“The two tests I’ve done indicate your knuckle is fractured,” said the visiting physical therapist giving me a mini exam seconds before I jumped into an hour of CrossFit. “I recommend taking it easy for six weeks.”
This was exactly one week after riding my dream bike for the first time, and crashing within 30-minutes into that first ride.
THE STEEL DREAM
My dream bike has always been a late 90s Bianchi steel road bike. You know the one in the minty green color. I can’t tell you the exact model or year because back then I didn’t know a thing about cycles. I can’t claim to know much more today, either.
I was introduced to this variety of cycle from a close friend, Steve, back in 1999. At the time I was driving a 1978 Buick that had a sticker price of $600. Steve had just purchased a Tic-Tac green, human-powered machine to the tune of $1,200. I remember that number because it seemed, well, exotic. He rode it 25 miles or more almost daily. He loved to ride.
I begged him for years to let me ride his bike. I wanted to know how different it felt from my $150 Giant mountain bike, that I had only gotten to ride a handful of times before it was stolen. He never gave in. He would say, “I’m way taller than you, it’s the wrong size.” He was only two inches taller than me. Another excuse, “I wear special shoes that clip into the pedals, and you’re not putting your feet into my shoes.” He got me there, that would have been weird.
Steve died last summer. He died at his home; a casualty of the war he brought back with him from the time he served in the Middle East.
DREAMS COME TRUE
When a friend of mine alerted me to a Craigslist post for a 1999 Bianchi Eros for only $200, I didn’t hesitate. Within a few hours of the post the bike was mine. It even included those fancy shoes that clip in to the pedals in my size. No joke.
I couldn’t wait to get on the bike. I swapped out a couple of flat inner tubes and threw on the shoes. The inaugural run would take me three miles to the gym and back again – mostly on a bike path.
The first half of the trip was like a dream. The bike glided along the pavement like skates on ice. The gears shifted seamlessly. I hit 20mph with little effort.
The journey back home was a far different story. There are only a couple blocks of downtown pavement without a bike lane or bike path on the route back to the house. It was there where my Tic-Tac minty green Bianchi would meet a woman’s car door as she opened it. I was traveling about 15mph. Soon after (very soon after), I’d find myself kissing the asphalt and emerging with broken knuckles.
Luckily the bike is steel, so I’m told the dent in the downtube only needs to be monitored. I’m keeping it. At least until I can find another. Other than a few photographs through the years, I don’t have anything that belonged to Steve. Just seeing the bike in the garage reminds me of him. I like that.
As for the six weeks that I’m supposed to take it easy, well, you read it in the first paragraph – the thought lasted seconds before doing an AMRAP push-up session. If you don’t know what an AMRAP push-up session is, don’t fret. It doesn’t affect knuckle bones whatsoever.
About The Author
Just another Midwestern, middle-aged, fitness enthusiast.