Shaken & Stirred

At the beginning of this clip I’m at Lexington awaiting the green to cross Vermont in East Hollywood. Up ahead a block before Virgil I’ll make a left onto Westmoreland and go down hard. Wham ass over teakettle. It’s two or three quick frames of the timelapse. Blink and you’ll miss it. I was coming back home from my volunteer duties at SPCALA Tuesday afternoon, and I made that left onto Westmoreland so I could get up to Fountain Avenue and sneak a peek at the soon-to-be-new home of the Bicycle Kitchen there near Virgil. After making that left I stand up to get some momentum going up the short climb. Next thing I know my left foot is hitting the ground and I’m pitched forward into what becomes a 3/4s endo toward the roadway. On the way over the handlebar and down I connect with the front wheel first before tumbling and tangling up in the bike until I come to a stop. It felt like forever. It’s over in a matter of two seconds, maybe three.

The middle of the end: My head showing up in the upper left corner
of the frame indicates the endo has begun.

At first I thought the cause of the spill was the chain jumping off the sprocket just like it had done during CicLAvia on April 15, but the reason turned out to be much more disconcerting: my left crank broke in two just above the pedal. I found it down the street about 20 feet from where I finally came to a stop. Fortunately the only injuries I sustained were a nice bloody series of rather superficial scrapes on my left forearm near the elbow, a seriously large, angry and swollen contusion on my left thigh along with a smaller one on the inside of my left knee, and a few other minor bumps and bruises. Unfortunately in addition to the sheared crank, the front wheel cushioned (or not) my fall and ended up taco’d supreme. Broken spokes and everything.

Being about 1.5 miles from home I had no choice but to bust out the first aid kit (I don’t bike from home without it) and clean my bleeding arm as best I could and then limp it with the bike the rest of the way, stopping at the Golden Saddle bikeshop in Silver Lake on the way to see if they had a set of cranks that weren’t too expensive (they did and they were a bit pricey but it was an impulse buy I had to make in order to begin the healing  and restoration process).

Exhibit A: The broken crank end and pedal.

Along that walk I also had a lot of time to think about how much it can fuck with you when something on your bike breaks that’s not really supposed to. It’s amost surreal looking at the two solid pieces of metal that used to be one. I also had time to understand how fortunate I was that I wasn’t injured worse and that the crank severed while I was on an empty side street in a quiet residential area as opposed to next to a truck passing me on Jefferson Boulevard. Whew. No really: WHEW. I mean s.e.r.i.o.u.s.l.y motherfucking W H E W.

I’ll fix the bike and I’ll ride it again — I HAVE to. But for an open-ended amount of time I’m going to be riding even slower and steadier than usual and most definitely hyper-sensitively to even the slightest mechanical action that seems not right. Might even be staying mostly to quiet side streets, too.

Here’s a Twitcast vid I made once I got home and had a chance to decompress. You get a good view of how badly the front wheel suffered:

As to why I decided to post this timelapse clip to YouTube, it’s because it represents immediate forward progress from a complete fail. It’s about losing control, which is something I usually don’t mind keeping to myself. But more importantly it’s about getting up and getting on with it. I’m gonna take a measure of pride in doing that to help fill the void this crash left in my confidence.