Desmond Strikes

Today was all kinds of shit.


I set off with good intentions – Bike into my tutorial, study, coffee in the city, ride over to the garage to pick up some heated handwarmers, then home, then back out again to the 5pm swim at B.


I parked in the University, walked down, put my bags in the tutorial room, and after a couple of minutes, the tutor mentioned that parking in the University was expensive if you didn’t have a permit. I didn’t have a permit so, not wanting to be fined, left my bag and my norgie on my desk and went out to “just move the bike” – Intending to quickly run it around from the University to my usual spot next to the art gallery.


Instead I got stuck for literally an hour and a quarter in the one-way system, looping repeatedly around the city centre and the surrounding industrial wastelands, being led up endless streets that suddenly turned into “No cars or bikes between 2am and 8pm, unless it’s the weekend after a full moon but not when sunrise is between 7.15 and 7.38am.” and trying to find somewhere, anywhere to ditch.


The street next to the art gallery was closed for a Christmas market, shutting off about a quarter of the roads. Another set of streets were shut due to the high winds. Eventually, I got into a car park next to the venue, which was Pay and Display, and since I wasn’t confident on Displaying without having someone steal my ticket, I instead parked in a coulcin-operated disabled bay instead, outside of the car park.


I at least made it to the last forty minutes of my tutorial.


And upon getting out, my bike had been ticketed, for parking in a disabled bay.


I made a mental note to contest is, then decided that since the weather was getting insane, I was just going to go straight to the garage, then bunker down there for a bit and warm up.


Upon getting about halfway to the garage, I decided that I’d rather not be out in the dark, so turned around and headed home instead. The wind, by this point, was brutal gusting up to 80mph, it was like being physically slammed by a big, fast vehicle.


I managed to hold it, on the wet roads, with rainbow oil slicks every few hundred metres, with the wind cutting me across to the point that I could barely hold my lane, until I got to the last hill at the last crossroads, less than two hundred yards from my house.


And then I lowsided. The front wheel hit an oily grating at exactly the same moment as I passed a side-street, which the wind was howling straight down. The bike went down, somehow turning my foot around a hundred and eighty degrees in the process, leaving me lying on my side with my right leg pinned unde the bike, my leg twisted around backwards and pinned under the crsh bar, so that my right foot was facing in exactly the opposite direction to the rest of me.


It took four people to lift me clear of the bike, getting the bike upright as well, and dragged over to the steps of the estate agent. I was doing fine, more worried about my bike than myself, until there was a cup of tea in my hand and I’d started her engine to make sure it wasn’t flooded. And then I realised that my right leg wasn’t just sore, it was wrecked. No way I could put any weight on it.


I got back into the estate agents, aided by M, the first aider and first on the scene – Not a biker, but friends with enough bikers, including a disabled triker, to know that this was normal – who let me curl up on the floor, then helped me out of my boots and out of my leathers, so I was sitting there in my baselayer. Upon getting the trousers about half way down my hip, I heard a high-pitched scream, right on the edge of hearing. It took a second for me to realise it was me.


“That’s what I was worried about” said M. “That hip is all wrong.”


I looked at it, Sure enough, it was dislocated. D, the estate agent, took my feet and got my armour down off that leg, so that I could roll my baselayer up. My calf was bruised already, and my tibia was in front of my patella.


I directed M into my rucksack, to get the morphine, and I drained the bottle.


What followed was a lengthy, incredibly painful, reassembly, with much debate over whether I needed hospital, or how to get home, or whether to ride home, or whether to get Dearest to pick me up, or one of any number of other half-remembered options. Eventually it was decided that M would take me home, me riding the bike at walking pace, him walking alongside, hazards on and being careful.


My leg back in one-ish piece, I was helped onto the bike (Unable to move my own right leg, M had to lift it over for me) and we made a sad procession back to my house. At my door, I wanted to offer M a bottle of whiskey, or chocolates, or something, but after a second’s hug and an exhortion to ride safe, he was gone, a hi-vis clad figure vanishing back into the storm.


And now I’m back home, sincerely wishing that I’d not left the house this morning. Storm Desmond has closed most of the UK, Cumbria is underwater, the valleys are flooding, trees are being blown over, and I’m not going back out in it.


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