I usually go with the latter option because I avoid a traffic light and there's far less congestion. But since it was Bike To Work Day, I wanted to be the epitome of the law-abiding biker and went with option No. 1. The street I took (61st) is fairly narrow and lined on both sides with parked cars, leaving space for one-way traffic in the middle.
Behind me were at least seven or eight cars, with a yellow cab leading the charge. I quickly looked over my right shoulder to see whether the cab driver was going to try and pass me or if I had space to position myself safely in the middle of the road. I turned back around and two seconds later I slammed head-on into the door of a passenger van that had just been flung open.
For a split second, I thought I was OK. I'd instinctively taken my left hand off the handlebar to avoid crushing it but that meant I had only one hand left steadying the bike and the impact of the door sent me veering right into oncoming traffic. I heard the cab's brakes squeal and his horn blaring but he didn't have enough space to come to a complete stop. He T-boned me on my right side and knocked me onto his hood.
When I got hit by a car last month, I returned to my apartment and decided to work from home. I spent about two hours at my computer before the pain in my pelvis and legs started to burn to life and I realized I needed to see a doctor.
This time around, it wasn't the physical pain that took a while to manifest itself but the mental strain of what had happened and what might have happened if that cab hadn't braked or had been going any faster.
I told a coworker what happened a couple of hours after I'd started working and all of the sudden I couldn't keep my hands from shaking. So I sought refuge in the only place I could think of. And let me tell you—I've never felt more wimpy as I did sitting alone in a bathroom stall trying to calm myself down with the whole "breathe in, breathe out" exercise.
I'm sure plenty of you can relate. I have friends who've had bones broken, bikes totaled and their skin splayed open like cuts of meat from accidents. It can always be worse. It's no reason to stop doing what you love, right?
I decided to bike home after work just to get the jitters out and everything went pretty smoothly. I exited the bridge back in Queens and usually that's the point of my commute when I completely relax. After all my peppiness , the day hadn't been as great as I'd hoped. But home was close and I couldn't wait to shower and give Lil Blue and myself a much-deserved break.
That was until this happened:
I hate to be a downer, especially since Friday was such a great day for bikers. Hopefully there will be even more commuters out there on Monday. Despite everything that went down and the fact that I didn't touch my bike all weekend long, I know I'm not ready to pack it in yet. And I truly hope my misfortunes don't make any of you to second guess whether you should start cycling. I know loads of people who manage to do it without any mishaps.
After this month, I still don't really believe in superstitions. But do any of you ever feel like the world is trying to drop hints that it's time for you to slow down? I hope this bike-free weekend was enough of a break and that I'll have a hassle-free commute next week.
And as for Bike To Work Day 2012?
Errr...I think I might be taking the train.
PS: Thanks for your tweets, messages and words of encouragement! They mean(t) a lot.