Saturday, June 30, 2012


On a lighter note…

I have been cycling through several roller coaster ups and downs here lately and by the time I get off the ride I am not sure if I am going to hurl or get back on. One of my passions throughout my life has been riding my bike. I have never been into sports, but biking is one I love. Around here in southern Alberta are a lot of Coulee’s or quite often referred to as the river bottom. They give some of the most roughest and divers terrain for riding in. I will tell you, I rode the toughest I could find trying to out run Anima. There are a lot of steep ups and downs and sharp turns and obstacles that will challenge some of the best of riders. They are AWESOME 0_0.
Now to start; every five to ten years I would take quite a spill on my bike. And the first time was no exception.
I was around 6 years old and just had my training wheels removed. My brother had spent all afternoon with me coaching and helping me to ride a two wheeler. So that evening after supper I decided to give it a go on my own. I got on my bike. Put my right foot on the up turned peddle, pushed off with my left foot as I pushed down on my right and I was off. I felt great. I had the wind in my face and there was nothing to stop me, except for one thing. I did not now how to stop. :-(( So I did what any sensible six year old would do, I found something to break my fall. In my case it was into the back of my neighbour’s new van. All I remember of that experience was my neighbour yelling at me, as I sat on the ground with my legs twisted through my bike and crying, for not being careful. I could have damaged their new van.

The next experience I can recollect was when I was about sixteen years old. I was riding through a park by where I live named Pavan Park. It sat snugly in the river bottom with many game trails (spoor)  for me to explore. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon. My mother was napping and I decided to go for a ride. I soon found myself riding along this rather narrow trail high up on the side of a coulee. As I continued along, I came across a rather large rock, or maybe it was a deep buried boulder, sitting in the middle of the narrow spoor. Instinctively I was going to go up on the high ground to avoid the obstacle. Well to my dismay a smaller unseen rock bounced my front tire onto the top of the larger rock. It slipped off and down I went. It was a good thing the cactus broke my fall. I got up. Shook off the dirt, and assessed the damage. I had a small gash in my shin and an arm full of cactus quills. For a brief moment I contemplated continuing my ride before going home, then panic set in. I am going to need stitches!! Well I never got out of the park so quickly and back home. I woke my mom and said to her, “I think I need to go to the hospital.” There I sat for the better part of an hour as the doctor with a magnifying glass and a pare of tweezers pulled out cactus quills. My leg took four stitches and it was done.

Just after I had moved out on my own into my first place, I found a new place in the coulees to ride. This was by a golf course positioned in the river bottom. I was on another game trail ( I am starting to see a pattern forming here) that wound its way around the top of this particular coulee I was on. As I came around the corner there suddenly appeared two large dips in the trail. To soon to stop and the ground to the inside was too steep to peddle, without clipping the side of the hill, and pick up speed to coast over the dips. So when my front tire hit the first dip that I slowed down enough that I came to a complete stop in the seconded one. To my right I had the grass covered hill and to my left a 40 to 50 foot almost vertical drop. Well in my infinite wisdom I look over at the drop. And as I looked I knew I was going over and there was nothing I could do about it. I went over head first. To my luck, as the coulee eroded away to create the two dips, it left soft dirt behind to catch me. When I hit I remember thinking to myself, ‘this is going to hurt.’ My hands dug deep into the forgiving soil up to my elbows, and my bike cam next. As it twisted free of my legs it landed directly on the back of my head. Well Helmets save lives. I know this because I let a nice face impression in the dirt. When I cam to a rest at the bottle of the hill in a sprawled mess of legs, wheels, arms, and handle bars; I jumped up as quick as I could to see if anyone saw my failed attempt at flying.

