The Fall

A bit of a Miltonesque allusion in the title, but alas, it’s a more prosaic matter than original sin.

i came off my bike last week, this happens usually once every winter, and used to happen at other times of the year when the wind was blowing in the right direction, i.e, when three sheets to the wind, i.e when too drunk to recognise that riding home is a bad option. i seem to have outgrown the latter, the semi-drunken cyclo-tumble home, which isn’t such a bad thing. however, i haven’t outgrown the former – the winter roundabout of crashy corners.

the falling off is sometimes quite simple, a slide or a wobble, a gentle, not painful slip. this changes when struck by the terror of black ice; the invisible lurking menace, a hex placed by sycorax upon all two-wheeled whelps, an act of mischiefs manifold and sorceries terrible. and last saturday, after avoiding the lanes, and studying the roads, i came off with an absolute wallop; acquiring a livid, bold, purple bruise on the thigh. it could have been worse, nearly everyone i know who went cycling that day either came off, knows someone who came off, or managed both. it still hurts now.

the coming off is fine – it’s the aftermath that really bugs me; there’s a period of time, and it is always longer than you think, whereby your nerve completely deserts you following an ‘off’, cornering becomes a fearful, wretched experience, and turnings onto and off roads become acts of utter trepidation. i knew this would happen, it’s inevitable, and it simply takes time to get the confidence back.

having given the matter some thought whilst commuting this week, i noticed that the principle issue – or symptom of a loss of nerve – is the shift in gaze: instead of reading the line of the road and looking at the exit point of the corner, i now look down at the road, anxiously scanning the surface for latent treachery, and feeling every wobble and creak as a sign of impending collapse. having noticed this, i have attempted to shift my gaze back, and ignore the immediate road surface, and this, i think, is the solution. and my advice to anyone experiencing similar problems.

in the meantime, here are some confidence-building videos to get your gander up and get you back on the bike; the first one is one of my favourite cycling clips ever. a famous quote relating to the incident said that ‘abdoujaparov lay on the tarmac like he’d fallen from a jetliner’. His full name – djamoladine abdoujaparov – was said to be ‘the nine most terrifying syllables in cycling’, the rider with ‘the most homicidal sprinting style in tour history’.

no helmet. 45 miles per hour. he finished the race, somehow.

the long arm of the law:

a typically crashy lads’ race at a Revolution event. balletic in its execution.

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