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#1 Apr 17, 2018 3:23 pm

New Historian

My worst bike crash didn’t happen on a bike

Well not a motorbike anyway. To my undying shame, I messed up myself more falling off a “harmless kid’s bike” than I ever did on all the fast and furious motorbikes I’ve ridden over the years. At the time it happened, my bike, my real bike, was parked a few feet away. How did I achieve this amazing(ly dumb) feat?

My friend Hippo and I were at ex-girlfriend house in Orange Grove, overlooking Kingston, chatting at her gate. Hippo sat on her little brother’s chopper cycle and was idly riding around in circles, until he fell off. We all laughed and I said: let me show you how to ride a bike. Why, oh why, do I always say these incredibly dumb things? I jumped on the bicycle and pedaled off down the hill, at which point the kid shouts out:

The brakes don’t work!!

Oops! The sensible thing to do would have been to immediately jump off the bike, but I was already going a bit too fast for a dignified dismount. On the other hand it was a long straight hill and not too steep, so I figured I’d just coast down to the bottom, then schlep back up again. So down I went, faster and faster. Then the front wheel started to wobble. Then it fell off.

The bicycle collapsed in a heap of twisted metal underneath me, as I cartwheeled over the handlebars into thin air. The last thing I remembered was the heart-stopping terror of knowing I was about to be seriously hurt. Then: darkness. Up above, everyone fell about laughing as I hit the tarmac. Then when I didn’t move, they leapt into action. Someone found a car, they bundled me into the back seat and we tore off at high speed for the hospital, horn blaring. When I regained consciousness there was a red hot poker digging deep into my right shoulder. Worse yet, I was being tossed around in the back seat, completely unanchored. The driver was clearly loving his stint as an ambulance driver a bit too much.

With every jolt, every sleeping policeman, every suicidal red light, my shoulder exploded and I wanted to scream; but I couldn’t even breathe let alone scream. So I suffered in silence, leading the driver to think he was doing a great job, and hence drive even faster. We drove to University Hospital, the car screeched to a halt outside casualty, my shoulder exploding. The driver must have been perplexed when I gasped up at him, not thanks but: “Arsehole!”

By the time they got me into the emergency room, shock had well and truly set in; I could barely mumble my own name so Hippo had to fill in the forms. After a while a doctor came and peered down at me. He probed around agonizingly in my shoulder for what seemed an eternity, then gave me the sobering news: I had broken my right clavicle, or collarbone.

No shit Sherlock, I’d kind of figured that out for myself. Then he gave me a choice: while he rummaged around to set the broken bone; I could either be awake - or asleep. That was the easiest decision I ever made in my life: give me that needle! Hours later I awoke, discombobulated, my shoulder exploded whenever I tried the slightest movement. And whom did mine eyes first behold? Tom, Hippo and Maurice; my guardian angels. I smiled weakly. Great to shee you ghuyzz. And I apologized to my makeshift ambulance driver!


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