M last experience, it was not to long ago, I came closer to flying then any other. It was a Sunday and I had just finished work. It was noon and church started at one. I was rushing to get home a get ready, because I knew my wife was going to be standing at the door saying, “come on we don’t have much time.” It was raining out, well more like a heavy mist that clung to everything. I had my bike in high gear and I was really booking it. I did not care how wet I got; I was going to shower anyways. Well the bike path that ran along the golf course here in Taber has a pole in the middle of it and a chain link fence that separates the civic center and the golf course. There was rain in my eyes and I thought I was over far enough to avoid the pole…. No… I wrapped my bike around it good, and I was air borne like my favourite childhood supper hero Supper Man. I flew a good twenty feet before I attempted (I use this word in the loosest way possible) a dive roll landing. My feet went up into the air, and I did a yoga head stand for a brief moment, and fell to my back and continued sliding off the path and into the tall grass where I finally came to a stop some thirty to forty feet away from the pole (and again, helmets save lives). My bike found itself some distance away from the pole in the grass in a twisted heap. I picked it up straightened the handle bars and attempted to ride home. I quickly realised I could not ride on a front tire bent into a “U”. So I pushed my bike home in the rain the twenty minuet walk it took me to get home. By the time I got to the end of the golf course the rain had stopped and the golfers appeared out of no where on the course. “Are you ok?” they asked. “Ho yea, I just wanted to push my bike home.” When I did finally get home, there was my wife standing in the driveway, “what happened to you?” Needless to say I still made it to church on time.

What did I learn from these experiences? Don’t crash into the back of my neighbour’s van. Avoid hidden rocks, a good life lesion in avoiding hidden dangers. Finally, never go riding without a helmet. You never know when you are going to get hit in the back of the head by a bike.


  1. HA! Love the tone of this post, it's hilarious! I too have had my share of bike mishaps, the most recent one a month or so ago when attempting to ride a REALLY technical mountain bike trail on my lunch break (I ride almost every day at lunch, it wakes my brain up so I'm more effective in the afternoon). One of the things I love about cycling is that it's such a great cardiovascular exercise, and isn't hard on your body like running or backetball or whatever (well, except when you crash of course!). But the other thing I have always loved, beyond cycling's obvious health benefits, is the profound sense of speed and freedom it gives you! I was riding my bike clear across town to the mall and to friends' houses long before I got my driver's license, and didn't even own a car in college until I got married and we needed one.

  2. Growing up my bike was my best friend.

  3. When I went to publish this comment by Laurie I accidentally deleted it. :-|

    This is wonderfully hilarious in hindsight and I don't mean eyes in the back of your helmet to see that airborne bike coming at you!
    Humor has such a healing effect!
    Growing up my bike was the only escape I had from the seriously disfunctional and oppressive home I grew up in.
    I would ride and ride and go nowhere the whole time telling myself fantasy stories about my happy future. My bike kept me sane I suppose.
    Thanks so much for this post I could just cuddle up into and feel good with. Laurie.

    1. Cool, thanks for retrieving it, I am sure I would not know how.

    2. I love riding a bike too--actually the last thing I rode was an adult tricycle. I never rode any intense trails or anything, just on the road. I don't ride much anymore though because it causes me too much pain. I miss it a lot.

    3. That's too bad. It's a wonderful way to get some low impact exercise (if you avoid the extreme trails).

  4. So the timing of your post is great... I was on my normal lunchtime bike ride yesterday when I turned a corner into the grocery store parking lot (I needed to pick something up for lunch), jumped a curb, and my front wheel fork snapped clean off! I hit the pavement with my head (thank goodness I was wearing a helmet), then ground the left side of my face along the asphalt for good measure. Worst accident I've ever had, I think; the ER gave me a clean bill of health, but I'm VERY sore, and probably won't be riding for a little while, sadly.

    But your story gave me something to share with my wife as we waited at the ER forever, and it helped us both to laugh at the situation and not be quite so freaked out. So thank you for that. :)

    1. Your comment reminded me of another crash.
      I was riding my bike on the extensive bike pathways in Calgary (Calgary Stampede) and was just coming down a steep hill from a bridge over the Bow River. It was a new path with fresh pavement. At the bottom of the hill was a sharp corner. I leaned into the turn and hit the unseen find sand that coated the turn. I slid across the smooth pavement on bare skin. I had road rash from my left knee up to my hip and up the inside of my left elbow. I hurt for several days.
      Do not get me wrong. I may have made it sound as if I am always falling off my bike. That is not the case. I am pretty good. I have ridden by bike in some of the most treacherous Southern Alberta winter weather that Mother Nature has thrown my way.
      It takes skill to fall with style.

    2. "It takes skill to fall with style"
      Haha, exactly! After this crash, I think my sweetheart was a little freaked out about me cycling solo at all, but I had to remind her that only one bad crash in 8 years of cycling is a pretty good track record.

    3. I am glad you are doing well.