By Ella Brown
Reading time: 3 minutes
I wish I could say I was good at riding a bike. Because I really do enjoy it. Maybe it's because I have a cheap Target brand bike that I've had since I was 12 years old, or maybe it's that every time I feel like going for a bike ride or need to be somewhere, it's freezing cold and pouring rain.
Or maybe the problem really is that every time I ride a bike, I fall off the bike.
I go to college in a small town in the state of Oregon in the United States called the University of Oregon, where I study Journalism and Communications with a minor in Political Science. The small town, called Eugene, is an interesting mix of college students from across the U.S., old hippies in head-to-tie tie dye, and families. Eugene is also a very outdoorsy and active town, where people flock from across the state to hike, camp, backpack, swim, mountain bike, and just enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Come springtime in Eugene when the rain finally subsides and the warm sun brings flowers to every corner of the city, I usually drag my old green and gray bike up from my musty basement and pump up the tires. In the spring, I love to ride my bike to my friend's houses, to the river for a summertime swim, and to work and school.
On one particularly gorgeous day in the spring of 2021, I was riding my bike to campus to take an important final exam for one of my political science classes. I was running late, so I threw on a pair of comfy shorts, a white shirt, and some sandals. I ran out the door with a coffee and a sandwich in one hand, steering the bike with my other.
I quickly rode to campus, doing my best to avoid the huge potholes in the pavement that the harsh winter had left behind. I successfully inhaled the sandwich but was still nursing my hot coffee as I pedaled up the dreaded hill to the campus bike path.
I was so focused on getting to my exam on time, that I was biking so fast and my foot slid through my sandal and hit the pavement. The momentum threw me forward and my body went flying over the handlebars. Luckily, I was wearing a helmet, but the pavement completely scratched up the entirety of my left leg, arm, hip, foot, and shoulder. And... my white shirt was now a white and brown tie-dye.
A sweet old lady came running out of her house and helped me up off the ground. She asked me if I needed some water and I replied with tears brimming in my eyes that I was late and I would be okay.
I locked up my bike and decided to run the rest of my way to my exam.
Luckily, the professor let me in and I took the test with blood and coffee dripping down my legs and onto the floor.
After I was finished with my test, I called my boyfriend who picked me up and took me home so I could get cleaned up. As I was getting in the shower, I noticed an enormous bruise forming on the left side of my chest. I went to the doctor the next day and found out that I had actually broken a rib!
I learned three things about myself that day in Eugene:
1. Always wear close-toed shoes and a helmet when biking
2. Always leave early (or just walk if you are clumsy and accident-prone like me)
3. Never bike with coffee (ESPECIALLY with a white shirt)
All things considered, I was very lucky that I didn't hurt myself worse in the accident. But, I got back on the bike and still love to ride! To avoid future accidents, I've decided it's best if I just stop taking exams from now on ;)