Its been many years since I fell off my bicycle, but it happened yesterday on the way home at the Newtownpark Avenue/Monkstown Ring Road junction near my home. I had come to the lights which were red, but noticed that the pedestrian lights had just turned from green to orange. Knowing the sequence of these lights well, I knew that seconds away I would be able to continue on a green light - so I tried to keep my bicycle upright and slow moving (almost stopped) so that I could take off quickly. Unfortunately, the orange seemed to stay on for so long that I eventually had to put my foot down to stabilize myself, but fell over as I could not get my right foot out from the pedal strap quickly enough. Over on my arse! A very pretty woman came to my rescue and helped me up - nobody else did (they were possibly already in shock seeing a cyclist stop at a red light). With a bloody knee and wounded pride, I continued my journey home. The bike was OK too!
We are always told that we never forget how to ride a bike (yet silly things like above happen). Neuroscientists at the University of Aberdeen even claim to have found out why this is so - see article Scientists discover why we never forget how to ride a bicycle. Apparently they have "identified a key nerve cell in the brain that controls the formation of memories for motor skills such as riding a bicycle".
Mistakes also happen, so I reckon that I should reflect on my small accident and see what I can learn from it - so here are my learnings from this episode:
- Don't forget - bikes fall over if they are not moving
- 51 year olds are not good at balancing a non-moving bike -I am not Seán Kelly
- Falling over your bicycle is still a good way to attract good-looking women
- I am now worried that the "key nerve cell" in my brain is not working properly
- It's only a small accident - get over it
- It might be safer to keep going rather than stopping (like 99.999% of cyclists do anyway)
- And finally I should re-consider my decision not to wear a helmet on the bicycle