I was pedalling along happily one minute smiling in the sunshine, then suddenly on the road braking with one of my knees and toes. That minor – or so I thought – problem of clunky, jumping gears was the culprit. I had been standing up on the bike going at quite a pace, when the pedal suddenly dropped. This made me lose my footing and I found myself hopping along with one foot along the road trying to keep up with my speeding bike, with a sense of impending doom.
There wasn’t any serious damage – a deep graze and cuts, broken sandals, a mangled frame and quite a bit of oil and blood – but it was quite a shock. I lay there in the road shaking and promptly burst into tears. Within seconds a fellow cyclist pulled up and scrapped me off the road.
He helped me to the kerb and then touched my shoulder gently and said: “That looked like a nasty fall, are you okay?” For some reason this made me howl even more but I managed to grimace and reply: “ye..ye..ye..yes” through the tears and rivers of make up sliding down my face.
After he was sure I was okay, he went on his way. Then a second good samaritan appeared, complete with first aid kit under his arm. He worked at a hotel nearby and had seen everything. He diligently first cleaned my wounds with water and tissues.
It turned out another casualty had got to the first aid kit before me so it was actually pretty threadbare but, as I learnt on my basic first aid skills course, you sometimes need to improvise. So instead of a large dressing, the man created a patchwork of small plasters over my knee wound, being careful not to get the sticky bits on the wound itself. He spoke little English but I was touched by his thoroughness and tenderness towards a stranger.
I was just preparing to wheel my poor bike home, when a coach then stopped. The driver hopped out and also asked if I was okay. “Let me get some water and wipes to clean off that oil,” he offered, frowning at the state of my legs.
A couple of weeks later I am almost fully recovered, although everyone has been intrigued by the progress of my scab; my colleague Mark has taken to asking how my ‘beetroot crisp’ is.