I had my first real bicycling injury in a long, long time, today. After working at the OLPC HQ, a bunch of people were going to a Vegan restaurant. I told them I’d bike and meet them there. Instead, on the Boston side of the BU bridge, I found a hole.
I was riding on the sidewalk, to avoid cars. The sidewalk on the Boston side of the bridge is under construction, and there is a large section that has not yet gotten its final layer of concrete. This section was marked by orange barrels and caution tape, but someone had moved aside one of the barriers, and in the dark I could not see the drop. I landed on my hands and knees, mostly on my left side due to the placement of the bicycle. I was lucky to have only scrapes; even my laptop in my backpack was unharmed. But my minor injuries are not nearly as interesting as my response.
My “fight or flight” reaction worked fairly well; I immediately got up, checked myself for damage, noted that my glasses had not come off, assured a few concerned strangers that it could have been a lot worse, and started walking my bike, trying to figure out what to do next, now that I was sort of bleeding.
Within 30 seconds I was mostly deaf, my hearing muted and replaced by a loud high-frequency buzz. In another 15 seconds I was nearly blind, and so out of balance that I collapsed on the island in the middle of the street, half-under my bicycle and ignored by a crowd of uninterested passersby. Delirious, I took out my cell phone and considered dialing 911.
One stranger happened to be a EMT. He stopped to ask me questions, and I gradually regained my senses enough to convince him that I was alright. I checked my balance with an aerial 360, which worked out pretty well. I felt almost normal, except for the strange headache just behind my ears. When that faded I got back on my bike, making sure not to get any blood on my handlebars, and rode to the restaurant in Allston, where I cleaned up with soap and water.
Dinner was excellent, much better than expected for vegan fare. After I got home I went to CVS and got some bandages. I’ve employed my usual cloth-tape construction, which is quite effective but makes bandages look big, ugly, and menacing. The Biophysics department retreat starts in less than 8 hours. I’ll probably get to tell this story many times.