Broken All Over
It's hard to understand hardcore cyclists. Even married to one for 15 years, I scratch my head at the people who like to unwind by "doing a quick fifty (miles)" every Monday and Thursday night. There's a certain mania to it. My better half writes a column for the local bike club newsletter. I'll let him tell you about it in his own words:
I readily admit that I get just a little bit insufferable this time of year. I can’t help it. Some people live for Christmas, while others prefer the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving. For me, the greatest, most festive season plays out in the lead-up to the first day of spring. The temperature rises, the days get longer and, like the grass and the trees, I find myself coming back to life. The fact that another cycling season is getting up to speed only adds fuel to the fire. You – and my wife – will have to cut me some slack until I get it out of my system.
Well, spring is here. Our garage workshop, which normally houses five bikes, has been brimming over with new tenants as Tim does spring overhauls, trues wheels, installs bike computers and performs his wizardry in a hundred other ways I don't understand. Every Monday and Thursday he joins his ride club (which I perversely insist on calling "the biker gang") for pushes throughout Wilson County, climing up Microwave Hill, breezing down Guelph Rd. and being chased by country dogs. It's just life as seen by the wife of a cyclist who is also a master craftsman.
This Monday night, however, things went a little diffferently.
A few miles out, one of the women on the ride stopped suddenly, going from 27 mph to 0 almost instantly. She flew over her handlebars and landed on her head. Her helmet did do its job: instead of being dead she is merely suffering from an intracranial bleed, a factured neck, a broken cheekbone, a lacerated spleen and assorted other breaks and tears. They moved her by ambulance from Summit Medical Center to Vanderbilt Trauma ICU, where she's being carefully observed. In her words yesterday she is "broken all over."
These things never fail to scare me, and this type of event is why I stick to my recumbant exercise bike in the basement. I'm writing this today for three reasons:
1. Please keep this young woman in your thoughts and prayers. She has a long road back to health.
2. Please always wear a helmet when you cycle. Yes, I'm a libertarian. You don't have to wear a helmet if you don't want to. Feel free to risk dying in one of the stupidest ways possible--by falling off your bicycle. It's your choice.
3. Please remember, when you see someone riding their bike along the side of the road that they are someone's son or daughter. They are likely also someone's husband or wife, father or mother. They also pay their taxes and are riding a legitimate vehicle. Please don't harrass them. Keep in mind how much oil they're NOT using, leaving some left for your car, truck or SUV.