Following an epic countryside ride in which I joined up with much younger cyclists to whip across the Illinois landscape, I was feeling frisky and proud. I got back home and wanted to take a photo for Instagram with my fluorescent cycling combo of bright yellow shoes, helmet, shirt, socks and an all-new yellow headsweat with pirate tails tied behind the head. Yeah, baby!
So I parked the bike by the garage door, set up the iPhone on Timer for three seconds, and stepped back to pose for the photo.
That first step turned into a grandiose fall––and an instant Instagram fail. My feet both flew out from under me and I wound up landing on my right backside in a saving roll. But that required pushing my body to the side with my left hand, which happened to be holding a set of Under Armor sunglasses that I’d picked up for $19 at our local Sierra Trading Post a few months back. Such a deal. But no more.
I wasn’t hurt, and did not lay there long, only a second or two. I saw the glasses were broken in two, right at the nose piece. I picked them up and considered whether it would be worth gluing them back together, but that never works. For all the claims made by the glue companies, they always break again.
What ran through my mind was gratitude that nothing else was broken. Not a wrist or a collar bone. A hip or a bike helmet. I’ve known people that have busted some of those things simply by reaching down to adjust some part of their bike when their cleats slipped on the surface and down they went. It doesn’t matter what age you are or how well you handle a bike, stuff like this happens to just about everybody that rides a bike.
Even Chris Froome crashed into a wall during a training ride in the Tour de France. Busted his leg badly. It took him months to recover.
So while I wound up on my ass on a bright summer morning, that’s the least of my worries in this world right now. As it turned out, that photo was too good not to share. The fact that it was exactly three seconds into the grandiose fail is actually remarkable. The expression on my face…is part laughter and part anguish.
You really can’t trust cycling shoes on any surface. They’re meant for one thing, and it isn’t walking. Next time I try to take a selfie, it might pay to remember that.
Hopefully, and I mean this quite sincerely, that moment was the worst I’ll face this year. In summers past, I’ve had my share of weird moments, sudden crashes and bursts of inattention that led to other calamities. The price of being a distracted creative, I suppose.
I’ll leave you with the chagrined aftereffect of the photo taken following the ass crash. Do I look humbled enough for you? I hope so. I don’t want to have to do this all over again. But doesn’t my kit look great?