There’s not much I can do to remove the clots from my lungs and my leg. I just have to take my medicine and wait. Unfortunately the medicine itself can cause big problems. So I have taken some steps to shore up my defenses.
For much of 2017 I rode without a helmet. I hate helmets. So it was a little bit ironic that I bought a new helmet with the multi-dimensional impact protection system or MIPS. This type of helmet has a plastic liner that moves. The idea is that if you hit your helmet on something your head won’t just smash into the inside of the helmet. Instead the plastic liner will allow your melon to move a bit, reducing (so they say) the chance of a concussion. For me, that might mean reducing the chance of blood building up in my brain – which can be fatal.
Fatal is not good.
Before my bike tour to Florida, I bought an Ortlieb mirror. It was a godsend, especially when I looked at it and saw a dump truck bearing down on me in West Palm Beach. I was about to lose my lane. Instead of proceeding I stopped and the dump truck didn’t. I’d have been toast.
Toast is not good.
So I bought another mirror for my Cross Check which will make riding in traffic around and in DC a bit safer.
My third acquisition is a Road ID. It’s a wrist band with a small metal clip attached. The clip has my name, my wife’s name and phone numbers, and critical medical information: Xarelto, Asthma, and A+, my blood type. In the event that I am unconscious medical professionals will know that I am likely to bleed uncontrollably.
The day began with crisp fall air. I was ready for it as I pit on my vest, arm warmers, and head band. Dressed perfectly, I headed north on the Mount Vernon Trail bound for DC and Friday Coffee Club. The ride in went so smoothly that as I rode onto the 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac River I had that strange how-did-I-get-here sensation. A tailwind and fresh legs (I drove to work yesterday) probably helped.
Coffee Club was crowded. It was good to see some faces that I haven’t seen in over a month. This definitely eased my recent feeling of social ennui.
I rode to work on the narrow side path on the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge. I stop for DC-bound cyclists because there just isn’t enough room to pass on the fly. One of them asked me if the bridge was one-way. He was new to DC and he couldn’t believe the trail was so narrow. I assured him it wasn’t. Welcome to the land of improving bicycling infrastructure.
I left work and head for home, once again assisted by a trail wind. It was a similar vibe to the morning. No discernible effort involved. I barely broke a sweat. My delight in this wonderful autumn commute came to an end. I stopped to take a picture of this sign posted next to the trail north of Old Town Alexandria just after the Slaters Lane turn off.
It’s a sad reality to the women of this area that enjoying area trails comes with this risk.
Not 100 feet after starting up again I was passed by an on-coming woman running. She had earbuds in her ears.
Every safety expert I know warns against doing this. I know it sucks and it’s unfair but you are responsible for your own safety. Whether you are trying to avoid a potential human assailant or a garbage truck you need to hear what’s going on around you.
The rest of the ride was thankfully peaceful. For me at least.