A few weeks ago I decided to go swimming before work. The pool opens at 7, so if I get up at 6 I can get a 40 – 45 minute swim in and only be about half an hour later at work than I would usually be. So I’d had my swim and was rolling briskly down towards the station. As always, I was aiming to pull up on the left and walk round the corner to where the station is. As always, there were two lines of traffic queuing for the lights. The traffic cannot turn left here (though I have seen a couple of idiots do it, straight into pedestrians crossing on a green man), so it is quite safe to scoot cautiously down the left hand side of the traffic queue.
Because I was later than usual, the queue was longer than it usually is when I get there, so I was moving left higher up the hill than usual, and probably carrying a bit more speed than sometimes. So as I moved to the left of the rearmost car in the queue, I hit a pothole, which was just the right shape to swallow the small wheel of the Brompton and off I came, ending up in a heap at the side of the road. Fortunately I wasn’t going that fast, and I got away with a hole in the palm of my hand (which bled quite a bit) and a scrape on one knee.
A nice gentleman came and picked me up (well picked the bike up out of the road), but accepted my embarrassed assurances that I was ok. However, something had knocked the rear wheel of the Brompton squint so that it rubbed and wouldn’t turn. I dragged it down to the station and got on a train and then got the little tool set out and managed to sort it enough to cycle for the rest of the day with just some friction… it took rather more faffing at home to get it fixed properly.
The scrape on the palm of my hand took a little while to heal. If I had been wearing gloves, they would have protected my palm, of course. I always wear cycling gloves of some kind on the road bike (or TT bike) for comfort. (Except if I am racing a short-distance triathlon, when time spent putting gloves on is time wasted. Except if it is really cold!) On the Brompton, I wear gloves when it is cold, to keep my hands warm. I did have a search around and found some quite pretty “cycle chic” fingerless gloves with a nice crochet style back. But in the end you wear protective gear because you expect an accident to happen, and I would rather cycle around looking as though I don’t expect an accident to happen. After all I have had the Brompton for 8 years now I think, and that is the first time I have broken skin falling off it. The only other bad fall I have had was this one. Mind you, those gloves are very pretty. Maybe I can get them as a Christmas present….
One thing I did do was report the pothole on “Fill that Hole”. I mentioned that I’d come off my bike as a result of hitting it, and it seemed to get filled rather quickly. Hmmm…