Saturday, April 30, 2016


I have had a good year commuting by bicycle across Indianapolis, to and from the airport, up north to Carmel for PT, and generally finding any excuse to ride a bicycle in all sorts of conditions.  Then the spring came and bike commuting has been fun again.

Until Thursday.

Thursday was a rainy and semi-blustery morning with thunderstorms' having moved through Wednesday night.  I needed to get to the school for a handful of meetings and some work finishing up my final exams.  It was a fun morning riding.

There was construction and equipment and c. was piled in the bike lane.  The picture is from DC, but Indy commits the same sins.  Build the lanes and then use them as a place to stack stuff without impeding the flow of car traffic.

Where should the cyclists ride, exactly?
I merged out into traffic to avoid the hazards.  So far, so good.  Cars are not a problem for a cyclist if you work hard to make yourself visible, to obey the rules of the road, to be highly alert in all directions, and to ride as near as possible to the speed of traffic.

Hazards cleared, I looked to merge back to the bike lane.  I was behind some cars and could not see the tarmac, or at least not well.

Note the edge that is not quite covered by the asphalt ramp.
There was a metal plate in the road, of the sort that road crews leave behind to cover a hole that is not ready to be filled.  Like most of those plates, this one was not well blended to the road surface.  Metal plates are the kind of urban hazard that can be fun with advance warning.  An excuse to try out that high-speed bunny hop.

My metal plate was nearly unmasked, presenting a 1" wall of heavy metal above the road surface.  The wheels intersected with the plate at precious close to 0 degrees, at which angle the bike had no chance of surmounting the edge, especially in wet conditions.  I hit the ground and slid through the intersection on wet pavement.

Thankfully, cars stopped, or at least the ones that would otherwise have killed me.  Most of the plush-seat commuters simply altered course to avoid the downed cyclist.  One jerky even slowed, looked closely, and scooted his car through the closing gap as I stumbled back to the curb dragging my bike. Not everybody was indifferent, though.  S__ saw the wreck, circled the block, and pulled up to the side offering to help.  He called the police, then the ambulance, and offered to babysit the bike.

This is sort of what the X-Ray looks like, except that x-rays are neither in color nor drawn in pencil.

Break in the "femoral neck" just below the hip joint.
Dr. V__ cut a 2" incision and drilled three screws straight through the broken femoral neck to hold the top of the leg-bone together.  If, as we hope and expect, the bone heals neatly from here, I will be riding again in 6 weeks.  If, as is possible but unlikely, the femoral "head" -- the part in the hip socket -- dies due to the break, I will be having my hip replaced.

High notes?  I think I broke the bike's fall, so the beautiful black Neuvation lives to ride again.  Remarkably, the Rapha city clothes -- pants, wool briefs, and wool t-shirt -- all survived the wreck with no observable trauma.

And searching for a platitude with which to close:  "it had to happen eventually"?  "We're all between falls"?