So, after a very long and stressful day on Wednesday I was cycling home at c8pm, thinking merrily to myself "I'm glad I'm cycling - I won't feel as stressed when I get home and I'd probably feel even more stressed if I'd tubed it". Then there was a white van parked across both cycle lanes. And these aren't cycle lanes on the road, it's where the pavement has been divided in half and half is for cycles and half for pedestrians so he'd actually pulled up the kerb to park. I checked, no pedestrians, so I pulled out around the van, not noticing a mini kerb type thing between the cycle way and the pavement. I hit it obliquely at some speed - and down I went. I lay there, dazed for a few moments as a nearby cyclist dashed to my rescue. I'd ripped through my top to rip into my elbow and my knee hurt. I wobbled upright gingerly - no, I didn't appear to have broken anything or even sprained anything, phew. The cyclist propped me against a fence and sloshed some water over my elbow. I felt okay. I peered at my elbow which looked like raw mince. Then the world tilted upside down and my vision fractured and blurred into a million spots and I almost went down again. I walked slowly along the cycle way, pushing my bike and squinting to see. I rang bf who was just leaving work and he volunteered to meet me at a nearby station to assess damage to me and the bike and work out what to do. Then the pain hit. I could feel my knee stiffening and my elbow felt on fire - as if I were being flayed by stinging nettles. But I could mostly see again. I got on my bike and slowly pedalled to the meeting point. Bf checked me and checked the bike; it was getting dark (I have no lights and my reflectors had just smashed) and it was about to rain. We debated what to do and I got back on the bike and rode it home (about 3 miles) whilst he hopped back on the train and met me in the basement to bend the mudguard away from my wheel, lock it up safely and carry my panniers in for me.
I found some spray for 'minor grazes' in the cupboard and got bf to spray my elbow. The pain changed from stinging nettles to red hot whip lashes. I screamed and writhed about a bit like a baby and then bf dressed my arm. I considered my look for the wedding the next day - I had a very short sleeve jacket - bad because you'd see the mess of the dressing, good because there'd be no material to irritate my wound. And you try applying fake tan to legs around a bruise and graze site....
The wedding was lovely - sincere and full of love and hope and joy. My friend looked radiant and glamorous, her husband looked proud and handsome. I am not good with a room full of people who I am convinced do not want to talk to anyone as dull as me but I knew a couple of people who I enjoyed speaking to and when they left managed to talk to other very drunk people. I didn't drink or eat much at all, strangely. I argued with a man who was convinced I was Scottish. Or Irish. Or maybe Welsh. I am not. I am English, I told him, very boring but true. Ah, he said, if you go back a generation or two THEN you'll have Scottish blood. Or Irish. Or possibly Welsh. No, I told him firmly, we can trace back to c12th Century and it's English all the way. He muttered and didn't believe me - was I sure? Maybe French?(!) I have (very) fair skin, red hair and blue eyes but I'm English - deal with it. If I had a merest drop of Celtic blood I would be singing it from the rooftops. French blood on my father's side whose family came over in the Norman Invasion (so family legend says) - that speck of blood was probably lost in the cycle accident and not the direct cause of my colouring (I've never thought of the French as being redheads in any case).
Then this morning I removed the dressing as I could see the wound was all sticky underneath. The pain! It throbbed and stung all the drive home. I got out of the car, moved my arm and the wound cracked into welts of red hot pain. Bf re-dressed it (this is hard as it's too big for a dressing - you know me, I don't do anything by halves) and it hurt so badly I just sat and held it (gingerly - ha ha) and cried a bit. It stings all the time and then I get little bursts of pain like electrical shocks every now and again.
Has it put me off cycling? Absolutely not. I am annoyed it happened, I am furious at the selfishness of the van, I am irritated that I wrecked a very useful top. But I am lucky - I did not fall into the road where traffic could have hit me, a fellow cyclist was very kind, my bike is not very damaged (the handlebars are a bit knackered where the rubber's ripped which upsets me but otherwise seems okay), I did not break anything, I was not so hurt that I missed my friend's wedding, my top by ripping did protect my arm a little - at least I was not wearing a short sleeved t-shirt and my cycle gloves protected my hand. I even thought of cycling the 2.5 miles to the supermarket this afternoon to get something for dinner (bf looked incredulous in a hungover sort of way). I'd like to do this but I accept that my arm is not up to it and I fear coming off again at the moment. I may even be a wuss and go to a walk in centre and get them to take a look and reassure me that the pain is just normal and has to be put up with - and ideally dress it properly for me. And I can walk just fine with my bruised, swollen and grazed knee - I will be fine to walk in the New Forest and Wales (although hauling wet and unco-operative labradors over wired up stiles may be more of a challenge than usual).