My first big fall happened whilst moving at almost no miles an hour, on a pavement, with no-one around. My friend Joe and I were cycling to his home in Reading so had just set off on our epic adventure early in the morning. My bike was newish and I was itching to give it a trial run on a long ride. I was having one of those monthly spacially unaware days (women, you know what I mean) and as I cycled around a little bollard thingy on the pavement at a dead end road with no cars or pedestrians, I just went a little too slowly to stay upright. Something about my spacial unawareness made me totally unable to cope with the situation at hand and I just wobbled slowly toward the bollard, crashed the front wheel sideways into it and fell on the ground. The brake was broken for the whole ride and I grazed my leg.
The next falls were all after I’d had different pedals fitted and had started wearing cleats, shoes that have little blocks on them which click into a space on your pedals. The fall I had whilst cycling in the busy centre of London was because I hadn’t yet worked out how to get out of them while moving slowly uphill. It’s harder than you think because of your weight being on them. So as I got to a red traffic light, I couldn’t unclip and I fell, in front of the dozens of people waiting to cross the road and looking uncertainly at me to see if I’d stop and let them across. I was going no miles an hour. There were no cars. There was no almost-collision. I just went slower, slower, slower, right down to a halt, then fell off on to the ground. The handle bar turned sideways and stabbed me in the boob so I had a bruised boob for weeks afterward. And people really looked strangely at me. Someone hurried over and asked if I needed help but I just brushed her off, rather gruffly and stalked off, pushing the bike, mega embarrassed.
The next fall was similar to this. I was cycling slowly uphill so couldn’t unclip and was cycling with a friend who had looked down to adjust his gears and drifted sideways into my path. I braked, a natural reaction to stop the inevitable crash. But I hadn’t unclipped. So I fell in the opposite direction and really bashed up my legs, hitting the curb. My friend didn’t even realise any of what had happened. He just looked down to change his gear then looked up and I’d fallen on the ground.
Another time I had a plastic bag with some stuff in but I had a new bike with very short handlebars. As I turned a corner, the bag swung into the spokes and stopped my wheel dead. I tried pushing down on the pedals to keep moving but I ground to a halt then fell sideways into the road. To onlookers it must have looked very stupid. I turned a corner, stopped, then crashed to the floor. Again, no-one was around, no cars, no pedestrians. Nothing had jumped into my path. I just fell on the ground.
Maybe this is why I am not the world famous sporting star you probably all expect I should be by now.