Monday, December 21, 2009

C4C (Cities for Cycling)

From their site:
Cities for Cycling is a project of the National Association of City Transportation Officials to catalog, promote and implement the world’s best bicycle transportation practices in American municipalities.

Took a quick whirl through, and the site is resource-rich.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Engine That Fixes Itself

For all the time we spend tinkering with & fixing bikes, in the end, they are just the linkage between the engine and the road. The engine is out of our purview. But it's just as well, because the engine has an astounding ability to fix itself.

A week before Thanksgiving, I had my worst bike accident ever. I was riding on Colorado Ave. in SoDo, between Home Depot and the rail yard. It was dawn; the light was dim. It had been raining heavily over the past few days. My front wheel went into a pothole that, filled with water as it was, I didn't even realize was a pothole. It turns out it was very deep, with a near-vertical far edge. The wheel went sideways one way, I went sideways the other way, and I ended up skidding on gravel- and rock-covered pavement, with all my weight on my knee.

After I'd determined there were no broken bones, I got on the bike and rode the rest of the way to work. There, I tried to clean out my knee as best I could. It just kept bleeding and bleeding. I started thinking of blood in terms of volume. When I finally got up the nerve to look at the wound directly, I saw the knee was torn open, and there were pieces of flesh missing.

I don't know why, but I was determined not to go to the ER. I worked as long as I could, then went home to start taking care of the wound properly. I repeatedly bathed it with alcohol, and bound it up with antibiotic-packed dressings. After a couple of days the bleeding was down to seepage, and a scab had begun to form. My family doc looked at it the day before Thanksgiving, when I had fortuitously scheduled my annual checkup. He said it was too late to do anything but let it heal by itself. He didn't see any sign of infection.

Now, a month later, the wound is almost completely healed. My body is struggling to create the last patch of skin, about 3cm X 3cm. I've been riding the trainer steadily and aggressively, and my knee is fully functional. And although my cats were following me around the first few days, licking their chops, they've given up on the idea of taking down the weak member of the herd.

I know this injury is nothing compared to some of the ones you guys have endured (e.g., Kevin's RAMROD crash, and his encounter with the angel). But still, it was a big and scary thing for me. But I'm astounded at the way my body rallied, fought infection, and knitted itself back together.