I wish I could say that it occurred due to an amazing feat of defensive cycling on my part, resulting in a narrow escape from death by motor vehicle due only to my stunning coordination and lightening reflexes. Alas, the truth of the matter is that it was entirely due to my own stupidity with ne'er another soul in sight. But, I may be able to lay just a little blame with the ukulele.
March 13th, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is playing at the Perth Concert Hall. This is their first trip to Australia in the quarter of a century they've been together and I never dreamt I would get to see them 'live'. Not only have I got 'Reserve A' tickets, but, miracle of miracle, I've found three
I challenge anyone to listen to the whole clip without smiling and bobbing along. Although 24-carat geek, it's strangely compelling. In the dark, safe from public ridicule, I was not only singing along tunelessly, but, also tapping my fingers on the brake-hoods and my feet on the pedals, and generally swaying to the beat. All of which may not sound very wise, but, trust me, things were under control. That is until I 'blissed out'. You know those moments in life when everything is sweetly delicious and you have a toe-wriggling sense of wellbeing. Unfortunately, as well as wriggling my toes with bliss I have the tendency to shut my eyes to savour the moment. I opened them just as I hit a steep kerb, giving me 20/20 appreciation of the view as I sailed over the handlebars.
I find it very reassuring that, after all these years, my first instinct was to tuck in limbs and head and land on a well-padded bit of body (spoilt for choice in my case); especially as I was flaunting WA's helmet laws and cycling in my favourite summer cap (umm, and headphones). What was less gratifying was the total lack of 'bounce'. As a teenager, sailing off the bike resulted in language that mother would have disapproved of, leaping to my feet and pedalling off. As a forty-six year-old it takes a good deal of cajoling to convince yourself to move. The sensible course of action seems to be to stay exactly where you landed, have a little snooze and deal with the consequences later.
I was alarmed to find my vision blurred and my thoughts ran to concussion, a slow bleed to the brain and, if I'm honest, my body lying pale and lifeless with tubes and leads attached, and a grave-faced doctor stating there was nothing more they could do. I realised I didn't have a headache at about the same time I spotted my glasses where they had landed three feet away. With my vision restored, I played a complicated version of the game 'Matchsticks' where I tried to pick which limb to disentangle from the bike frame without making anything else ache.
The dear, old Surly got off as lightly as 'yours truly', landing the non-derailleur side. A teensy bit of paint scraped off the pedal and the trailer connection and a scuff to the handlebar tape, that I've all but polished out, was the sum total of the damage. This was due in no small part to my panniers being stuffed to the gills with rain-gear, a warm jacket and lashings of knitting. The green 8-ply jumper I've nearly finished will, hereafter, be thought of as the woolly that saved the Surly!
Comments are always lovely to receive, however, if you feel inclined could I please request you refrain from mentioning the following, of which I am well aware:
1. I'm a blithering idiot!
2. I should have been wearing a helmet.
3. I shouldn't have been wearing headphones.
4. It's not the coolest thing to admit to liking the ukulele.
5. There is nothing lady-like about lying in a crumpled heap on the roadside.
6. At my age I should know better!