Friday, 6 January 2012

Well that didn't take long...

Wasn't much like this at all, really.
I've just had my first crash in as long as I can remember, probably more than ten or fifteen years. Not coincidentally, it occurred less than a hundred yards after I set out to get used to my new SPDs.

I was very well prepared. I'd read useful guides. I'd watched videos on installing and riding with cleats. I'd sat on the kitchen table dangling my feet to make sure I got the cleats properly aligned. I was ready. That may have been part of the problem. I was feeling sort of cocky as I walked out the door, I'd used SPDs a few years ago with no problem at all, so a part of me was expecting to just click in and go. Another little voice in my head was saying that thoughts like that were asking for trouble.

I had a few initial teething troubles clipping in, my feet repeatedly scuffed over the fronts of the pedals as I wobbled along the road, until finally I engaged with each pedal with a satisfying clunk. Phase one accomplished. I pushed down gently and rolled neatly up to the t-junction at the end of the road, where I effortlessly flicked my right heel and popped my foor out of the pedal, just the way you're supposed too. Instead of pulling to a halt, however, I noticed that there was no traffic and decided to just carry on, rolling out of the junction in a smooth left turn, whereupon my wheels slid out from under me and I was dumped onto the tarmac.

Had I been going a bit faster the slide would probably have looked quite dramatic, but even at low speed the impact was enough to set all the bones down my left side humming like tuning forks. At this point an adorable little black cat with a big round face and a conversational meow trotted offer and let e scratch behind his ears while I got my breath back and waited for things to start seriously hurting. After a few seconds I was relieved to realise that they weren't going to, and I turned my attention to the Purple Peril. His eyecatching blue bar tape was in a rotten state and the left brake lever was now pointing accusingly at the right one. Again, no major harm done.

I wheeled the bike back home and had the brakes and tapes back in the proper place within twenty minutes. My elbow, which took the brunt of the landing, had to spend the afternoon nestled in a bag of frozen peas (doubly annoying, as I was going to have them with a Shepherds Pie today). What became of the cat, I don't know, but if I see him again he's getting a Salmon stick and some ear tickling.

The funny thing is, it wasn't your traditional new-SPD crash, in as much as I didn't pull to halt, find my feet inextricably welded to the pedals, and topple over sideways. In all honesty, it happened so quickly I couldn't figure out what had caused it, although I'm sure being clipped in on one side and loose on the other must have been a factor.

So, tomorrow I shall have another, less cocky practice with my new SPDs. Only this time I'll wheel the bike to a nice, soft, grassy park first.

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