When worlds collide! Fantastic photo by Kip Pierson. More on the climateride.org Flickr page
When worlds collide! Fantastic photo by Kip Pierson. More on the climateride.org Flickr page

Today dawned bright and beautiful over our campsite in a field next to the YMCA in Phoenixville, PA. After yet another hearty breakfast we set out through gorgeous countryside into Amish country. Even though the images are familiar from “Witness” I still got a kick out of seeing men in broad-brimmed hats sitting in tidy little horse-pulled carriages or working in fields behind horse-pulled ploughs. Favorite sighting was a little boy in a scaled-down broad-brimmed hat whizzing along on his human-propelled scooter, his left leg working energetically.

The undulating countryside was beautiful. A gentle breeze sent down showers of autumn leaves from the trees that in places lined our route, and it felt joyful to be alive. I was riding with a new friend called Courtney, who works in the ornithology department at Cornell University. We had a slightly ragged start to the day – she had a slight fall at a junction, and there were a few extra stops before we got into our stride.

Unfortunately, it didn’t last. By early afternoon ominous dark clouds were gathering, and as we were sitting outside a New Strasbourg creamery for a well-earned break, the heavens opened. We retreated inside from the torrents, and indulged in all manner of fudge, ice cream, caramel popcorn and other sweet indulgences. Ah, the benefits of burning off 2000 calories a day on a bicycle!

Feeling rather queasy and sugar-high, we set off once again down the puddle-strewn road. Shortly afterwards I had a mishap. I was riding along with Courtney and another woman. They were in front as we sped down a long downhill to try and gain enough momentum to get up the other side of the valley. At the bottom of the hill was a bridge where the road suddenly turned from pavement into an open metal mesh like a cheese-grater. A car overtook me, and slowed behind my two companions on the bridge. At top speed I suddenly had to brake to avoid running into the back of the car. My bike started to weave…. and splat! My bike and me found ourselves sprawled across the road.

It could have been worse. If I hadn’t been wearing a bike helmet, for example. I felt the impact as my head hit the road and my helmet cracked. My left knee looked quite spectacularly gory. I also had abrasions on my knuckles and left elbow. But nothing hurt, and I was able to ride the remaining 10 miles of the day with no problems. A hot shower washed away most evidence of my inelegant fall. And I was hugely relieved to find that my iPhone, strapped to my arm for convenience, had survived intact.

And it provided good material for my presentation tonight – a joke about how people often ask me if ocean rowing is dangerous, but I’ve suffered more damage today than in nearly a year accumulated time on the ocean. I like to tell people that we don’t have to suffer for a greener future – it is perfectly possible to live a more sustainable lifestyle without any detriment – but today I felt I did more than my fair share of sacrifice for the cause!

As I write this, No Impact Man (who was also riding with us today) is showing his film. I’d love to see it, but I’m very sleepy and it was a straight choice between blogging or watching the film before my eyelids close resolutely for the night. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to see it some other time.

Today’s stats: 64 miles, 1789 calories, 1 minor splat!

Other Stuff:

Please do check out the FANTASTIC photos from the Climate Ride official photographer, Kip Pierson at climateridelive.org. VERY highly recommended!

Please note: the Climate Ride organizers have plenty of spare cycle helmets, so I will have a new one to use tomorrow. Safety first!

Apologies for not including more hyperlinks to the various website – but the internet connection here is horrendously slow (positively Pacific-like) and my pillow is calling me… now past 11pm and breakfast is at 6.30 tomorrow morning! And I’ve got some healing to do…

14 Comments

  • OOOOH! Roz!!

    That’s all I can say. It’s just “oooh”

    Would you please consider helping the healing by spending 1 day in one of the support vehicles? We Rozlings need to confine our worrying about your safety to the summer months. You’ve more than earned some recuperation time.

  • Ouch! Hope you’re not too sore tomorrow! Do they have massage therapists with you? Actually, soreness is usually the second day after an owie, so I hope you can find some arnica and help by then. Hoping for sunny weather for you. You are a constant inspiration!

