. My bike was unhurt.
- Orange County Cyclocross falling off incident. My first ‘cross race on a BMX course, I hit the deep sand and several people in front of me did too, only when they hit it they fell, so I naturally hit them and fell, too, and naturally the people behind me hit me and subsequently fell. Everyone fell. My front derailleur was so hurt it broke but I finished the race, unhurt.
- Eldorado Park Cyclocross falling off incident. I was charging along (not swooping) when suddenly I went over the handlebars and landed on my head. No one was nearby as I was comfortably positioned in last place, the road was straight, and there were no bumps or roots. My bike was unhurt but again, thankfully, my brain bore the full impact of the fall.
- 2015 BWR bicycle falling off incident: I had just charged out of the deep sand at Sandy Bandy and went swooping onto the gravel road which had a bend in it. Too late, I realized that there was too much swoop and too little bend. I hit a cactus and landed in another one. There were a billion prickles but amazingly I hit none of them. My bike was unhurt, which was doubly good because it wasn’t my bike.
- Dana Point Grand Prix bicycle falling off incident: This particular year there was a standing pool of blood where the screaming wide descent hooked right onto PCH. Many people fell in the blood, adding more blood, but I fell on the straightaway for no apparent reason except that maybe someone else did something at some time in such and such a way and etcetera. My bike got hurt and broke a spoke and Matt Hahn broke a hip. I got the spoke fixed, had a beer, and did the next race, finishing DFL. Matt, whose hip wasn’t fixed quite as easily, gave up bicycle racing, and presumably bicycle falling off as well.
- Velodrome falling off incident: I was riding around with Tara Unversagt and heard some riders coming up behind us fast and panicked and jerked my wheel up track and fell, sliding down track with many ass splinters from the spruce boards. Bike was unhurt, but ego was battered because Roger Young jerked me off the track for the day.
- Great October 2013 NPR mass bicycle falling off incident. There was a huge crash on the NPR. I wasn’t implicated but as everyone around me fell, I inexplicably slammed the eject button a/k/a the front brake, and catapulted myself onto my head. My bike was mortally wounded with a cracked integrated seatpost but Giant replaced the frame for free and the only thing I permanently damaged was my brain.
- Nutsack breaking incident of 2015. This has been well chronicled. I fell on the Via del Monte hairpin and shattered my nutsack. My bike was unhurt but the nutsack required advanced nutsack resuscitation and the use of paddles to revive it.
I’m sure there are others, but thankfully I remember them not.
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