My Big Bike Fail.

So this whole biking thing is more dangerous than I thought. I bailed on my bike on Friday. It was my own fault. I can’t even say it was because of someone else. I was being stupid. I was lane changing to make a left turn and when I shoulder checked and was riding forward, the car in front of me stopped for a pedestrian and by the time I turned my head forward again, I had to slam on my brakes to avoid slamming into the car. Then I tumbled over my handlebars doing a face dive into the road. One emergency dentist trip later (and $300), I had my front tooth glued to my other teeth to stop it from moving, and go back on Tuesday to see if I need a root canal and crown. Boo! There goes all the money I saved so far from BNY.

It could have been worse, at least I didn’t get hit by a car when I fell into the oncoming lane.

When we started BNY, I was somewhat scared of biking, but I watched all these urban bike videos and felt much more comfortable with the idea. Since then, biking has grown on me a lot. I have discovered I actually really love biking, and it is quite the efficient way of traveling the city. However, I have been terrified of the idea of winter biking. I have been gathering info on winter biking and listening to anecdotal stories from people who winter bike. So far the consensus has been that a) winter biking is fun (this really has been the consensus so far), b) make sure to dress warmly (i.e. no exposed skin), c) just go carefully and slowly, and d) winter tires are not essential. All my friends who winter bike here in Calgary do not use studded tires. Based on the stories I have heard from friends, I was warming up (no pun intended) to the idea of winter biking. Dare I say, was even excited by it.

Now–not so much. Now, I’m not even sure I want to get on my bike again. Apparently I cannot ride safely even without snow and ice as impediments. I know I have to get over it though. And I actually want to get over it because I do really like biking, and the thought of not doing it makes me a little sad. Having said that, I am also freaked out by the whole incident. I smashed my face up pretty good. Actually I am surprised I didn’t break my nose. I can already tell that it will probably leave a scar. At least I have something to remember BNY by–that is if I don’t get that tattoo at the end of the year. I suppose it is a fitting way to remember BNY, as the scar is free, and well tattoos, like, cost money.

Its funny how when I read about others doing biking as a form of frugal transportation, they make it sound all peachy and shit. Don’t get me wrong, it is, until it is not. Biking has become a negative revenue generating activity. Even if I bike for the rest of the year it still would not be enough to cover the costs of the dental work I will most likely need. I am thinking about modifying our life experiment. I haven’t fully given up on biking yet, but I am not fully embracing it anymore either. I am going to approach it with some healthy skepticism until it wins me back over. Next week, perhaps, I will buy some bus tickets.

Have any of you out there had similar experiences? If yes, what did you do to work through your bike fear? Did you get back on again right away, or have you kept your distance? Please share any stories or tips for newbie bike riders like me. Trust me, I really do need all the help and advice I can get. Here are the photos to prove it:

Loose tooth from my bike tumble

Loose tooth from my bike tumble

Aftermath of face plant

Aftermath of face plant

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14 thoughts on “My Big Bike Fail.

  1. Get back on the *horse*, we’ve all taken MANY tumbles off our bikes but it’s a learning experience each time, right? Your poor nose, glad you didn’t break it! I’m crossing my fingers that they can maybe just push that tooth back into place….is it possible for the root to regenerate?? I have no idea of these ‘dentist’ things…..it doesn’t look chipped, so perhaps it can be saved. Wouldn’t that be great? πŸ™‚

    • I got back on the horse today. I am not going to let this keep me off my bike I have decided. I had an uneventful ride into work today, and I am retraining myself not to use my front brake at all, which is proving to be slightly challenging as I am left handed and it is my left hand break. Things seem to be healing well, and my tooth so far has no pain. Hopefully it will get over the trauma and not need anymore work. Only time will tell.

  2. Hi Geoffrey
    So sorry 😦
    I did learn to ride bike on winter (when I was kid) I was so scared. I have been one bike accident and broke my teeth..but I still love biking…Do you have helmet? Just take baby steps to get back on bike again..I know you do great..go slowly! Much love!!!

    • Thanks for sharing Henna! I do make sure to ride with my helmet on (not that it did much good when I landed on my face lol). I got back on the bike today though and I am going to stick with it. Thanks for the love! Sending it back to you in Finland πŸ™‚

  3. I have been bicycling about two years in Amsterdam, where is famous bicycle city. In two years, I already have my third bike and spent (wasted?) more than €400 on bikes.

