Bikes, banter, breeze, brew…but safety first

Stephen Ly

Posted July 8, 2019

It’s 6am on a Sunday morning. It’s 20 degrees already and the sun is shining. I’m on my way to Punchbowl to join the Sydney Muslim Cycling club for their charity ride in support of the Christchurch shootings. I’m feeling great, excited to meet some new riders and a nice easy ride.

We all head off, two riders abreast with a support car in tow. How good is that, a support car! I feel like I’m in the Tour de France, except for the fact I am navigating the streets of south-western Sydney. A hotted up Lancer zooms past us and gives us a beep. Not sure in support or in anger.

As we’re cruising, I’m thinking this is exactly why I love to ride my bike. Bikes, banter, breeze and the promise of a brew.

We approach Brighton and a call comes out “pot holes under the bridge!” from behind. I call out in front to warn the others. Then boom! All of a sudden I’m flying over my handlebars. I’m that idiot that went over the pot hole. It happened so quickly yet so slowly. I remember being mid-air and everything going slow mo. My first thought was, “My wife is going to kill me!”. Then everything sped up as I hit the deck, sliding to the shoulder of the road followed by the some loud bangs and clangs of my bike, mimicking my ungraceful gymnastics routine.

As I came to a stop, I immediately sat up and lucky for me, quickly attended by Dr Tamer (who is a bloody legend BTW, thanks Doc!) from SMC who was riding behind me. Dr Tamer ran through the motions of checking of concussion or serious injuries and I was in a world of pain but all I could think about was, “what do I tell my wife?”

While my amazing wife supports me riding, she hates me riding and is constantly worried until I come home. Every time a cycling incident is in the news, she looks at me and says “see!”. I knew having my first crash, she wouldn’t let me ride again, especially with our second bubba due in less than 2 months. Bikes, banter, breeze and a brew, never again!

I ran through every scenario and detail on how I could downplay it. The old “I fell off at the lights because I was clipped in” wouldn’t cut it here given the blood from the road rash all over my left side and bent front wheel. Within minutes, Dr Tamer cleared me of any serious injuries saying I was a lucky bastard. Phew! That will help with the wife. Though I had to ride to the cafe down the road where the support vehicle was. As I rode the 3 mins to the cafe, again, all I thought about was how I was going to break the news to my wife. I arrived and immediately reach for my phone and decided on… “I had a small crash haha nothing serious, be home soon. Love you”. Almost immediately I got a reply “Oh no. Hope you’re OK. See you soon. Love you too”. Uh oh, is she mad? Damn, I’m going to have to sell this bike I’ve just built up. No more rides for me. I jumped in the support vehicle and headed home.

I get home and decided that I’d tell her everything about the crash. I wasn’t going to be allowed to ride again anyway! She looks at me and says, “That looks nasty!” pointing to my bloodied left side. I tell her exactly how it all happened and expecting her to say, “I don’t want you riding anymore”. To my surprise, she laughs and says “ouch, you’re an idiot”, takes a few photos and walks off. I take this as a win, I’m allowed to ride! I guess she knows how much bikes, banter, breeze and a brew mean to me.

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