Friday, January 27, 2012

love hurts

One minute, we were happily reunited at the end of a long day, looking forward to some quality time together, the next, it was all wrong.  So so wrong.

I was just a poor college student at the time, but life was good.  In about another year, I'd have my degree and be poor student no more. 

That day had progressed like most other days.  A day of classes and homework.  It was late afternoon when I tiredly retrieved my bicycle from the rack and began heading for comfy home.

Pedalling easily across campus, I took in the fresh air and the welcome movement after a day in the books.  It was overcast, like it was going to rain.  I noticed a car headed in my direction.  It was an Audi.  I noticed it begin to turn left.  And keep on turning.

There was no time for me to react, to turn my bicycle or shield myself in any way.  At that point, everything turned all slow motion.  There was the smack of the car hitting my bike.  Slow motion, I was in the air.  Slow motion, I was on the hood.  Slow motion, I was on the windshield.  Slow motion, I was on the edge of the hood.  Slow motion, I dropped to the ground. 

The next thing I remember was people standing over me.  Other students.

"Are you okay??"

*standing and staring*

"I'll be a witness for you!"

And the driver of the car, emerging.  "OH  MY  GOD, Are you okay?!  I didn't see you!  Are you okay?!"

I was a bit dazed and surprised, but otherwise okay.  These days, such a thing just might send me blubbering to my Chiropractor and begging, "Do me!  Do me NOW!"  But back then, yeah I was a bit bruised, but none the worse for wear.

Some of the rubber-necking students helped me up and picked my backpack off the ground.  Ironically, I had landed on my physics book while demonstrating Newton's laws of motion.  Ironically, the woman who hit me did so while making an illegal turn towards the Law building.

I was still feeling a bit dazed, but glad that I really wasn't hurting much.  Then, I picked up my bicycle. 

It was a robust mountain bike - specifically a Specialized StumpJumper.  I'd gotten it second hand at a great price.  I loved that bike. 

And it was broken. 

It couldn't walk roll at all.  The front rim was like a taco, the front fork a nearly useless appendage.  It broke my heart.  My bike had saved me by taking the brunt of the impact.

The Audi driver was still a bit freaked out.  My broken bicycle, I think, actually perked her up because now she could do something to make amends.  She drove me home, all the while, she was talking nervously and continuing to apologize.  All the while, I was wondering if it was safe to be riding with her.

She gave me her address and telephone number, told me to have the bike repaired and she would pay for it.  I took my bicycle straight from her car and transported it to my little hatchback and headed for the bike shop. 

"Do me!  Do me NOW!", I begged the shop guy.  Uhm... for the bike repairs I mean.

It was a few days, but eventually she was back as good as new.  My bodyguard.  Years later, I sold her to a friend of mine in upstate New York who coordinates host families for foreign exchange students.  I recently heard from my friend, and she tells me how the bike is still enjoyed by the many students that shuttle through.  
Fresh from the "spa"!

So I'm feeling a little bicycle love today. And I just picked Tessa up from her annual tune up at the shop.

She's beautiful!


  1. Ooooh. That Tessa. She is a beauty. We haven't seen much of her in a while. She looks ready to ride for many hours/miles.

    I took a header over my old Schwinn back in college when I stripped the gears one afternoon so I can feel your pain.

  2. Tessa's beautiful! My husband recently had my bicycle fixed so we could ride together. (He doesn't run so biking is a great way to exercise together.) I feel more love towards my other bike, but I'm still pretty good friends with my bicycle.
    Glad you weren't hurt in the collision. You're right. Way back in those days *grin* people didn't seem to be as 'sue happy', and were okay with accidents being accidents. Either way, I'm glad she offered to pay for the bike repair.

  3. A woman on a bike hit me -- because I pulled into her path. She, too, rolled off my hood but did not fare as well.
    That was a looong time ago, but I still think about her and wonder if there were any longterm effects from that day.
    Only traffic citation I've received. Evar. But I deserved it....
    (Then there was the time the old guy U-turned into me....)

    I'm sure your culprit remembers, too.

  4. Scary, scary stuff! It's amazing to me that you came out of that experience relatively unscathed. Your bikes sure have taken good care of you over the years.

  5. I remember those days...when I was also made of rubber. I'm glad you lived to tell the tale!