Monday, 7 June 2010

The call

It's an irony that I always nag OH to take his mobile with him when he goes out for a bike ride, and yet it's the thing I least want him to use. I dread the sound of the familiar OH ringtone when he's meant to be cycling - it's never going to be a good sign. If I'm lucky, it's just a call to say that he's got a puncture, and please can I drive 25 miles to come and pick him up from some layby in the middle of nowhere. If we're not so lucky it's the kind of call I got this weekend.

Actually, I had a funny feeling that something was wrong. I'd been down to the local DIY store, sussing out paint tester pots for our hall stairs and landing (the next DIY projet) when I realised that OH had been gone ages, way longer than he should have been. I even got my phone out of my handbag and set it on the table beside me, so that I wouldn't miss it when he called. Sure enough, he did. Please could I come and collect him from under the motorway bridge? Why, I ask, almost afraid to do so. I've come off my bike, he says. My stomach drops away from itself. What the hell do you mean? I yell, not meaning to sound angry and yet finding myself annoyed that he is not telling me quickly enough what has happened. He sounds drowsy, a bit slow to respond to my questions. This makes me feel worse.

But he is talking at least, I reassure myself. I'll be there in one minute, I shout, wishing that were actually true - that the approximate 6 minutes it will take me to get there would shrink into mini-minutes. As I'm driving to get him, the same thoughts are going round and round in my head. What's happened? Has he broken anything? Will we be going to the hospital? I get irrational road rage at the biddy in the car in front of me who is driving too slowly - admittedly she was driving at the speed limit - but today this is too slow for me. Suddenly though I see the ambulance too soon, his bike propped up against a post, OH not to be seen. I park up, and creep up to the ambulance. They open the door and let me in and I can see him - he's ok, he's ok, thank god.

Well, I say that, but considering he only has what he is calling "flesh wounds", he's in a pretty poor state. His eyes are blackened and red raw, all of his bony extremities are covered in bright red open grazes. His cycling top has been scratched open, revealing bloody cuts and the largest area of road rash I have ever seen. The purpling bruises on his butt cheeks are already coming out - he looks like he has gone six rounds with Rocky - but thankfully this is about the extent of it. No broken bones, and as yet anyway, no more sinister injuries. So I suppose we need to consider ourselves lucky.

But how did this happen? Some shirt-less divvy pulling out onto an island (when OH had the right of way) and then, instead of going, he stopped directly in OH's path. So either OH could have driven into the car, or did what he did, which was brake hard and go head first over his handlebars. I cannot believe what a big advocate I am now of the cycling helmet. The one he was wearing is totally mashed - it would however have been a different story had he not been wearing it. If (by some miracle) I ever get on a bike, I will wear one no matter what the after effects on my hair.

Perhaps more scarily though is the fact that the paramedic man couldn't believe that OH had never been involved in a cycling accident before now (well, he did need paramaedic treatment once before - but that was from a crazy man who got out of his car and punched OH in the face because he must have gotten in his lane at the island - but that's another story). It makes me terrified of what could happen to him. You just can't control what everyone else does and that's the worrying bit.

I begged him afterwards to only cycle on a track and to stop going on the roads when he's in training. Of course he won't. There's a race this weekend and no amount of girl-crying, emotional blackmail or pleading will stop him competing. He's already been back out on the bike to 'make sure it's ok' - you can imagine that more of his concern was for the TT bike than for himself - but it's now had a thorough pit stop and you'll be pleased to know it's fine. What a relief. If only I could say the same about OH. I don't know how he's going to finish the race this Sunday with his bruises - he'll have to do all of the cycling standing up.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my God. I don't know if it's because I actually know you, but this was proper edge of seat stuff... I was on the edge of my seat (as I said), biting my nails, going - ohmygodohmygodsayhesOKsayhesOK...