Monday, December 12, 2011

Three Bike Accidents

This past week, my nephew (Wendy's son Jude) had a pretty crappy bike accident.  I wanted to pass along my own bike disaster memories so that he could see he wasn't alone in his struggle to stay on two wheels.  Here is the email I sent to Wendy.  After re-reading it, I decided that I wanted it to share it for posterity.  It's cleaned up a bit.  In the first story, I actually racked myself severely, but figured there was not delicate way of saying that.  And in the last one I was at least a little drunk.  No need to share that. 

First, when I was his age, Chuck and I were jumping our bikes at the churchyards in Logansport.   We had a ramp set up, but I guess it was too close to a shed that was on the parking lot.  I had made the jump several times, but on my last jump, I struggled to land, and ran straight into the shed.  It threw me off my seat and into my handlebars.  I hopped up from the wreck, and ran straight home, I was so mad and embarrassed and hurt..  Bad day. 
But not the worst bike accident I ever had.  The one that hurt the most happened in New Orleans.  I was biking home from the grocery store in the street, when some lady opened her car door in front of me without looking.  The door took out my bike and I flew straight into the side of her door.  The main impact was on my shin.  It split the skin wide open, and my leg swelled up so it looked like a tennis ball was underneath.  So much swelling I could barely walk for the next week.  I had to have the welt lanced to relieve the pain and pressure.  When the sore finally healed (it took the whole summer) the scab that fell off was big and thick as a thin mint cookie.  It was incredible.  I still have a lump there on that shin.
Still not the worst.  The worst was actually pretty similar to Jude's.  I was biking home from my job on St. Charles Avenue late one night, and I must have hit something or something hit me.  It was very dark.  I don't really know what happened, because I lost consciousness.  When I came to, I woke to the feeling of my chin dragging along the road.  I had been knocked off my bike and basically landed on my face.  I got to my feet, and tried to ride home.  It felt like my face was on fire, and little drops of blood were accumulating on my shirt and bike on the way home.  By the time I got home, my whole front side was bloody.  I took a look at myself in the mirror that night, and I couldn't see any skin on my chin at all.  Just blood and scab.  I had a concussion from the accident, so I threw up after that.  Then I went to bed.  NEVER DO THIS.  I WAS LUCKY.  You aren't supposed to fall asleep after a concussion, but I was super-loopy from the crash.  The next day, I tried to go to school, but I was in a fog.  I got to class late, and everyone gasped when I opened the door.  But my fellow students were very kind.  They helped me get to the Medical Clinic on campus, where the staff diagnosed my concussion, and told me it was too late for stitches.  When I got home from school I discovered that I had gravel embedded in my chin.  I spent several excruciating minutes digging it out, but I did a lousy job.  I would find little pieces of concrete in my chin over the course of the next few months.  I had a very deep cut on my chin which took a log time to heal.  But I also had a great story.  Sometimes I would make things up when people would ask me about it.  And then, when I met Chelsey, we discovered that both of us had a scar in that same spot on our chins.  So maybe it was meant to be. 


  1. I don't have a cycling accident story nearly as good as those, I do my bone-breaking without props.

    However, I do have a bike crash story. I was biking to the train station in Salem, Mass, headed down a fairly step hill. A big brown van turned right in front of me, and there was nothing I could do but run into the side of it. I kind of hopped backwards, so I didn't take the full force of the hit. In an adrenaline rage, I picked my bike up off the road and threw it at the van. The lady who got out didn't speak much English. I think I terrified her. I yelled some obscenities and then got on my bike and rode home. The front wheel was all wobbly. My memory is kind of hazy after that.

  2. Brent, I want you to know that Jude has been blown away by how people have reacted to his accident. When I told him the photo of him on FB got more responses than anything I ever posted, he could not believe it. He especially likes that people cursed about the photo. He's actually kind of humbled and grateful about the whole thing. What can I say? He's Little Chuck.