    I had fallen from the bike at night (tried to fix the light, and left both hands from the handle), and had crack on my wrist, which cost me €250 after insurance for hospital and acupuncture. In a while I couldn’t ride a bike, but soon I missed how convenient the bike was and started to bike again even still having the cast on my arm. However, the second bad things happened. The bike didn’t have chain cover and my Max Mara pants suits which my mom bought me before she passed away (priceless for me), stuck in the chain and torn. When the bike needed another repair, I bought a second-hand bike for €110. But after one year ride, the bike was stolen. I also broke my LED hoop tube stepping on the pedal of the bike. When I lost my second bike, I was very sad and thought I may not worth to have a bike in Amsterdam anymore. Every time I walk, I searched my bike on the streets which was not fun at all. But one day I had a nightmare that I’m late for work because I don’t have a bike…So I decide to get a bike again.
    My third bike is from my friend, which cost me €30 to repair some broken parts, I enjoy riding and appreciate it.

    So, I still like to ride a bike because I feel good to bike (I feel like “living in Amsterdam” :)). It’s good exercise at the same time to go work/shopping etc. But the main reason is bicycle makes me more active to visit many places without worrying about the bus routes and time schedules.

    My friend, who is over 60yrs old, who injured all of body parts from bicycle in her life, still enjoys bike. I asked her the reason and she answered that because she feels free and feels energy for making motor for the bike herself.

    I hope you get better and enjoy your bike again in nice weather.

    • Thanks for sharing Tomomi! Your stories actually were really encouraging. They gave me confidence to not be afraid of biking. I have gotten back on the horse officially today. I am going to take things more slowly and try and learn from my bike mistakes but acknowledge that accidents do in fact happen. I feel bad that you have had such a bad string of luck with your biking adventures. That’s terrible to break your LED hoop and lose so many bikes. What a costly endevour. However, I agree with you that biking is such a convenient and fast way to get around the city. I feel free too when I am biking. Thanks again for sharing. It really helped me in my time of nursing my bruises and soar ego lol.

  4. Oh poor baby – Les thinks that your front and back brakes need adjusting as your front brake appears to override your rear brake. Les had this happen when his rear brake failed to engage. Sending you our love Geoff. We hope you heal quickly. xoxo Robin & Les

    • I think Les is right…my front brake is definitely overly sensitive. I am just trying not to use my front brake at all now. This apparently is a common way to flying over the handlebars. THnak you for the love and suggestions on brakes. I may see if I can fix it. Or at least get by on just the back brake.

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  6. I kissed the concrete when I was first learning to commute by bike. I *merged* onto a curb like a car would, instead of turning my wheel perpendicular and climbing it like a bike. Result – flying faceplant into sidewalk, day before first day of new job :/ Everything healed, and fake front teeth feel just like regular ones!

    Remember to breathe and remember that you can stop and walk your bike for a few blocks, anytime, for any/no reason. After years of urban cycling, the times when I’ve had tumbles are when I’m rushed, preoccupied, or angry about that ____ driver who just _______. Come to think of it, the times when I get angry are also the times when I feel rushed! My cycling changed when I realized that stop lights are the universe’s way of saying “you need to take a few breaths, right now.” Ground, recharge, go!

    • That is a really good point. When I bailed on my bike I was taking a new route through downtown and wasn’t feeling confident and was a bit stressed. I know I wasn’t being the most alert biker. Slowing down is good advice. Next time I am feeling unsure I may just hop off my bike instead of competing with traffic and doing something stupid like face planting again.

  7. I had a major bike wipeout last January on some black ice (no studded tires either) that left me afraid of biking for awhile… Got back on in the spring and toppled over my handlebars because I was trying to not stop completely (i.e., lazy)… I haven’t biked much since. Definitely a mental hurdle, but I do miss my bike. I seem to go in waves of biking for transportation so I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. I’m sure I’ll be back soon πŸ™‚ Glad to hear you’ve given it another go!

  8. Had a major wipeout on Saturday 8 miles from home. My own stupidity. After a really cold spell and lots of snow and ice, almost all the snow had melted in the sun with the exception of pile from snow plows. I decided to head up a bike trail after about 7 miles and at 11:30 in the morning and the temperature at 55 degrees I wasn’t worried about any problems with ice. When I hit the trail I did notice some snow on the side a wet pavement ahead but again with the temperature so warm, I didn’t think any ice would be there. Wrong! I hit black ice (trail was partly shady and the temperature overnight had fallen below freezing) and down I went! Lots of cuts, scrapes, bruises, sore chest and lower back and thankfully I had long sleeve shirt and pants on or I would have lost a lot more skin. This is how you learn! Bought a new bike yesterday so I will be back on in a couple days (when I know there is no more ice!)

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