Bikes have become a bit more of my enemy since I wrote about riding at night
. O and I both have had a few bike issues in the past few days. It started on Sunday when I kinda ran over the toes of a pedestrian. I admit it was my fault, I was running a red because I knew no cars would be coming (the cross street was blocked off), but I didn't think about the pedestrians and then this guy starts marching across the street from my right and I couldn't brake hard enough so I ran into him, rolling over his feet. He was this brash-looking Amsterdammer with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, and suddenly I was face-to-face with him and horrified that I'd just run into someone. I really expected him to have a go at me and call me all sorts of names I didn't understand, but he just looked at me with a bit of a put-off look, pointed at his green light and said "Kijk 's!" and I said "Sorry hoor!" and managed to bike off. I felt horrible though, I still cringe at the mental image of watching my tire roll over this guy's toes and not being able to stop it.
O was biking with me at the time, but we soon spilt in different directions to go to different shops. No more than half an hour later, he calls me and asks if I'm busy because something happened with his bike and he's hurt and trying to get his bike to a repair shop and wondering if I can help him. His pedals kind of just stopped working, but he was on his bike at the time, so he ended up crashing to the ground
. In the end, he decided he didn't need my help and got to the repair shop on his own, but he was sore and bruised when I got home. The bruises are of course getting worse. There's a massive one on his right thigh, which was what he landed on; various smaller, but darker ones, on other parts of his legs where they hit against his bike; plus a scrape on his knee.
The repair shop he went to couldn't fix his bike, so yesterday he had to go get it from the Leidseplein and somehow get it home. No one with a car was available, so he wanted me to meet him at the repair shop and somehow pull him home with my bike. I wasn't exactly sure how that was going to work, but I headed over after work. ...And on the way, I ran into a pedestrian and fell off my bike. I mean, really. It was sort of both our faults this time. The guy was crossing the street from my left, going behind a car that was stopped at a red light. I kept waiting for him to look to his right to check for any bikes, but he never did and I waited too long to either slow down or warn him I was coming. I tried ringing my bell, but it didn't work (and seems to be broken now, I'm not sure when that happened) and then again tried to stop but wasn't able to and felt like all I could do was watch my front tire collide with his leg. This time though with the way I hit him and his forward motion in front of me, I got pulled sideways and fell to the left off my bike. I amazingly didn't really hurt myself, I mostly landed on my bum and I remember hitting my left elbow on the ground, but it wasn't scraped. Two guys were sitting nearby on the sidewalk and they came over and instantly started pulling me and my bike up and asking if I was ok. When I was back on my feet, I said sorry to the guy I hit, and one of the other guys said "eh, shit happens..." I was really shaky but otherwise fine, though I think somehow in falling or landing I did something to my hurt toe and it was quite sore.
So I met up with O and, feeling really
confident now about biking, asked how I was supposed to pull him home. Unfortunately it was a busy bike path, the one right through the Leidseplein, and it was hard to try to set off slowly and it just was not working. He tried riding his bike while grabbing my seat, but it was hard to get the speed right and he was bumping into my bike. We tried switching bikes, but his is too high for me and I didn't feel safe on it. So O was all frustrated and said he'd just push it home, it looked like the only way, and so he got on and started riding it by pushing with his foot on the sidewalk. I was behind him a bit because I had to wait for a bunch of bikes to go past, but I caught up with him and asked if he wanted me to bike with him. He said yeah, and then I saw that it would be quite easy to grab his handlebar as I rode. Since he has one of those cruiser bikes, the handlebar sticks out farther than normal, so it was easy to hold it without bringing our bikes too close together. So that's how we got it home, I pedaled my bike and pushed forward on his handlebar, while he steered and balanced his bike. We couldn't get over hills that way, I couldn't push us both uphill for long, but he would paddle his way up and then was able to coast on his own down the other side. I would match his speed, grab his handlebar, and started towing him again. It was a bit slow, but it only took about half an hour to get home. A few people were of course impatient and huffy because we were clogging up the bike path, but more people than I expected seemed to see that we couldn't go single file and there wasn't too much bell ringing at us.
I was an exhausted wreck when we got home and then we spent the evening complaining about our aches and pains. My shoulders are of course quite sore, as well as my legs. Because of the rain this morning, I didn't bike to work today, and I was actually rather relieved by that.