It is over half a century since I last fell off a bike – which would seem to suggest to the perspicacious reader that that fifty year record has been smashed. As indeed has my pride.
Let me rush to my own balanced defence. The machine culprit in my discomfort (because of course, the fault cannot be mine) was not my trusty big bike with basket, but rather a newfangled purchase which needs a certain amount of explanation.
As part of a master plan for completely invented situations, I managed to persuade myself that what I really needed was to support a Kickstarter project for the world's smallest collapsible electric bike. Which I now have. Setting it up was a little more complicated than it should have been because I ignored my generational position and thought that I could do it with the minimum of instruction. I couldn't. And it took for ever for me to discover that there were written instructions as well as photographs in the twenty page booklet – that was obviously far too long for me to read through before I started pushing buttons and making things telescope.
Or not. Eventually I managed (with Toni's help) to get the thing to some sort of completion. The battery looks like an oversized can of Coke – though a bloody sight heavier. And the battery needed to soak up power for a few hours until it was ready to attach to the bike – which gave me a period to practice sitting on the thing. Which was not quite as easy as you would imagine. The bike is an A-frame construction, which looks quite odd and feels even odder when you are sitting on it – especially when the seat has not been adjusted properly. And that fault, I maintain was the reason that I fell, in slow motion, onto the surface of an empty road.
Let me hasten to say that I was not injured, merely a scabbed knee (now there's a regression to childhood!) a knocked elbow and bruised hand. Reading through that, it actually seems worse than it was, I did (after a few shocked seconds) get to my feet and continue cycling, making sure that I kept my weight forward to keep the seat from going backward.
It was an experience. The small solid wheels made sure that I experienced every crack in the surface and I gripped the handlebars for all I was worth. Peddling to make the battery kick in was a new and very disturbing experience. But one that I am sure that I will get used to and, who knows, it might actually become part of my multi-system form of transport to make my weekly visits to Barcelona more efficient and cheaper. My plan was to cycle to the station, take a train to Barcelona, cycle to my meeting place and then do all that in reverse on the way back. Hmm. The more I read all that the less likely it is to happen. But it was a good idea. Probably is a good idea if I can make the experience a little more natural. This is very much work in progress.
And I have been using the car more than the bike since The Fall. But I have to admit that this is pure laziness rather than some deep seated trauma.