I’m not complaining about Covid, we’ve all been dealing with it. It has changed us all, and it isn’t on anyone’s list of fun trends. Any child care jobs I had that were cancelled for Covid, no different than anyone else’s. The pandemic hit people hard, in many different ways.
I had a sweet summer gig lined up guiding bikepacking trips. The job involved long bike rides, cooking, and meeting new people. Unfortunately, our premier wanted to help his friends open some coal mines, and our provincial government closed the campgrounds that the tour operator was intending to use.
Not one to sit on my hands, I took a job as a mechanic at a local shop. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it. Customers come in with all sorts of bikes, and often, they push the bike in, and ride it away. That’s a win.
With work and Covid slowing down the opportunities to ride bikes and sleep outside, I was especially looking forward to a few of the bikerafting trips I had lined up. The seclusion of wilderness bikerafting is always fun, but this year is has been that much more practical in an age of distancing.
On June 18, on my way to work, I came to an intersection, checked left and right for people running the stop sign, checked forward for anyone turning left, and, since the approaching driver was going so fast that they couldn’t be turning, and the turn signals were off, I proceeded straight.
I was more than halfway through the intersection when she turned left into me, hitting me with her car.
Just 3 week before, Cory Meza, a co-worker, the guy at work who was everyone’s favourite, was killed by a driver turning left. The folks in the shop were still reeling from the loss.
I got away pretty easy, broken arm, sprained wrist, spinal injury, assorted torn muscles, ligaments, and tendons, all stuff that will hopefully eventually heal as I continue to work at it. Meanwhile, at the scene of the crash, I was lying on the road trying to breathe, my. chest feeling like it had been caved in, trying to decide what hurt the most and what might be broken, ruptured, or otherwise seriously injured.
Other people arrived, it is a popular intersection, and I was lying in the middle of it. Someone called an ambulance. I heard the person who hit me explain that she hadn’t looked because, “there isn’t usually anyone in this intersection.”
The paramedics and police arrived. The woman who hit me started shoving a piece of cardboard and a pen at me to get my contact information, “in case my car needs to go to the autobody shop to get fixed.” First off, I could only bleed on the paper, not write my contact info. Second, you hit me with your car! Fortunately, the paramedics asked her to leave so they could assess me.
I was pretty determined to make it to work. Like everyone I know who has been hit on their bike, I tried to ride away. I don’t think the paramedics understood how wounded I was, and I don’t think I understood. Fight or flight, maybe both, were my go-to instincts. I wanted to make sure that everyone saw that I was going to survive.
I rode for a block, realized that my bike wasn’t really rideable, and that my body wasn’t actually able to either. I limped the remaining way to work, and realized soon after my arrival that I wouldn’t be able to work. I accepted a ride to the hospital. (thanks Al!). One broken bone, and lots of soft tissue damage.
Though I managed a few hikes this summer, it was 4 months before I could do any mountain bikepacking, and then only novice trails. 5 months after the crash, I still haven’t paddled any white water. I’m still hoping to regain the complete use of my left wrist, my right hand, left elbow, and right quad. I go the physiotherapy sessions every week, and do range-of-motion and strengthening exercises when I just want to go ride my bike.
The person who hit me with her car got off with a tiny ticket, and probably wasn’t even late for work. She changed my life for the worse, with no consequences. I didn’t even get an apology note. Her insurance company has payed for the physiotherapy sessions, but I have yet to see a dime from them for my bike, my phone, ipad, watch, torn clothes, and other inexpensive belongings.
I’m totally grateful to the friends who sent me get-well cards, donuts, flowers, candy, cookies, and more. Y’all are the best.
Next time, back to the fun outdoor stuff.