The bike, the ground, and standing still

I fell off my bike the other day.

Saying I crashed my bike would sound manlier, but the truth is I fell off the bike.

While standing still.

Now this is no easy feat. You’re standing, waiting to cross the road and … and … and then you go boom. On the ground.

I wrote the other day about going for a ride and 6,386 degree weather and forgetting my water bottle and turkey vultures that just wanted me to die and donate my organs to the TVFK – the Turkey Vulture Food Kitchen.

What I didn’t mention is falling off my bike.

Because, you know … embarrassment.

My bike pedals have cleats, which means I can lock my bike shoes onto them, which theoretically gives my foot and ankle a greater range of motion than traditional push pedals, or even stirrups.

That is if you’re not older than dirt and have ankles that are frozen as solid as the tundra in Green Bay.

So anyway, I’m clipped into the pedals. Every time I come to a road, or driveway, I usually give a little twist to my right shoe and unclip it so that I have one good leg to stand on.

I did this very thing as I approached a crossroad. I came to a stop. Stood there for a moment. Or should I say, leaned there. Against a street sign.

My left foot is still clipped into its cleat.

Now a smart man might have freed both feet, but, you know … stupidity.

I wait for cars to pass. And wait. And wait. Suddenly, my weight shifts. To the left.

I go to put my left foot down to steady myself , but you know … dead brain cells.

Suddenly, the ground is rushing up at me. Suddenly, it greets my derrière with a thump. Suddenly, I’m rolling around in the dirt. Suddenly, I can hear the guffaws of drivers in their cars as they whiz by.

Slow as a grizzly rousing itself from deep hibernation, I rise, dust myself off and am thankful I see no bones jutting out from my skin. I take a step and nearly fall from a pain in my groin that is unprecedented in the history of the world. The pain, not my groin. No jokes, please, about my groin.

Couple of years back, I had a hip replacement, and since then, I’ve had a knifing pain on the inside of my left thigh. I thought maybe it was a hernia. How I might have developed a hernia while in surgery, I didn’t know, but I had no other explanation.

I went to another doctor who did a bunch of tests – X-rays and MRIs and poking – and told me that it was likely that something was pinching a nerve ending. And not in a good way.

“To replace the hip, your surgeon had to lift and move a bunch of nerves. They’re like spaghetti. Did you ever pick up spaghetti and put it back on the plate? It never goes back the same way.”

“I don’t put spaghetti back on the plate,” I said. “Whatever comes off the plate goes in my mouth.”

So the pain is always there and my falling off the bike made it worse. Much worse. Much, much worse.

Still, because I’m a man, I continued the ride and it was later I discovered I had no water and that I was going to die.

Somehow, I survived and that night I told my life partner what had happened. I was, of course, expecting sympathy. Some cooing. Some sweet murmurs of compassion.

What I got was, “What the heck is wrong with you? You don’t have a leg to stand on.”

Well, at least, that much was true.

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