Went for a bike ride on Saturday with Sarah. We stopped at a bike shop on the way to the rail trail and got her tire adjusted and inflated, then found a parking spot at the head of the trail.
It was a perfect day, in the low 80’s but with cool breezes. The rail trail was busy, but not crowded – we would have to pass someone every few minutes, but mostly it was open trail.
On either side of the trail are farms and trees, with occasional views into the surrounding town, flashes of gas stations and restaurants through a break in the trees. There is an ice cream and polish food shop on the side of the trail at one point. We didn’t stop there but we did last time we were on the rail trail. It’s a nice little mom and pop shop with good food and ice cream.
We rode on, through a few intersections, through a couple tunnels, all the way to the other end of the trail, about 9 miles. We rested a bit and then headed back. After only a few feet, we quickly turned around – Sarah had left her camera on one of the picnic tables there. When we got back a nice couple was holding it for us, we retrieved it and headed out again.
We stopped at a beaver dam to look at it and the numerous dragonflies, Sarah managed to get a couple decent shots of a dragonfly, even though they would fly away if you got too close. We wondered about the beavers themselves, I posited they might be nocturnal and all asleep (we looked it up later, I was right).
Then we headed out again and that’s where things got bloody.
We were cruising along, when all of a sudden, Sarah’s bike wobbled, swerved, and she went down. Hard.
My blood ran cold, for two different reasons.
Firstly, it looked like she went down hard enough to have possibly broken something, and could be badly hurt. We were close to a town, but far enough that getting to help might be difficult, especially if she had a broken leg. Luckily, we had brought our cellphones, she had quipped as we headed out “you know, in case we need to dial 911.”
At the same time, I was worried that she would never want to go bike riding again. I flashed to my friend Mike who got into a car accident and basically decided never to drive again.
The rail trail is paved, which makes for a smooth ride, but a very hard and painful landing.
She had pitched off the bike partway sideways, partway over the handlebars. I pulled up and hopped off my bike. There were ragged bloody patches on her knees and arms, and her leg was stuck between the handlebars and the frame. I lifted the handlebars up so she could get her leg out, then I helped her get sitting up.
She had held out her hand as she fell, so her wrist took a hard impact, and hurt the most. Her fingers had bent backward when she hit, and her pinky was very tender to the touch and swollen. She tried to move her pinky and wrist, they still had circulation and movement, but she almost passed out when she first tried to move them. I sat with her, trying to think what to do next. She didn’t seem badly injured enough to warrant an ambulance, but she was too injured to ride 8 more miles back to the car. As we were, we were in the woods, but near a road. It seemed like if I got the car we would have a lot more options, we could drive to a hospital to get an x-ray, or if nothing seemed broken, we could go to Sarah’s and get her patched up.
A woman walked up and asked if Sarah was okay, if we wanted her to call an ambulance or anything. Sarah said no thanks, that she was hurt but didn’t think she needed an ambulance.
After a bit, Sarah seemed a little less dazed, and I got on my bike to ride back to the car. I felt bad leaving her alone on the trail. I marked our location on my iPhone’s GPS, and took off down the trail as fast as I could.
I’m no Ben Peck, but I made pretty good time back to the car. I put my bike in the back of the car and gave Sarah a call to let her know I was on my way. I had a little difficulty matching the iPhone location with the map on my Prius, I wish both would just show me the lat and long coords and let me punch them in manually.
After a little trial and error I found Sarah. I strapped her bike to the car, and we went into town to a pharmacy for Sarah-patching supplies. We sat in the park and I acted as nurse’s assistant in washing the wounds with saline and bandaging them up, since Sarah’s right wrist and pinky hurt too badly for her to use them. Then we went to a brewery/pub to get some lunch and get Sarah some much-needed beer.