L and I went on one of our "romantic" night time bike rides tonight. The one we went on last night took us on a lot of busy streets, and then, for the finale, L led me to the end of a cul de sac that had a little paved path that went up to the bike trail. He said "pedal fast - there's a bump." So I pedaled fast, having perfect faith in my fearless leader. The bump was actually more like a low curb. My bike flew up and rattled. I wobbled and almost fell off. I said lots of bad words. I tend to do that when I get scared.
So tonight, after the craziness of trying to ride on bike trails that were too dark to see on, or trying to stay away from cars on busy streets, we found a quiet neighborhood that had a long stretch of street with several shorter streets intersecting. Perfect for a nighttime ride - not a lot of cars, quiet neighborhood. Safety first. What could possibly happen here?
We started off and we rode up and down the one main street. L soon tired of the straight line and wanted to go off on some side streets. I started to, but they were fairly hilly, and I knew in my present state of unfitness I would just end up walking my bike up hills. I'm trying to be coordinated - I really am - but both inner thighs are black and blue from hopping on and off the bike and inadvertently hitting that damn water bottle holder. Ow. Ow. Ow. I take a lot of Excedrin every day, and that doesn't help - I bruise really easily.
Back to my story: I told L to go off on some of the other streets. I would be fine just doing my minor little street with the gradual slope. I was practicing going up and down the incline without changing to an easier gear to get my muscles stronger and not so wobbly. So off he went. I was continuing up the street, and I turned around to see what street he'd turned off on, and when I turned back around... WHAM - I ran my bike straight into not one, but two big black trash cans. I flew off the bike, scraped my knee, cut my hand, hurt my shoulder, lost an earring, and wrecked the back brake cable. And knocked my seat crooked. It made a big boom, and lots of dogs were barking. It was really really embarrassing, and I was so happy that no one saw me do it. My legs were all shaky - you know how they get? - but I staggered to my feet and picked up the two trashcans. I picked up my bike but I was too shaky to get back on, so I walked it down the street, snuffling quietly to myself. I finally got back on just about the time that L came back around the corner.
My brakes were all messed up and my shoulder hurt so I told him I needed to go home. When I told him what happened I could tell he was thinking that he KNEW I would do something like that when he left me on my own, but he tried to be nice. I think he was a little mad, but he was trying not to be. I felt really bad. I didn't dare ask him to take me back so I could find my earring.
So off we went back home, me a sad little mess, and my frustrated husband wondering why his wife can't stop getting hurt. I didn't used to be this accident prone - I really really didn't and it's a little mysterious to me why this keeps happening. I try to be careful but it doesn't work. And this is just riding a freaking bike. I mean, I used to jump on horses and barrel them around a whole course of jumps. Fearlessly. And I only killed myself a couple of times. But now I can't even ride a bike without running into parked trash cans, or walk without spraining an ankle. So first L said no more night rides for me, but now he is googling the price of more powerful bicycle lights that you can actually see with. His heart is softening. Because in truth, I think I'm just too dang entertaining to leave home. I bring mayhem and excitement to the party. Keeps you alive and jumping, if only a little bruised and battered. Keeps you wondering, "What's next?"
What's next is that from now on I'll keep my eyes on the road ahead, because I'm running out of favorite things to do that don't kill me. The End.