I got in a bike accident this morning.
This isn't the first time that this has happened. The bike is about 10 years old and has only been acting up in the last three years or so. Despite the bike shop visits and the tune-ups, the thing is still giving me trouble – thank you, poor bike chains and breaks. At this point, I am starting to think that the problem is me.
My back bike wheel stopped suddenly and I flew over the handle bars and hit the pavement faster than you can say, sriracha lime fried chicken. Thankfully, I didn't actually hit anything – my possessed bicycle decided to have a mind of its own. Yes, don't worry, I'm fine – just a couple bumps and bruises to my legs (and my ego). Other than that, I'm golden.
I felt like a damsel in distress, though, which is not normal for me. Usually, I am the Type A, GDI (Gosh Darn Independent) who can handle the world without any assistance but this morning, in my state of peril and utter mortification, I was grateful for the Good Samaritan who appeared out of nowhere and helped me to my feet, assuring me that everything would be ok. Thank you, kind stranger!
What happened next is so "first world" that it's hilarious.
I stood up and immediately knew that my bike was broken. The chain was wedged into the gear changer thingy; some other chain-like thing also dangled off the frame (how’s that for being descriptive? I don’t know what these gadgets are called…). I attempted to move my bike back to my apartment, 500 feet away, but the back wheel would not budge so I limped and front-wheeled it, tears streaming down my face, back to my place. All the while, I kept telling myself to pull it together. What else could I do? Once the bike was back in the rack, I sucked it up and trudged — in pain and on foot — to class.
This lovely turn of events inspired me to do some research on bike safety. In light of what happened to me, bike maintenance tips (or even advice on how to dispossess one’s bike) are in order. I found some handy tips from Bicycle Safe, "How Not To Get Hit By Cars" which is useful but doesn't necessarily apply in this instance — and then I found some simple bike maintenance rules that street bikers should probably abide by. Oops.
- Keep your bike indoors. Okay. I wish I could, but my apartment isn't equipped to hold multiple bicycles in our living room. Plus, since I go to a university where bicycle riding reigns supreme over all modes of transportation, there are bike racks ready and available for my bike to be kept outside -- it's a vehicle after all.
- Bicycles ridden in rain and/or off-road typically require more frequent and extensive service. Pssh. Says who? How do I even do this? Maybe, I'll go all out and buy some handy-dandy kit of some sort and become Ms. Biker Fix-it Lady-thing.
- Don't use WD40 on your chain! Do people actually think that WD40 works on bikes? Even I know that this is not a smart idea. Good thing I don't do that, but then again I also don't touch my chain, which could be a problem.
- If your bike has been crashed, or you purchased a used bike, we recommend bringing it in for a thorough check-up to ensure that it's running properly. This is where I'm at. Looks like a trip to the bike shop is in order, then I'll go visit a priest and have him bless my two wheeled transportation device to ensure that it will not cause me any more problems.
- Enjoy! Enjoy? I'll do that when my bike doesn't cause me any more problems.