  • Ooophh, your tale makes me relive a similar experience … feeling for you Roz! Hope you recover quickly. And soaking wet to boot … at least you are in wonderful Lancaster County … love the creeks, covered bridges, family dining — the entire area — and the fun people had naming their towns Blue Ball, Intercourse, Honey Brook, Paradise …

  • Dear Ms Roz, Glad you had the Helmet. Maybe show the broken helmet to folk (and countries) who don’t see helmets etc. as important. Did you notice the lack of church buildings in Lancaster County ? One can be religious without trappings.

  • Hi Roz, 1/2 way through your book and, not surprisingly, your honesty and candour are humbling. As soon as I’m done, I’ll be sure to post a review on Amazon.

    Sorry about the fall, I’ve had a few nasty accidents whilst mountain biking. I’m probably warped, but these incidents always felt like a badge of honour or tangible evidence that I was truly living and pushing the boundaries. My experience has been that when I go beyond my comfort zone, my comfort zone gets bigger! Short term pain for long term gain.

    This segues into a little feedback on the general attitude towards environmental responsibility. Here in Toronto, we have recently gone through 2 seemingly small steps towards collective environmental improvement. Toronto has a population of approx. 2.75 million and the Greater Toronto Area has around 6 million. The city has implemented a comprehensive home recycling & household waste reduction program as well as a requirement for retailers to charge $0.05 for a plastic bag. While not perfect solutions, these progressive measures elicited significant initial resistance and even rancour. The evidence suggests that humans, at least the ones here, while reluctant to change, will embrace it fairly quickly when forced to. In this case, when their were direct financial consequences attached. When you go into virtually any store now, nearly everyone has re-usable bags with them, and even the most reluctant person is begrudgingly separating and recycling the various household items that otherwise would have gone to the landfill. Short term pain for long term gain. I haven’t seen the stats for what magnitude having this many people make this type of change has had, but I imagine its pretty significant. It just took some (allot) political courage and education to make it happen.

    Keep on LIVING Roz and know that your efforts ARE having an impact.

  • So glad you came through it relatively unscathed. Any wreck you can ride away from non-concussed and without much pain is a good one, I think. There’s always a lesson learned in the process, or one confirmed, like the wisdom of helmet wearing.

    And not that I’m bitter, but why do the Canadians get their copies of “Rowing the Atlantic” so much sooner than the U.S.? (Much love to Toronto. Married my wife there and never felt more welcome in a place as a gay couple. Even the Muslim cab drivers congratulated us and wished us well.) Unfortunately, by the time estimate on Amazone, my three copies will arrive just after I leave town for vacation, so no beach-side Roz reading.

    Thanks for choosing blogging over film watching, Roz! Appreciate it.

  • What a great testimonial for wearing helmets – Although bike safety is not your primary mission, I hope that you can post pictures of your helmet for others to learn a lesson.

  • What worries me (Joan in Atlanta)is the likelyhood that my copy won’t arrive from Amazon in time for me to get Roz to sign it in San Francisco. I shall look for it today in Costco – they often beat Amazon.

  • I received an email from Amazon that said that they are planning on releasing the book early, and that they are knocking 6 days off the estimated arrival date for delivery. So that sounds as if the book might starting shipping tomorrow (Sep 30) or the next day (Oct 1), instead of the previous release date (Oct 6). I’m really sorry about your fall. If I were up there with my homeopathy kit, I’d give you Arnica Montana (for the scrapes and bruises) and possibly Aconite (for the shock or trauma of the fall). But even the Arnica alone would be good for the shock of going down. Although your picture from the creamery yesterday had me salivating over the Almond Bark (almonds in slabs of dark chocolate) and I think that is what I personally would use for soothing away any cuts and scapes and boo boos. 🙂

  • Oh, Roz … sorry to hear about your spill … can’t believe you’re covering so many miles in one day! Congrats … your legs aren’t letting you down. And so glad to hear you have a nice hot bath/shower and warm/dry bed tonite! YOU TRULY HAVE EARNED THEM.

    Re: your book, I hope I, too, receive the book from Amazon early so you can sign it at the NYC book signing next week! I hope, I hope.

    Tomorrow at the U.S. Capitol … you go girl!

    Naomi

  • I’ve never been to a book signing, but isn’t the idea that you buy the book from the bookstore hosting the event?

    Please advise, because I was planning to buy my copy at the Books Inc. S.F. signing.

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