Sunday, October 23, 2005

Not a matter of if, but when

That's what roadies say. It's not IF you're going to have that embarrassing non-clipping-out crash, it's WHEN.

For me, today was my special day.

Jeez. I've been riding in clipless pedals regularly ever since I got my new bike, Buttercup, way back in early March. I felt quite comfortable in them and had no problem clipping in and out, or so I thought.

I went out for a ride today in the nice cooler weather, and headed out down the peninsula for a dozen miles. I was doing great, staying down in the aerobars, feeling good. I even was able to take a water bottle out and get in a good drink even while staying in the aerobars. I thought that was slick. I thought I had finally gained some coordination. But no....

I came to my usual turnaround point, the little parking lot just before Knapps Narrows Bridge. I swung in there, slowed down, clipped out my right foot, came to a stop, and set down my right foot.

The only problem was that I (apparently) was leaning left at the time. And my left foot was still very, very firmly clipped in.

I had a sudden brilliant flash of clarity: there was absolutely, positively nothing that I could do.

In slow motion, I tipped over directly onto my left side, my knee and elbow hitting the asphalt in deliberate sequence with two terrific thuds.

Ouch.
Ouch.

I lay on the ground, pushed the bike off my leg, and finally twisted my left foot out of the pedal. I slowly extricated myself and gingerly stood up, and realized that I would have a couple of new painful bruises, but nothing was badly hurt except my pride (and some scuffed handlebar tape). Luckily nobody was in the parking lot but me.

I pedaled home slowly and with great humility.

I hope that I've successfully passed the initiation test, and we don't have to do that again.

16 comments:

PuddyRat said...

Oh, bummer. I feel your pain. We've all done it and those that say they haven't just haven't done it...yet. Hope your body and your ego heal quickly.

Mica said...

Well, at least you've got that out of the way. I'm not looking forward to my tumble...

Downhillnut said...

Every time I read about this happening to someone I laugh out loud. There is always that split second of CLARITY, just before the victim hits the ground. Kind of like when Coyote realizes he's run off the cliff but hasn't really fallen yet.

I know, someday I'll have clipless pedals, and it'll happen to me. But thanks for the laugh!

TriMom217 said...

so how's (suck it up) Buttercup? Damn that's a beautiful bike, I sure hope she's ok! ;)

Shelley said...

yup.......been there done that!! Now the initiation is over and done with..:-D

Laura said...

I feel your pain too!

Except mine happened after I had been using clipless for 2.5 years! I thought that maybe I was off the hook.

My fall was similar - except I had about 15 seconds of I'm falllllinnngg...oh, wait, no I'm not. OOooh, yes I am - tuck in arms and just take it....oh wait, balance back. Oh - clip out left foot. Then, just as I was about to fall, I got my left foot out, the cleat slid on the pavement and I did the splits with my bike underneath. Ouch. It just happened to be at a stop light with a line of cars behind. Lovely. But sort of funny now that I think about it!

Flatman said...

Yes. Slow motion is the excruciating part of it, because it takes 17 minutes to hit the ground. Enough time for at least 100 people to see you do it! My worst one was at a VERY busy intersection with at least 30 cars in attendance! Lots of pointing and laughing. I just got up and bowed...

nancytoby said...

Actually, Buttercup's seat was twisted, but I fixed that (or it would have been a REALLY long ride home!) and she's got a little slice in the handlebar tape, but not enough to worry about until maybe I replace it before next season.

Whew!

I'll heal, she won't!

Jon (was) in Michigan said...

OW! OW! Falling like that is the worst because you see it coming and you are helpless to stop it. Its like the firing squad without a blindfold.

Hope everything is healing ok now.

warren said...

Yup, it happens to everyone. Mine is SO coming....

mipper said...

oh no! this is why i am afraid of clipless pedals! the guys at the LBS just laugh and say, practice in a feild for the first few days and just get it over with. i refuse to do that. however, once the time for clipless comes, i am sure i will eat those words. hope you feel better.

nancytoby said...

LOL, Jon! What an analogy! Thankfully, I haven't had the firing squad experience. Yet.

Mipper, don't worry! MOST rides everything goes fine!!!

tarheeltri said...

Good to hear you weren't hurt... but for me, the worst is the slow motion part!

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

At least you're ok! Heck I don't have clips and have still done the slow-motion lean over wipeout..lol

Ellie said...

Been there, done that... fairly frequently, and fairly recently, although I've been riding clipless for 3 years. Would have done it at a stoplight in the Reston Century in August if the helpful fellow beside me hadn't grabbed me. He knew just what was happening and said, "I hate it when I lean to the side that's still clipped in..." I love it when other bikers understand!

Comm's said...

mine was the very first day I got them . Yes it was a crowded intersection and ego was involved.