A cautionary tale for you today, dear readers.
I received a text message from a close friend this weekend; somewhat unremarkable in itself, I know. However, as I read words like “crashed”, “destroyed”, “ambulance” and several others I can’t repeat, I started to realise this wasn’t your everyday message.
A freak accident, a lapse in concentration or just one of those things… who knows. Somehow, my friend had run straight into the back of a car that had stopped suddenly, slamming into the rear window face first.
You can see the force of the collision by the kinks left in the top tube and down tube of the titanium frame. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), the carbon fork didn’t snap which I suppose has to go down as a ‘good’ thing.
Essentially, the frame is now an incredibly expensive piece of wall art along with the fork which, whilst it looks OK, simply can’t be relied on after such a heavy impact.
Being so far away, I simply couldn’t drop everything and rush over to help out so I spent the next several agonising moments trying to remain calm and rational on the phone to my jabbering friend saying useless things like “keep your helmet on”, “it’s just a bike” and other such nonsense.
The fact he was walking, talking and able to operate a Blackberry was a relief; the sound of the ambulance arriving in the background an even bigger relief. Hanging up the phone, I tried desperately not to worry, knowing he was in the best hands possible and waited for the next update.
The minutes and hours ticked away and there was the sitting-in-the-police-car delay, the waiting-at-the-hopistal delay and the more-waiting-at-the-hospital delay. All of which meant there was no risk of any serious head, neck or back injury, no major blood loss and hopefully nothing a week in the sun couldn’t fix.
Eventually the news that “I look like a chipmunk storing nuts in his cheek” and “I have a cut on my chin they glued back together” came through and I was finally able to relax a little.
How he didn’t come off as badly as the bike, I just don’t know. But, wearing a helmet, carrying a phone and (happily they weren’t needed) having ICE (in case of emergency) numbers saved in said phone certainly helped keep the stress levels as low as possible – these things are a must for me on any bike ride and should be essential for anyone heading out alone, particularly if you’re out in the countryside or anywhere off road.
Bikes can be replaced, people can’t.