This week’s on this day post comes from the 30th-June-2012. I’m in the USA, nearing the end of the American leg of my world tour. It was probably the worst day I’ve ever had when cycling.
Saturday 30th June 2012 Central Square to Jersey City. 89 miles.
It was an excellent start to the day; shame it didn’t end as well! I found somebody to cycle with and bore first thing today. I was cycling along when another cyclist passed me, so I thought I’d check to make sure I was on the right road. After finding out I was on the right road, we got talking and rode together. Melissa and I rode along for a good half an hour or so. She took me on a route away from the main road. And she also gave me directions for further up the road, which turned out to be a lovely route along country roads.
I would have made it to New York today if I had found a way of crossing the Hudson River. And maybe I wouldn’t be in the mess I’m in now! The only place I could find to cross the Hudson River was much further north than I needed, meaning I’d be cycling back on myself but on the other side of the river.
It was late in the day, and I was struggling to find a way through. There were Freeways everywhere. So even though I had only twenty or so miles to go, I decided to give up on today, regroup and try again tomorrow when I felt fresher. I soon found a motel, which didn’t look particularly good and wasn’t in the best of neighbourhoods. But if they had a room and my bike was safe, I didn’t care. I pulled up to reception, which was a small window. Behind the window, which I think was made of bullet-proof glass, sat a man. He didn’t come across as being very friendly and wanted to charge me $85. $85 just for a room in this dump, and I couldn’t see anywhere nearby to eat. Not that I think I would have wanted to leave the motel; it all looked too dodgy. So I decided to push on.
I left the motel and rejoined the busy road. Then about a mile down the road, something hit me from behind, sending me skidding along the ground! Once I’d stopped, my immediate reaction was to gather my bike and bags together. (My bags had come off in the impact.) And get off the road so that I wasn’t hit again. Luckily, a young couple had stopped their car across the carriageway to protect me.
I got everything off the road and was on the path, trying to put my panniers back on my bike. Blood poured from my head, and I had to keep wiping my brow so I could see. The young couple who had stopped kept telling me to sit down. There’s an ambulance on its way. But my only concern was to get everything back together.
The woman who had hit me had stopped further up the road and walked back. All I remember was her saying, “Well, at least I stopped!” The ambulance came, along with two police cars. The ambulance men also told me to calm down. Your bike will be okay, they said. But that was my world and had been for the past nine months! In the end, they conned me by saying let us look at your head. You’re losing quite a lot of blood! And with that, they grabbed me and bound me up on a stretcher. I was still very agitated and concerned about my bike. But they reassured me that the police would take care of it.
At The Hospital
Once at the hospital, I had every type of scan test going! Luckily they couldn’t find anything significantly wrong with me (not physically, anyway!), and all I had was a couple of bruised ribs, a grazed shoulder and the gash on my head, which they stapled together.
Thankfully the police had brought my bike to the hospital and, once discharged. I saw that the only damage was to my front tyre, which needed replacing. And my panniers had a few holes in them. A lucky escape! I changed the front tyre, and off I set to find the nearest hotel. As usual, I stopped at the first hotel I came across. I should have continued, but I decided to bite the bullet as I wasn’t feeling particularly great and had to pay $200 for the night. Now that did hurt!
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