Going Over the Handlebars

If you bike a lot, you’ve probably done it. The Gotham Gal did it last weekend. Once I did it at Sixth Avenue and 19th Street in order to avoid getting hit by a van.

You slam on the brakes and its like slow motion. You know you are going over but you can’t stop it. And then thud! You’ve gone over the handle bars.

It’s never fun to go over the handle bars, but its even worse when you are clipped in as I normally am on the mountain bike I use to navigate the potholes and cobblestones here in NYC.

Today I was riding up the west side to the George Washington Bridge. It’s a route I’ve done at least a 100 times. The stretch along Riverside Park between 80th and 90th street is particularly beautiful. It’s a promenade that was probably built 50 years ago. It’s wide with two walkways and a grass divider in between. It’s a lovely stretch of the ride but I hate it because there’s a dog run there and the dog owners always leave their dogs off of their leashes on the way to and from the park.

I hadn’t done this ride in several weeks and had forgotten about the particular risks of that stretch today. I was in the zone and had just come up a big hill and was cruising. All of a sudden a little shetland sheepdog came running right in front of me headed over to make friends with some other dog.

I slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting the dog. And there I went. Slow motion. Headed over the handlebars. But somehow I managed to clip out of my right pedal and I leaned back hard and was able to put my right leg down. I didn’t go over.

My heart had been racing from the hill I just went up, but it was racing twice as fast from the fear I had just experienced.

I clipped back in and started going north again. I felt like I had cheated fate.