Adventures In Falling Off A Bike…

I’ve loved riding bicycles my entire life.

On July 1st, 2013, I had my first biking accident in Aspen, Colorado. I was going 40 mph down a steep mountain trail in the pouring rain when a grizzly bear suddenly jumped out in front of me. I swerved to the left, which took me down a steep ravine about 200 feet, throwing me right into the Colorado River. I wasn’t wearing a helmet. What else would you expect from The Adventure Addict?

Well, hopefully not a lie.

The Colorado River doesn’t flow through Aspen, friends.

The more you know, and shooting star.

On July 1st, 2013, I did have my first biking accident in Aspen, Colorado. I was going 4 mph down a flat, empty suburban street on a clear skied, sunny day when I tried to take an Instagram photo on my cell phone, then unconsciously braked the front wheel, flipped over the handlebars, and landed on my head. I wasn’t wearing a helmet.

Social media really will be the death of us.

Adventures In Riding A Bicycle Sober And Slowly On A Sunny Summer Afternoon Along A Splay Suburban Street.

I woke up in the hospital covered in blood, with a concussion, retrograde amnesia, a broken collar bone, and a head stapled shut. I remember two things from the hospital. I remember thinking I was about to die. So I started taking deep breaths and muttering, “Here we go…Here we go…You had a great life…Here we go…” Then when my Dad showed up and said I wasn’t going to die, I remember thinking he was a big fat liar, because he’s a doctor, and he was just trying to make me feel calm before my untimely demise. So I’m pretty sure I told him to fuck off.

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“Here we go…Here we go…You had a great life…Here we go…”

But after he clenched my hand with reassurance and told me to think happy thoughts, I  started singing in my best basso profundo, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…” Apparently, Spaceballs is my happy place.

Four days later, I had fourteen screws and a plate of titanium drilled into my collar bone. As they were putting me under, I channeled my Australian soul sister Sia and belted some Titanium: “I’m bulletproof. Nothing to lose…” Two hours later, I awoke: “Fire away! Fire away!” Oh. Wait. We’re done? Sweet.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar

While I’ve long had a dependant/hate relationship with social media, I’ve often used it as a springboard for public discussion. While it played a significant role in my accident, it surprisingly played an even greater role in my recovery.

My last Facebook status prior to the accident was written on the plane en route to Aspen:

Guys. Spike Lee is sitting next to me on my flight. What do I do? Do I do the right thing? WHAT’S THE RIGHT THING?!

83 likes. (Not bad, not bad.) 30 comments…with hilarious suggestions for what the right thing would be. Communal comedy. Everyone gets a rim shot. So fun.

But the day after being discharged from the hospital, I posted a message on Facebook explaining my accident. I admitted to not wearing a helmet, and in the wake of CitiBike’s helmetless launch in New York last summer, I demanded that all my friends wear helmets in the future.

“…I never imagined I’d have a biking accident like this. So. Friends. Please. Wear a helmet. Long rides. Short rides. Mountains and streets. Wear a helmet. And if you start seeing me wearing a helmet out to dinner on a Saturday night too, don’t judge. We can all sing Titanium together as a good reminder.”

237 likes, 184 comments.

Social media allowed me to publicly make a lesson of my idiocy, and many friends who admitted to not wearing helmets when they bike or board or ski quickly confessed to changing their minds. Wonderful.

The degree of reciprocal support and discourse reached peak levels when, after years of making silly online videos for various friends, a bunch of them banded together, through social media no less, to make one for me. And I will forever be grateful for the cheek bursting, knee shaking, fist pumping burst of comfort and glee that I had when I started dancing around, by myself, at 5 am, with great friends around the country.

Watch it HERE.

I get by with a little help from my friends.

It would be 6 months before I hopped on a bike again. But what happened on my first ride back, ended up being far worse than the accident that preceded it.

To Be Continued…

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A Portrait Of The Idiot As A Young Man

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