walking around in tap shoes and pyjamas since 2010 - my cycling log (opens in new window)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rubber ... Side ... Down.

It has come to my attention that, recently, I've developed a new cycling skill ... one I didn't really want.

Lately, I have become rather good at falling off my bike.

For most of my cycling life, I managed only one fall every few years, generally when doing something dumb, as I am wont to do.

This year, I have managed to find myself rubber side up, like, four times that I can think of, if I count the three falls on the ice on the way in to work one morning as only one incident (I think falls on ice don't quite count, though they are also the direct product, generally, of me doing something dumb).

Recently, I fell over twice in the span of a week.  There was the levee trail incident, and then on the following Thursday -- six days later -- I got my wheel into a storm grate I hadn't seen (I was looking for cars) and took a header.  Ouch.  Every time something like this happens, I thank my lucky stars for the deeply-ingrained 'tuck 'n' roll' reflex imparted by untold numbers of gymnastics teachers as well as my riding instructor (as a sidebar, I know at least one person who thanks judo for the same thing -- so it sounds like judo and cycling probably go well together).

Nonetheless, I continue to feel rather sheepish every time this  happens, and I am left wondering if I'm just A) clumsier than I used to be, B) more distracted than I used to be, C) more reckless than I used to be (this one I'll have to say is probably true -- I get a little giddy on a fast road bike sometimes), or D) a combination of the above.

That or else it all boils down to the fact that the put-a-foot-down reflex is faster than the clip-out reflex, which sometimes fails to come off in time.  Perhaps I would've fallen over just as frequently in the past if I'd always ridden clipless.

I have not mastered the particularly embarassing but visually amusing sort of fall in which the rider goes straight off the back (of the saddle) whilst the bike continues forward for a bit, suddenly says to itself, "Oh, I'm riderless, I'd better fall down now," and proceeds to do so.  I think it is actually quite hard to fall in this particular way while riding clipless; indeed, it may be difficult to fall in that particular way when riding sober, as well.

Which reminds me.  Apparently getting buzzed and riding bikes is a bit of a thing.  Seems odd to me, but I'm a profound lightweight.  I am done for the night after two beers, and in the rare event that I actually do have two beers (or their salutary equivalent), I am probably too busy talking nonstop to consider hopping on my bike anyway.  Alcohol activates my Scottish genes.

In other news, I am finding myself much more tolerant of the heat this year (which is good, since it rather snuck up on us).  My ride home tonight was delightful, even in the steaming swampiness of mid-May Louisville.  I clocked 28 minutes, which seems like a respectable enough time (oddly, I think I might have made better time if I'd made less effort -- I hit a looooot of stoplights!), and still felt relaxed enough to enjoy the scenery.

Well, relaxed except for the part where I'm constantly a bit worried about my left crankarm, which is having some issues probably related to a dodgy washer (I really just wanted to type 'dodgy washer,' I think).  Hg is still riding fine, and when I disassemble it, his left crankarm looks good and all the related threads and whatnot seem fine, but the washer in question is wavy.  I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to be wavy.  It makes funny noises when I ride, sometimes.

Anyway, that's it for now.

Happy riding, everyone.


  1. Are you riding more this year? Maybe your "miles per fall" is still the same. :)

  2. You know, you may have a valid point there. I do think I'm riding more, mileage-wise, than I have in the past.

    Likewise, the last time I was putting in equivalent mileage, I was riding an extremely-stable, toury hybrid that I only washed out once (geometry identical to Swift's -- if I remember correctly, except one slipping-on-ice incident, I only crashed once on Swift as well).

    I also think I tend to ride like an idiot (an alert idiot, but an idiot all the same) when I'm alone, but conservatively in groups. I don't want to be the guy who winds up crashing out an entire Sunday ride or whatever.

    LOL, maybe I'll see if I can calculate my personal 'miles per fall' numbers. Instead of 'city vs. highway,' maybe I'll run them as 'solo vs. group ride' :D