Road Rash is Like Diaper Rash, but Not as Cute

Carlos brought to my attention his recent exploration of road rash. Oh, Carlos, where can I learn more? Personal experience is often a better teacher than anything else.

Today I took my first big spill on my bicycle. I was very close to work, as it often happens, so I finished up the ride with blood running down my leg. When I got to work and hit the shower, I learned the extent of the damage. In describing this for my right leg, it’s probably easier to talk about the parts that remained undamaged. They’re without noticeable tan, hairy, but otherwise beautiful. Maybe a few lumps and scars from previous accidents. Oh, and rare hamburger meat comes to mind when looking elsewhere.

It’s entirely my fault. I was shooting across a green light with traffic to avoid stopping and losing my pace. The roads are wet from all the rain, so when traffic stopped just after the light, I was unable to follow suit. I touched the front brake to slow me down, but the front tire instantly locked up. Too much pressure, apparently. With that, it was a matter of 1 second before all hope of regaining composure was lost. I flattened out on the road with my bike and slid for an eternity before finally stopping myself with my face…on the curb. The curb is okay and only suffered minor indignities. I actually had time to think about how bad the road rash was going to be while I slid. I was toying with the idea that it may not be so bad because of the wet roads – a true fact, actually. Funny thing about these things is that you don’t really feel the pain until after you stop. I felt heat on my leg from the friction, but that was it. And like a 10-year-old, I jumped up out of the street and yanked my bike up onto the sidewalk as if to pretend nothing happened. I was asked if I was okay and needed a ride, but the adrenaline and shock had me thinking I’d be fine, if only a little scuffed up. I am okay, truly. The rash on my leg hurts pretty bad, but it’s tolerable.

I was able to get it cleaned up pretty well in the shower at work, though I will need to do some scouring at home. The worst part at the moment is that I’m wearing jeans that are slowly getting damp with, presumably, lymph fluid. My buddy, Brandon, is picking up the medical supplies to keep me from sticking to the jeans. I have some additional precautions to take while riding in the rain, but I didn’t really learn how to avoid the lock-up problem. Brandon says disc brakes are better for “modulating” to avoid the lock-up. Calipers tend to give you all or nothing, which is certainly what it felt like today. On a positive note, I’ve now ridden nearly 350 miles commuting.