Let’s talk about the teenagers who sit in the park and “heckle” cyclists for wearing a helmet.
I’ll get to them in a minute.
First a quickie “ironic” story about a physio I know who fell off his bike and broke his arm while out riding.
And by the way, as the summer approaches, this article comes with a timely warning for many who I’m sure have made, or are currently making this same mistake.
(Chances are it’s happening to your kids too. So well worth reading on.)
Here’s what happened: Four days before the incident I noticed one of two “niggly” little issues with my bike. One of them being that chain seemed to keep doing what I can only describe as “jumping” gears.
But it would always happen when I least expected it and often times would mean I’d lose my balance, just for a split second.
But it was never anything more serious than that.
And because I’d just gotten back on the bike after a bit of an extended break from it due to holidays and a few other “put off” excuses such as bad weather, I could just generally feel that the bike wasn’t up to scratch.
Never felt hugely unsafe, but just not quite right. So I popped into Faschini’s on Murray Street, explained the “symptoms” of the bike’s problem and I asked how long it would likely take to give it a full MOT so that everything would be replaced and it’d be as good as new for the summer when I’d likely be out on it 5-6 nights a week (at least).
I was told 3-4 days to sort. And stupidly I stalled over getting the service done “there and then” because a week or so later, I was heading to the USA on business.
I convinced myself that would be the perfect time to put the bike into the workshop and therefore I could pick it up and continue to ride upon my return.
And that would mean no down time from the bike now that I was back into a routine.
Bad move. The very same night I was heading over to the Headland and the chain on the bike this time completely jumped off when I was just about to stand up to accelerate.
As the chain came off, so did I. Right over the left hand side of the handle bars travelling at a fair speed.
The upshot? I’m writing this column to you with my left arm in a sling (I refused a pot) and I’m staring at a cocktail of medication to numb the pain from a broken elbow and a sprained wrist.
Few scratches on my legs to boot and a crack in my helmet to go along with it (Note: I ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET).
Could it have been avoided? Absolutely. Could it have been worse? If I hadn’t had a helmet on, yes.
Anyhow, moral of this week’s story: First, listen to the warning signs of your bike and even speak to your kids about theirs. Second, no matter what you “feel” you look like, what your children think they look like, or what other children in the park say about you wearing one as you ride past, never ever get on that bike without wearing a helmet.
You might not live to regret it if you do.