It was a lovely morning this morning. Warm enough to be in a spring jersey rather than winter jacket for once. Bright sunshine, dry roads, and a gentle breeze. Which is why I was all the more surprised when I found myself suddenly chewing tarmac on a corner I’d been round literally hundreds of times.
When it’s wet (as most of the last 3 months have been), it’s easy to spot the oil and diesel spilt on the roads by it’s rainbow slick, but it’s harder to spot when it’s dry. Only when I looked back at the corner did I notice that it was a slightly darker shade on my side of the road. It wasn’t a fast off, more of an “uncontrolled dismount” (Strava tells me I was only doing about 10mph at the moment of impact), and I clearly remember having time to register what was going on before I hit the deck. I even managed to put my hand out to break my fall, but it was enough of a tumble to leave me with the tell tale road rash on my knee, hip and elbow. Luckily I had my cheapest winter shorts on, as they were holed at the knee, but everything else survived intact (if a little grubby) and my sunglasses even stayed on my head. Whilst i think about it, I’ve never understood those that don’t wear cycling gloves – my mitts saved me from some nasty cuts on the palm of my hand today, and potential time off the bike unable to grip the handlebars, which is why I never leave home without them.
Although I was fine to carry on my ride into the office (with it’s now slightly better stocked first aid kit – kerching Boots Advantage Card points!), and I happily got a few miles in this evening on the way home too, I know from experience that it’s not going to be the physical injuries that slow me down, but the psychological effect. Even on the way home, I found myself slowing for corners I’d normally whiz round. Weeks from now I know that every time I get to a sharp bend I will still be questioning not only myself, but also my bike. It’s like being bitten by the family dog – you used to completely understand each other, but an old friend has suddenly turned on you with painful consequences.
It’ll take time to rebuild that trust, but it will get there. Until the next sudden drop.