Friday, 20 May 2011

Does anyone else want to join the "I hate tram tracks group"?

Yesterday morning I cycled to work, as I had borrowed my colleague's Trek Madone to test it out, and I needed to return it to him.  It is only a short ride to work but there are lots of tram tracks along the way.  Usually I just stay near the pavement and avoid having to cross them altogether.  Yesterday though I was waiting at the traffic lights in Oerlikon at a place where cars must go right, and trams and buses can continue straight on, and in order to avoid having to cross infront of the cars when the lights went green, I passed them on the left and waited at the front of the queue.

The problem was that I had crossed one set of tram tracks and was in the middle no man's ground, so when the lights went green I cycled in the middle for a while, before looking for a good place to cross back over the tracks as the ground was a little wet and I knew they would be slippery.  Despite my caution, as I crossed over them my front tyre slipped on the wet metal and went inside the track, flipping my bike in one foul swoop and throwing me onto the ground.

The way that the bike flipped I was thrown down to the ground on my right side, with my left arm outstretched, since the handlebars were crossed over.  The left wrist therefore bore most of the impact, and then after that my right knee hit the ground followed by my right hip.  It was all over in a flash and the first thing I did was make sure there was no tram coming before picking up the bike, dusting myself off and getting the hell out of there to avoid the embarrassment of people coming over to ask if I was okay.  Luckily only one guy saw me that I noticed, and I was gone before he could say anything.

Further down the road I stopped and looked for damage to the bike.  There were some scratches on the right brake lever but luckily nothing more that that, so I carried on to work.  On arriving at work I gave the bike back to my colleague and informed him about the accident and the scratches, offering to get new parts if he wanted, but he was very easy going about it and said that as long as it was only scratches it wasn't necessary for me to replace parts.  He is a very nice guy, as a lot of people would have been very angry at having their unscratched one year old bike scratched after a few weeks of lending it to someone else.  As he was so nice about it I gave him a bottle of champagne that someone had given me as part of an exchange for my old kayak.

That is only the second time in my life I have fallen off on tram tracks.  The other time was in Geneva many years back.  They tend be quite nasty falls though, as your bike is stopped dead in its tracks, no pun intended.  I know a few people who have been injured badly by them, but luckily for me both times I survived with only a few bruises to both my body and my ego to show for it.

Yesterday evening I had another private Pilates lesson booked, so I did't know whether in light of my accident I should cancel it or not, based on the fact I couldn't close my left hand properly, and most of the time we do exercises that involve holding handles attached to springs.  In the end though I decided not to cancel it, as I haven't been able to do Pilates for over a month and a half now due to the teacher going away on a training course, and I didn't want to postpone it by yet another week.  So we changed the usual routine and did other exercises instead, ones that didn't involve having to close my left hand with any degree of force.  It went very well considering the long break since I last did Pilates, and today I can feel my "powerhouse" had a good workout yesterday, but it isn't too sore or uncomfortable.

Today was a rest day and then tomorrow I will do another day long cycle ride, now that my wrist seems to be almost back to normal again.  This time I will take the train to Göschenen and then try to do 3 passes in a row.  The route will either be Furka-Grimsel-Susten or Susten-Grimsel-Furka depending on what I decide later tonight.  That should be around 120km and 3,500 vertical metres if I manage to complete it successfully.  It seems that almost all the passes are open now, which is good news in terms of the range of places where I can train for La Marmotte.

I realise I haven't put any photos into my posts for a while, so tomorrow I am going to try to take some nice photos of the passes so I can liven up my next post :).  But that's all for tonight folks, so enjoy the start to your weekends.

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