On Wednesday, May 21, 2014, I decided to go on a bike ride. I dressed in my TeamWILD cycling kit, got on my cycling shoes and my awesome Rudy Project helmet and sunglasses and out I went on my fabulous Raleigh Militis 2 carbon fiber bike. I got about 2 miles from my house, I was on the Mississippi River Road in the bike lane and I wanted to make an easy, slightly uphill left turn onto Summit Avenue to continue the 30 mile loop I intended to do. I looked all around, verified there were no cars coming, and I did a visual check of the road. Everything appeared to be fine.
Then, suddenly, I felt the bike slipping hard and fast down to the pavement. I had just enough time, funny how time slows in moments like these, to realize I was falling and I remember my cycling coach telling me that relaxing into a fall would make the fall easier on the body. So I did that. I sent the message to my whole body to relax and allow the fall to just happen as it would. I had hit a pothole in the road.
The bike skidded a bit and I got some bad road rash on my right leg and right arm. My arm warmer was torn and I was bleeding badly. I could tell I was in shock, so I just sat there and let my body assimilate to what had happened. A woman out walking saw me fall and she came over and gathered my phone and glucose tablets and the plastic baggie that held my glucose meter. She asked me if there was someone I could call to come and get me. I was still enough in shock that I couldn’t think clearly enough about who might be able to come for me.
I had looked over and I saw my beautiful bike. And I could see that the fork of the bike had busted in half, on both sides. This caused another level of shock and stress. Raleigh Bicycles had given me this bike in June 2012, as a celebration of the work I do in the world for diabetes, cancer and fitness. The bike means the world to me. I love riding this white and grey bike. I had ridden my Greg LeMond Zurich entry level racing bike for 12 years when the Raleigh arrived in my life. As much as I love cycling, I have dedicated most of my working life to efforts that don’t earn me much extra cash to buy a stable full of bicycles.
Thus, I just sat there on the curb, wondering how would I ever repair the bike? I closed my business, TeamWILD Athletics LLC, down in October 2013, and because of PTSD and some brain processing challenges I have, I cannot get a full time job at the moment. I have been substitute teaching for the past three months, to be able to pay rent and buy food. A part time substitute teacher income won’t buy me a new bike or many repairs on the broken Raleigh. I decided not to worry about that in the moment and just trust that things would sort themselves out, somehow.
At that moment, a police vehicle pulled up and two wonderful officers got out of the vehicle. They asked us what happened, and they made sure I was officially all right. Then they offered to drive me and my broken bicycle back to my house. I gratefully accepted their offer. I bled all over the back of the car, and I apologized for doing that. They assured me that I was likely the kindest, most cooperative person to ever bleed in the backseat! And not to worry, they would be sure to get it cleaned up.
I carried the bike and my hurting body into my house, where I sat for a long time just looking at the broken fork and scraped front wheel. I finally got in the shower and scrubbed the grit out of the road rash. I also then saw the start of a big bruise forming on my upper thigh. My bike shorts didn’t rip where that bruise was forming. I guess my relaxing into the fall did work. At least on saving my bike shorts!
Then a few days passed. Two friends sent very kind and helpful emails offering to help me find a replacement fork, on ebay. And giving great advice on what to ask the bike shop when I brought the bike in.
I brought the bike to Erik’s Bike Shop, which is the sponsoring bike shop for the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure Twin Cities bike ride, which is this Saturday, May 31, 2014. I’m hoping to ride the 62 mile route, and I will be on my cleaned up old steel LeMond for the ride.
Then, my fellow T1 friend and Team Red Captain of the Dallas Fort Worth Tour de Cure team, Don Muchow, set up, without asking me, a GoFundMe campaign to help replace my damaged bike. What a surprise!! I couldn’t even respond to the campaign for almost 24 hours, I was just so moved and surprised.
I often wonder if part of the reason I’ve had type 1 diabetes since I was 16, and cancer twice, and have these crazy difficult things happen to me, is because one of the things I have to learn in this particular lifetime is to accept and feel my connection to other human beings, even in the face of so much struggle. Perhaps even because of it. I hope that my soul and my heart are learning. Writing this right now has brought tears to my eyes.
Thank you everyone for all you do to remind me that we are indeed connected. And that suffering is inherent in being human. And in accepting the suffering, not resisting it, it is actually possible to find peace.
If you would like to donate to the fundraising effort, to help me repair or maybe replace my bicycle, please CLICK HERE. Thank you so much for your help. It means the world to me.