Sunday, May 19, 2013

Woman Down - Upside Down!

On the very last day of Walk and Roll to School Week, I escorted a neighbor child along with my skateboard loving son.

The early morning brisk weather was pure heaven; blue skies meant another day full of parents and children arriving at school by foot-powered transportation.

All was well until I pulled out my camera to shoot footage of both boys in an awesome coast through vacant university paths. The younger neighbor boy is more cautious than my son, so much so that I was caught off guard when he stopped where I least expected him to. With camera in my right hand, I squeezed the left brake to avoid a collision, which of course sent me into an unavoidable left-leaning catapult over the handlebars. Ugh. Front panniers came unhinged upon impact. I let go of the camera, which I'd managed to hold onto during the fall. Lying on my side, I was pinned to the asphalt by the handlebars, my feet still in the toe clips, wheels suspended overhead. I suppose I rather looked like a beetle, momentarily upside down with legs wiggling in the air.

Upon hearing the crash, my son came back immediately to help. I fared well, considering the embarrassing predicament (I've now fallen twice due to taking pictures while on the bike). My head was spared. My boy retrieved the camera (my first concern), said it was okay except for scratches. He lowered the bike while I slowly got up. Somehow I only scraped my palm a bit, however my thigh hurt—bruised for sure—though I could still walk. Quick mechanical assessment revealed the bar end had taken the brunt of impact. It pushed into the brake lever; thumbshifter also rotated. I forced the bar end back into position, which rendered brakes and shifting functionable. I pulled myself together, reattached panniers, and continued to school.

Twenty minutes later I was heading off to work, by then feeling much better. I was, however, silently chastising myself for, once again, placing myself in danger so I could photograph while on the fly. But just then two Canadian geese flew overhead, evidently headed for an open field. I watched them tuck and hold wings in downward position for landing, like two synchronized divers. They honked and—I swear—glanced at each other, possibly conferring on landing location. I laughed. And not only at the geese. The irony of my earlier incident suddenly hit me. I smacked the pavement within 300 yards of the hospital emergency room.

5 comments:

  1. And the camera was your first concern, we are of like minds! Next should be the bike, I think. You must be pretty good at the art of falling.

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    1. Unfortunately, I am good at falling, though I'm not sure that's something I should be proud of. I have this knack for remaining loose, absorbing the fall as opposed to tensing and preventing a fall with arms outstretched. The latter is a perfect way to break a collar bone.

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  2. Glad you weren't hurt any worse. I had a similar experience last week. Camera in right hand shooting a crop duster while slowly braking with left. Was going ok till I hit a small dip in the gravel road. The rear wheel lifted up and I slid off the bike but luckily didn't go "OTB".
    Maybe we should swap the brake levers around. Or do they make a camera with the shutter button on the left?

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  3. I'm not inclined to swap the brake levers, but Velouria does on her transportation bicycles at Lovely Bicycle! I can't recall why she does this, but seeing she's a photographer, that could be her reasoning. I've considered using my tripod more, a flexible one that attaches to the handlebars though I can't see myself riding around with it in front of me like a beacon. I'm more inclined to rethink the strap system on my camera. Currently it has a flimsy loop strap. If I replace it with a stronger cording, I could drop the camera without a care and grab both brake levers. At any rate, I consider both accidents a wake up call.

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    1. I just had another thought. It's possible to shoot pictures with the left hand by holding the camera upside down. It would take some getting used to but most picture software has the ability to flip or rotate the pictures afterward.

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