Sunday afternoon, I finished all my homework early. I wanted to have a nice long workout, and I debated going for a bike ride or going for a swim. It was a really nice day, so I decided to go for a bike ride.
I should have gone for a swim.
About 32 miles into my ride, I was coming back towards the Marina near LAX, when a pair of tourists decided that they should cross the bike path in order to get down to the beach.
Bikers have the right of way on this path, but it’s not terribly well-marked so you get a lot of idiots meandering across it and causing all sorts of problems.
I saw them going at a speed that would cause me to run into them, so I rang my bell at them and then shouted when that didn’t seem to budge them. They sped up imperceptibly, causing me to have to swerve around them.
I swerved right onto what turned out to be more sand than I thought, and I lost traction completely. I was probably going about 15-16 miles an hour, and I ate it hard right onto the concrete bike path.
I was down for a few seconds after it happened, and several bystanders rushed over to ask if I was all right. I was definitely a little dazed, but I also definitely noticed that the idiot/asshole tourists just kept on walking towards the beach, not even caring that they made me crash.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it now with significantly more vehemence: Fucking tourists.
I was very, very glad I was wearing a helmet – my brain would have been splattered on the concrete if I hadn’t been. All in all, I’m pretty lucky – I could have done much more serious damage to my head and could have really fucked up my shoulder if I’d landed a little differently.
I’m still pretty banged up. Almost all my weight came down on my left arm and my left leg, causing some really awesome road rash on the former and since I carry my phone in my left front pocket, shattering my phone and leaving the biggest, nastiest bruise I’ve ever had (more on that later).
I wasn’t anywhere near a place where someone could come pick me up easily, and my bike was too jacked up to ride, so I started walking with the bike towards the Marina.
As I did, I figured out that although the screen was shattered and the LCD was shot, I could make phone calls using the voice command feature on my phone, and about 1/10 of the time manage to swipe frantically enough at the shattered glass to answer incoming calls.
After lots and lots of phone calls and about three miles of walking, I walked into an ER in Marina del Rey, where I was promptly informed there was a 6-8 hour wait.
Luckily, my friend Jessica, who is my new hero, called me back right then and after I was miraculously able to answer the phone, she offered to come rescue me and my bike, which was pretty much the best timing ever.
We took my bike home, making a pit stop at Carl’s Jr. on the way since I was ravenously hungry. I’d basically biked off about 2500 calories before I crashed, then walked for an hour after the crash.
We then went to UCLA medical center, where the wait was only 2.5 hours, which seemed so much more civilized. Gotta love the ER theory of relativity.
The ER docs determined that since I didn’t have a headache and that eating a Western Bacon Cheeseburger made me feel better and not worse, I didn’t need a CAT scan, and gave me a metric ton of antibiotic ointment for all my road rash.
Jessica dropped me off around 11:30, and I noticed just before I went to bed that where my phone had hit, the bruise hadn’t formed yet, but there was a big swollen lump about the size of a baseball. “That’s going to get ugly,” I thought.
It’s now a bruise the size of an appetizer plate, and about 15 different shades of purple. I do not bruise easily – a spot on my right leg where it’d hit the pedal hard enough to leave an outline of where it hit is barely discolored – so for me to have a bruise this gnarly is something of an accomplishment.
The bruise is still warm to the touch, which I suspect means it’s still not done forming. I put the over/under on how long it’s going to take to dissipate at 2 months, and so far, anyone who’s seen it in person has taken the over.
I managed to get the phone fixed for about $150 and was back up and running on Monday. If you’re in LA and you bust your iPhone, the guy at LAiPhoneRepair.com is the man.
The bike’s still at the shop – I was due for a warranty tune-up so that will probably take at least some of the sting out of it, but they’re going to have to clean about four tons of sand out of the chain, gears, and brakes, not to mention all the damage done to same by the actual crash. I’ll be stunned if I get out of that for under $200.
Plus my $100 ER copay plus whatever else UCLAMC decides to ding me for (I’m sure that big pile of what’s essentially Neosporin will wind up costing me about $45), plus having to buy a new helmet because they’re really only designed for one good hit, and the total cost of crashing my bike will come in somewhere between $300-500, probably.
I’m extremely glad this was more of a fiscal misadventure than a medical one, but still: Fucking tourists.
Addendum: This is apparently Bad Bike week for everyone I know. I had two friends have bikes stolen (one off a second floor balcony, apparently by Spider-Man), I crashed, Lindsay crashed – Seriously, if you know me, lock your bike up tight and then stay the hell away from it.