Last week, I came home from work and Lori and I took off for a bike ride. I had forgotten how much I loved riding and have had a lot of fun with our new bicycles. So, we took off for the path along the river and decided to head towards downtown. Not long after getting to the path, I slowed down to take a drink. As we approached a slight curve in the trail, I reached for my water bottle with my right hand while my left hand rested on the break and handlebars. As I was taking a drink, I heard voices coming down the path and heard Lori say that there were people ahead. A split second later I saw a small dog round the corner heading directly in my path. When I saw the dog, my natural reaction was to squeeze the brake. And, because I was caught by surprise, I squeezed it hard.
So, those who don't know bicycles very well are now saying, "So what?!". Those who know bicycles are saying, "Oops!". In the U.S., on most bicycles, the brake lever that is controlled by the left hand is the front brake. And, while the front brake is perfectly fine when combined with the back brake, it is not so good when used by itself and squeezed quickly and with force. The front wheel stopped. My bike, my water bottle, and I did not. My body went over the handlebars while the back of my bike flipped over and landed on top of me. In the second it took me to hit the pavement, fleeting thoughts of embarassment and imminent pain raced through my head. It is bad enough to fall with nobody watching and slightly worse to fall in front of your wife. But, add to it the embarassment of falling in front of strangers who just happened to cross paths with you. And then, as I lay there trying to ascertain the extent of damage I had done to my body, I heard a familiar voice say, "It's the Marinuccis!". It was Julie Lockett. She was walking with Ursula Kochenberger and Kelly Gordon. The only thing worse than falling in front of complete strangers walking by is falling in front of three ladies who happen to be friends.
I started laughing at my incredible good luck. I laughed so hard at hearing Julie Lockett's voice that I couldn't even stand up. Well, that and the fact that the bike was now intertwined with my legs. I think I made it look worse because I wasn't moving. I just kept laying there and laughing uncontrollably. Finally, I got up and realized that I had fallen quite gracefully and that I was relatively unscathed. The only thing that I felt was slight pain in my left palm where I had broken my fall. Even better than my physical good fortune was picking up my bike and realizing that it had survived the fall even better than I. Other than a slight twist of the handlebar to align it with the front wheel, there wasn't anything wrong with the bike. Not a scratch. Right then, Kelly mentioned that something had flown towards the bank of the river. I assured her that it was not my teeth and knew that it was my water bottle that had been launched ahead.
After retrieving my bottle and then sharing some good-hearted laughter and conversation, we finally moved on. We continued to laugh at hearing Julie's voice exclaim, "It's the Marinuccis". When we returned home, my right knee started hurting and I realized I had bruised and scratched my knee. The next day, I realized I had bruised my arm as well. But overall, I was very fortunate to land as well as I did and felt lucky that my bike and body had come out of it so well. Here's to always being able to make fun of yourself and to falling gracefully...