Ask any city or ‘burb biker for their opinion as to the leading cause of “falls” and I’m guessing you’ll get two consistent answers: loose dogs and cracks in concrete. I have multiple friends that lived to tell of broken bones, cuts and bruises after each experienced a bike wreck when colliding with a loose dog. The stories carry the common theme of a dog “coming out of nowhere” and attacking their wheels with a suddenness that throws the rider over their handle bars. The solution seems obvious: dog owners have no excuse for loose dogs on neighborhood or city streets.
My personal opinion regarding country dwellers with loose dogs (for property protection) is a subject of personal frustration to me. I’ve experienced multiple hikes that suddenly turned fearful when face-to-face with a large, loose, hostile dog (or in one case, three dogs). I don’t claim to have a ready solution or firm position. I’ve simply given up on solo country-road birding.
But the more common bike-wreck experience seems to be the infamous fall that occurs when a skinny-tired front wheel of a racing bike lodges in a crack or expansion joint in concrete streets. The resulting “stopping on a dime” lock-up of the tire (and the mandatory conservation of energy of the natural sciences) propels the rider in the required direction—away from their saddle. I am a self-proclaimed anti-skinny-tire lobbyist. At least for city and ‘burb biking.But the rick-man’s fall, caused by his skinny-tired bike lodging in a significant crack in his concrete path, has impacted MY behavior in three ways:
1) I’ve started wearing my helmet again;
2) After over 5 years of “gentle” nagging, I no longer feel the need to point to the rick-man’s skinny tires and warn of their inherit concrete-crack danger; and
3) Rick fell off his bike two weeks ago and yesterday climbed back on and started riding again. I fell off my writing and blogging habit four months ago and it is time for me to climb back on and start writing again.
I have lots of excuses for not writing: We haven’t wandered around much in our beloved Airstream. We missed most of the spring season's camping and birding due to a major re-roofing project; due to my own medical health challenges and a series of tests, some more invasive than others; and due to a family member’s recent surgery and recovery that warranted my attention. All resulted in good outcomes: a roof that doesn’t leak; medical test after medical test that resulted in “negative” reports that are the most positive of results that we humans hope for; and a surgical recovery that is on track with no current complications. I’ve wondered a lot about each of these events—but didn’t believe them blog worthy or blog appropriate.
And all the above lead me to confess that this spring I’ve watched and listened to much more local, national and world news than is my normal allotment or interest. I’ve wondered A LOT about the news; about the stories of senseless murders by Americans on home soil and abroad; about the murders and abuse by world-citizens in the name of whatever seems to be the passionate cause of that citizen; about our national politics of division and differences; about the legislation of agendas with catchy phrases that drive me crazy as a middle-aged woman. But I’ve only known ONE THING FOR CERTAIN: I needed to keep my mouth shut and my keyboard and blog-link silent regarding these topics. None of these are the topics I choose to opinionate, out loud. (unless, of course, you ask.)
But it is time for me to climb back on, after my February 18th fall from writing. It is time for me to write, because I find it therapeutic and fulfilling--even though I’m not always wandering. And I’ll push myself to wonder about this world’s creatures and their habitats and their natural instincts, to the exclusion of human nature. I Know I’ll continue to spend A LOT of time wondering about the human element, but silently, by choice. Except if I note you are riding a skinny-tired bicycle…