Have you ever looked back at an incident in your life and seen, with perfect clarity, the several factors that led to a disaster?
It happened on our vacation to Put-in-Bay in July. We love the island and this is our ninth trip there, where we enjoy the lake, friendly people, island activities, and great food. This year, we started each day with a bicycle ride around the island before breakfast.
Our bed and breakfast provided bicycles and what a great time those rides were! Not many people were up at 6:45 a.m., so we enjoyed the quiet cruise around the island, pointing out beautiful homes and spending some minutes taking photos of the lake at different points.
One thing I need to mention is that the bikes provided were all men’s bicycles. I didn’t have a problem riding one, though I was just a tiny bit short for the smallest. My toes just touched the ground when I stopped the bike.
So there I was, on the last day of our trip, at 7 a.m. in the morning on a relatively unfamiliar and just a tad-too-tall bike, riding around the main drag. Lake Erie was quite high, by the way, a second factor in the what happened. A few of the roads had been flooded all week, but by this day, only one road had water covering it. We thought it was lucky that the sidewalk (the quite narrow sidewalk) adjacent to this road was not under water.
I should also mention that the bike rides were not planned before our trip. My husband always takes sneakers on any trip, but I, on the other hand, had only packed an extra pair of flip-flops. So I was riding the too-big, unfamiliar man’s bike in flip-flops.
We came up to the flooded road and without discussion, rolled up onto the sidewalk to go around it. The flooded area was also on a bend, with the marina on the right and a home on the left. The sidewalk gently curved around a yard that had a fence with an open gate to a concrete step and walkway to the house.
The marina was gorgeous and I was gazing at the boats in the high water when I suddenly realized I was paying insufficient attention to the narrow, curving sidewalk. I realized this when the front tire of my bike hit the fence post left of the concrete walkway, tipping my bike over. I landed on the concrete with my right foot upside down and the pedal on top of it. My right side had connected with the fence post to the right of the walkway, stopping my body from going all the way to the ground — for a few seconds.
Long story short, I have a fractured toe, scrapes on all my toes, and pulled tendons in the top of my foot. I am not too old to ride a bike, but as my doctor said when I told him I was wearing flip-flops, “You’re never too old to gain wisdom.”
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.