Louisville Bicycle Club

Louisville Bicycle Club Newsletter — September-October 1997

Thanks to You All!

by Javier Cendejas

The sound of myself unable to breathe, moaning, with the wind knocked out, wondering if I would ever be able to get a clean breath of fresh air is still in my mind. How did it happen? All I remember is slamming the ground so hard that my helmet cracked. Later, I learned that five of my ribs cracked, and my scapula (shoulder blade) was fractured. One hell of a way to bring attention to one’s self.

I remember asking for my bike. Was I trying to get back on? — That’s my typical response in such circumstances — or was I just trying to find it? Maybe what happened was not real, just a dream (nightmare). Last year, on a trip to Mexico, I took a ride on a mountain bike around a volcano (45 miles), on loose sand, with lava rocks all around. The wheels on that bike did not turn easily on the loose volcanic sand, and I fell down eleven times. Each time I fell, I laughed so hard. It was fun trying to maintain some balance on that surface. I guess I felt invincible as a result, because at the end of the ride, I had not one scratch. I’ve had other close calls, just as everyone who rides has had. Of course, some riders have had much more serious falls, resulting in disability for life, or even death, while some have been less serious, and perhaps even funny.

In my need to bring a positive aspect out of this mishap, I would like to address two factors. First, thanks to wearing a helmet, I escaped serious injury. Second, to point out how important communication is during rides, when streamlining. Rocks, a hole, a road-kill, gravel — all need to be acknowledged. In addition to those there are two things that are of primordial importance: tracks and grooves on the road. Those nasty things grab the front wheel and do not let it go. No matter how smart or how good a rider is, once the wheel gets in the groove or in the track, the rider can kiss his or her balance goodbye. I was too trusting, when I should have been more alert. But if there is something to be learned as a result of my fall, it’s that we all need to be particularly aware of grooves and tracks when streamlining. In my case I should have been more alert and I certainly don’t blame anyone but myself. I assume full responsibility for my fall.

Finally, I want to let everyone know how touched I am by the amount of care and concern displayed by members of the Louisville Bicycle Club. You are a great bunch of wonderful individuals. The “Get Well” cards and phone calls have meant a great deal to me. I want to express my gratitude, in particular, to two members who took time after the ride to come back to the hospital to assist. John Larson and Dave Runge were so very helpful. They took me home, somehow got my bike and my car back home (cracked helmet and all), and were truly remarkable. I owe them both a debt of gratitude for their attention and assistance. John went even beyond being helpful, by carrying my old dog down the steps and into my yard. Zero (the dog) has reached the point in his life where steps are impossible, and obviously, I wasn’t able to carry him myself. I have never seen such an outpouring of real, honest to goodness, human kindness.

I decided that for the next Old Kentucky Home Tour, as a way of showing my gratitude to the club, I will perform at the piano (my career). Hopefully, my shoulder will be in good condition by then. Right now, it is immobile. I’m not able to hiccup, cough, sneeze, laugh, cry, play the piano, drive, or lie down to sleep (which I do like a horse, sitting up).

Lastly, “oh yeah, I am getting back on that bike!” I love the Louisville Bicycle Club and will be part of this club for as long as I am capable. Thanks to you all!

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last updated: 2 September 1997
by Duc M. Do