Saturday, January 19, 2008


Monday, while riding to work along Barger, I hit some black ice and fell. Both wheels went out from underneath me and I landed on my left side first smacking my hand still grasping the handlebar, then my left knee, elbow, shoulder and finally the front left of my helmet. A motorist, traveling in the opposite direction stopped and helped me to my feet. My bike was pretty much unscathed with the exception of the handlebars being slightly askew. The fall took a hunk of skin off my knee and elbow, but didn't break the skin on either my hand or shoulder. I was wearing thick gloves that saved my hand from lacerations; but I jammed my middle finger causing my hand to swell. Maybe the most disconcerting part of this tale is that I ripped holes my brand new rain pants and rain jacket. Fortunately REI sells a repair kit.

This all brings back the reminder of why I always wear a helmet. There continues to be controversy over whether helmets actually help or not; for me, there is no question that I was spared a serious head injury because I was wearing a helmet.For the 32 years that I've been a bike commuter, I've always worn a helmet. Even back it the olden days when people laughed and asked me why I was wearing a salad bowl on my head ("It's not a salad bowl; it's a Bell bike helmet.") I never rode without a helmet. In those 32 years I've only fallen and hit my head twice; but both times the helmet was the difference between a mild headache and serious injury.I began wearing a helmet because I promised our two daughters that they would have a father who could work to help support the family and be able to talk in complete sentences. I've kept the first part of that promise and, to some extent, the second part as well. Today I promised Carolyn, for the same reasons as stated above, that I will never ride my bike again when the temperature is less than 40 degrees. I know many of you ride no matter what the weather and I hope you continue to ride safely. But for me, and Carolyn's peace of mind, I'll be a 40+ rider from now on.

I was going to post a piece today on why I ride my bike. It sort of turned into "When I ride my bike."Don't forget to strap that helmet on tightly!