Lesson’s Learned from Toe Clips and a Face Plant

bikefallSeveral years ago, my wife gave me a pair of bicycle toe clips for Christmas. I thought it was because she loved me. I will never forget my first ride. I felt like a sleeping cow at a high school senior party. I tipped over five times.

For the uninformed, toe clips attach your foot to the pedals FOREVER! Oh, they say you can get out, but it’s a lie. You can only get out if you are sitting quietly on the bike in the bike shop. In real life you can’t get out of the clips.

If you have any doubt about the panic this causes, have a friend nail your feet to a skateboard and then shove you sideways. Hurts doesn’t it? Now have your friend do this in traffic.

You are never moving very fast when you fall because it only happens when you start and stop. That means at stop signs and intersections, where people and cars congregate. At one point I found myself lying upside down in the middle of an intersection.

Traffic came to a dead stop. Honking horns. Incredulous stares. Finally the cars just slowly made their way around me. With my skin-tight pants, colorful helmet, glittering chrome bike, and
blood all in mashed into one neat little package of squirming humiliation, I must have looked like some pathetic form of techno-road kill.

I finally almost made it home when I saw friends walking along the road. I prayed they wouldn’t recognize me, but no, they called my name. I applied the brakes, stopped beside them and then slowly tipped over at their feet. It made for good conversation. That is if “please help me” is considered good conversation.

Since I always try to draw some practical lesson from my experiences, here is what I have come up with.

  1. If your wife gives you bike clips, find a private investigator and double check to see if she has taken out a huge insurance policy on your life.
  2. If you decide to ride with bike clips, start on a downhill slope and don’t stop. If you stop, you will fall.
  3. Do the entire ride in seclusion!

Several friends told me to try again. They said it gets easier. I showed up at their house… with a hammer, some nails and a skate board. But they were right. After several falls and a plethora of bruises I now can start, ride and stop without falling.

[reminder]I would love to hear the stories of your challenges when trying something new.  Did you stick with it?[/reminder]