Sunday, July 26, 2009

Initiation complete

First cycling injuries
Oliver shows off his injuries.

Yesterday Oliver went through a rite of passage for all off-road cyclists. He had his first big crash.

He hasn't encountered many downhills on his pedal bike before, but on yesterday's otherwise pancake-flat excursion along the Middlewood Way, he rode down a slope from a disused railway platform and lost control.

It wasn't really that big a slope, but I think he picked up speed more than he expected and could see people potentially in his stopping zone at the bottom. Either way, he was too frozen in fear to remember to to pull on his brakes (which he didn't have on his balance bike) and instead went into a series of ever more violent swerves as his front-wheel went left and right. Eventually he went right over the handlebars, landing on his knee, elbow and face! Although he had a helmet on, it isn't a full-face affair and he smacked his nose in the gravel.

After the initial understandable shock and tears, he got straight back on his bike and rode on. I couldn't have been more proud of my brave little boy.

He had another much smaller tumble later but rode all the way to the end, with the exception of the same railway platform on the way back where he chose to walk down the far end of the platform rather than risk another incident (as once again some of our party where waiting in his stopping zone). Probably a good call.

While Oliver rode I was on foot with a friend whose son and daughter were also cycling along with Oliver. For us it was a brisk walk to keep up with the occasional short sprint to avoid possible collisions or tumbles. That section of the Middlewood Way is good for new riders but not ideal, as much of its length has a water-filled ditch just to the side, so there was occasionally the possibility of a watery crash come splash.

Nonetheless it was a pretty nice way to spend a summer's afternoon. We even stopped at our turning-back point (Middlewood railway station) and enjoyed an apple each, after which the kids chased each other with pieces of long grass, trying to tickle each other.

After we had finished the ride, Oliver and I went to a little park and playground nearby where he enjoyed the climbing apparatus, slide and swings (where he befriended a six year old girl).


After that we headed home. Once in bed, the little man fell asleep pretty quickly after his exertions, leaving me to go downstairs and watch the heroics of the riders in the Tour de France on the infamous Mont Ventoux stage. But despite the efforts of Contador, Armstrong and Schleck, there was only one rider this weekend to whom I gave a hearty "Chapeau!". Oliver, you are officially a fully initiated off-road cyclist.


James (SeattleDad) said...

Good that he is ok. And he is wearing that like a badge of honor. Great that he could jump right back on. Way to go Oliver.

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