Recipe for a Bike Accident

A Bike Accident is the perfect side dish to compliment a feast of Tour de France race trials, or perhaps the ongoing expansion of Citibike, or, more reliably, Uber‘s conquest of motorized transport. As you see, the sky’s the limit. 

I will never forget my own first experience of a Bike Accident on my ride home from school on a humid spring afternoon in 2011. The crafty way I had turned the shifty bike seat around in the hopes that it would be easier to ride, the surprising way the blood burst into a strawberry on the center of my knee as the pain hit, the pitiful way my friend followed the blood-covered white frame of my new bike home, the careful way she arranged the mélange of band-aids. I should have known then that it would become a routine part of my commute. There really is nothing like falling off your bike to render you utterly humiliated and dumb with anger and self-hate. It’s truly a modern American classic, a simple one that you too can master with just a few common household ingredients. 

The Bike Accident (1 serving)

1 cheap bike I found my first at Sears.

1 nice outfit Athletic clothes will almost certainly curdle the accident with their inherent promise of exercise competence. For the novice faller, I suggest wide-legged pants or skirts, as free-flowing as they come, which will activate your descent as soon as they mix with the chain. If it’s windy, try an unwieldy hat. Leave your helmet at home.

1 large, nearly empty backpack Persuade yourself to pack light so that nothing will drag you down. Maximum speed.

1 appointment Don’t plan to have an accident unless you’re up against a hard and fast time of arrival in a place where blood and/or grass stains would not be appropriate accessories.

A humid day (80-100%) Easily overlooked, but essential, your metal bike will never be sufficiently gummed up without it. Clear thoughts are also known to take over in the absence of wetness to block the sinuses and interrupt the breathing pattern. An important note: When seeking humidity, avoid rain. It will make you too cautious.

1) On the humid day you plan The Accident, postpone preparations as long as possible, until you are running right up against your appointment. I find my falls especially successful if I’ve fit in a long cardio workout just before my commute. Spending time searching for the perfect nice outfit is another tried and true method. Anything you can do to raise your heart beat and/or stress level before you leave the house is absolutely essential step in building the structural composition of The Accident. If you aren’t stressed, wait a big longer until you are. Perhaps, choose to try a new hairstyle.

2) When you find your heart racing and sweat beading swiftly down your forehead, it’s time to head out the door. Grab your bag without checking the contents, it will help you maintain stress if you have to wonder if you’ve forgotten something. Run to the bike rack and then remember you didn’t lock the door. Quickly, and without precision, run back to the door, fumble through your large, nearly empty bag, find the key, lock the door, return to the bike rack.

3) Mount the cheap bike. Wind all clothing carefully around your body in an aerodynamic manner. It might feel impossible, and it is, but convincing yourself that you’re in control of all your pieces will increase your confidence and, consequently, your proclivity to error. If you’ve chosen to wear wide legged pants, you’ll thank yourself upon reaching the pedals.

4) After a few minutes of rushing, humidity, nice outfit, and large nearly empty bag should be well combined. Begin to ride vigorously. Target a hill if there’s one handy. After a few minutes, the work should begin to feel easy. You should begin to have feelings of pride, for the burden you are lifting off of the environment, for the strength you are pumping into your quadriceps, for the wind in your hair.

5) At the top of a hill or an empty sidewalk, you have some room for improvisation for the moment. Shift up a gear. Pump down first 20 feet faster. Race the car on the street beside you. Feel your clothes whip around you. Smile gloriously as you lose track of the pedals. Now, timing is essential here! When the pavement turns into a blur, grip the handlebars. Ignore stop sign and/or couple with dog. Ignore runner with headphones. Ignore curb. Throttle directly at curb. Break with one hand. Abruptly halt front wheel. Eject self, nice outfit, and large nearly empty bag aggressively off of handlebars at sharp angle.

6) Stare between grass blades listlessly, though not without a certain satisfaction, at the spinning wheels of your mangled bike.

7) Allow yourself to cool down for atleast five minutes before trying to move or speak. Accidents are best treated by icing and/or wrapping within one hour of being taken. Depending on the severity of The Accident, you may need medical attention. If moving is difficult, call out non-threateningly to the nearest pedestrian. Otherwise, dust yourself off and proceed to the nearest bicycle repair shop. I like to choose locally owned bike repairers, if I can. Luckily employment growth for bicycle repairer has been much faster than average in recent years!

Physical and mental damage from The Accident will last for anywhere from one to six weeks if stored in an airtight bandage.

This is a basic recipe, which of course can be adapted to fit your taste and experiences. I have a hunch a portable mp3 player would be a great addition. 

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