2 weeks ago I was out on the bike, minding my own business, having a great day in the hills, as one does.
Sundays are meant for this and the dirt roads of the Perth hills are generally peaceful and riding is good for the soul.
Well, that’s how it was supposed to be, anyway…
I was blasting along a wide gravel road (gazetted mind you – not some 2 bit trail) at about 85kph (55mph ish for those of you still languishing in imperial units) when out of the corner of my eye I see a grey blur.
Jumps clean over the fence to my left at full bounce, clips my front wheel and sends me and the bike crashing hard to the ground.
Skippy doesn’t even break stride, such was the glancing blow, but I hit the ground fast and hard and slide behind the bike to a gravelly halt about 100m later.
Actually, major fucking ouch. My left leg is in agony. My knee is pouring blood and my knee and ankle are hurting like hell.
Like proper ‘oh shit it’s broken’ kind of pain.
I’m wearing proper gear – MX boots, kevlar lined jeans, big jacket with armour, proper gloves, full faced helmet – so there’s no gravel rash, but the impact was really hard and I’m hurting on my left side.
I roll over and reach for my phone – no signal. Not on either of the 2 carriers. Shit.
I take my left boot off to see if there are broken bones, but apart from a livid purple bruise appearing on the side of my shin, it looks like there’s no dramatic breaks anyway. I check my knee – it’s got a large hole in the skin from the impact – maybe 1cm deep, but apart from the fact that it won’t stop bleeding, it’s no biggie compared to the swelling – my knee is now about double the normal size and won’t bend properly.
I pick the bike up (which at about 170kg loaded is no mean feat on a busted leg) and drag it to the side of the road whilst I decide what I’m going to do. I’m next to a rural driveway, so I hop up the 300 metres as best I can, leaving a trail of blood drops, but when I get there, it turns out the house is abandoned. Dammit.
I get back to the bike and sit on the side of the road. I wait for a bit – there’s another house a couple of km down the road, but I don’t think I can walk that far. I wait for a bit, but this isn’t a busy road – could be a day before someone comes.
I don’t really have a choice – I’m gonna have to ride it home. I put the boot back on – having to loosen up all the clips as my leg is swelling up and get on with it.
The bike is pretty scuffed up, but nothing is really broken. The front wheel is not pointing straight but a quick yank on the bars sets it back close enough (although having to hold the wheel between my legs was excruciating)
It won’t start for ages and I hope nothing is broken, buts most likely just flooded. Over the next 10 minutes, it splutters back to life, but now I have to get back on and ride the sucker home.
My left leg won’t take any weight at all, so mounting the bike from the left (I’m short, so I have to get on it like mounting a horse) is absolutely agonising but eventually I’m on and I limp home, ever gear change shooting pain into my left ankle.
40km and I’m back. Not good. I’m feeling like shit. I have a bath to relax and gain some perspective on the painful bits.
We go to hospital a few hours later as the pain is pretty damn bad – x-rays – nothing broken, although my knee is killing me.
It’s now 2 weeks later and to be honest, it’s not a lot better. My leg is 2x the normal size, half my leg is numb and the other half is hypersensitive and even a light touch hurts like hell.
I have broken ribs on my left side that I didn’t even realise at the time (even in the hospital), that stop me using my crutches effectively. My leg swells up every day and hurts like hell, I can’t put any substantial weight on it yet and basically I’m not a happy camper. But I have to carry on and get to work – drive, train, walk, bus, walk. 90 mins each way. And thats before I have to do anything.
Some gore for you!
A few hours after the accident – the cuts dont look too bad – the cut in the middle is about the size (and depth) of a marble though. Some pretty wicked swelling starting.
Day 2 – Bruising starting to appear now..(hospital dressed the cut..but my knee is totally numb and I cant feel the skin on the top at all (even 2 weeks later)
Day 4: Properly bruised now – my ankle is impossibly black all round – probably tore some ligaments and tendons around the area and in my knee which is causing the bleeding and pooling. Will be a while before I’ll even be able to tell what kind of damage I’ll need further treatment for.
Most of the damage is from the bike falling and crushing my leg I think.
The knee is a bit different – the outside of it is from the impact and I’m still worried that I might have chipped my kneecap – there’s a pain like a hot knife in there even to the slightest touch 😦
Leg elevated to stop the swelling. That’s the reality of my evenings and a good chunk of my weekends at the moment
Day 7: Bruising starting to fade a little on my ankle and thigh.
And today – 2 weeks later – leg elevated, foot swollen and still black on my toes. Jeans hurt like hell on my knee and left side of my shin.
In all – I probably got away with this one – could have been a lot worse – lucky I came off on a straight section and lucky I didn’t break anything (well, ribs excepted)
So there ya go kids – wear proper bike gear – I shudder to think what would have happened if I wasn’t wearing all my tough proper gear – would not have been riding out that’s for sure and being gravel road – skin grafts or worse would be needed.
It’s still going to be a long road ahead for me – many many months I suspect – before I’m recovered. The bike will have to wait. As soon as I’m more mobile, I’ll arrange for it to be collected so it can be repaired, serviced and the fluids drained so it can be safely stored in the shed for a long as required.
Adventures will have to wait.