Posted by @teeheehee on April 6th, 2010
Day five of April.
Today I went to the court house to answer the call of duty. Jury duty. The weather was nice and clear, with a slight breeze, the kind that feels good even as it makes you pedal a little harder to get where you’re going. It was the kind of weather that told nothing of the ominous events that would follow.
Dearest blog, my skills on the bike have improved greatly over the last four years. The effort I have put in to learn how to panic stop in very short distances has prepared me for difficult circumstances if confronted with the metal beasts that wander the paved lands. I have trained to ride longer distances and endure the many small-pains that come from many hours of riding. On the rollers I acquired just a few months ago I have put such use in that I may “hold a line” far better now than ever I could before. Countless attempts to stand still on my wheels at every red light the city has illuminated me with have it so that I now can pose with righteous balance for extended light cycle durations. I have read books on the matter of surviving the urban landscape while enjoying the cool liberty a bike brings, and I have spread the word of safety that it may be known by all my brothers and sisters out there.
But it was all for naught. Nay, on this day I shed blood because of my own negligence. Sure, the oil slick had a large part to do with it, but I blame my self for growing too trusting of the grey/black bed that kisses my scandalous, freely roaming tires; the taste of oil was too repulsive for them, and they retreated in horror. I understand you, my tires, and do not blame you for this honest act of rejection.
And so it came to pass that at the corner of Congress and Sudbury Streets that all of my honed skills failed to prevent me from injury. I fell, and in so doing I remembered why it was I worked so hard to gain those skills. And, how much harder I need to continue improving on them. Actually without those skills at their present level I’m sure I would have fared much worse.
View Oil slick on Congress and Sudbury Streets in a larger map
The oil, which took eons to accumulate into such a perversion, was known to me. I had a history with it, as there was a time when I stopped at this intersection and found I had fits of traction under my rear wheel after waiting out the light. I marked that spot in my mind as dangerous, but I let myself forget.
Before half this day passed my scraped knee learned different levels of pain: first there was the sudden and sharp pain as I impacted and scraped, followed by the ache and agony of the post-adrenaline crash, and then the halting effect from a newly acquired restriction of movement (despite the cursed need to continue use of my leg’s movement in activities like walking and riding).
Upon arriving to the court house I asked the entryway guards if they had a first aid kit or some bandages, and they had none. So, I entered and went upstairs intent on cleaning my wounds in a bathroom and hoping the knee would clot sufficiently. It turned out there was a concession area on the second floor by the room for the jury pool, and attached was a kitchen – and they had band aids! Finally I was able to pause, break out my hand sanitizer (always carry some with you – you never know!) and clean and patch my knee up.
And after cleaning up and sitting in the jury pool all morning I was selected to serve on jury duty. I suppose I shouldn’t place so much emphasis on this fact as I don’t see it as a burden, but others might find it so and I accept their empathy on top of my accident. I’m shameless when I’m wounded.
During my lunch break I stretched my leg with some walking, went up and down some stairs, then rode around the block to a nearby RiteAid to get rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, larger bandages, and painkillers. I used all but the last to redress my wound, and kept the painkillers in reserve as I felt I had already passed the most intense pains. All of this activity helped significantly in re-expanding my limited range of movement, and made possible my riding home later in the afternoon.
Finally, I shall conclude with an event that refrained from being ominous and as such added a necessary, and much welcomed, sense of overall balance. On the way home I noticed that trees along the Storrow Drive bike path have started to blossom and in general show signs of life, so I have removed my martenitsa from my bike seat. Perhaps this week I will hang my red-and-white friends somewhere, as I’ll be riding the trail every day until my duty is complete.
Thus endeth the day.
Update: after the oil spill caused me to kiss pavement I reported on the City of Boston’s pothole registry service as it was the closest thing I could find to report the issue with while using my phone. Yesterday I received an e-mail response saying the case had been resolved, so I went back and found that the oil had indeed been cleaned up. Huzzah!