Whilst out on a ride recently I found myself having an open conversation with my riding partner about all the times I’ve fallen off my bike. In terms of tempting fate, this topic of conversation is surely second only to discussing punctures.
I may even have uttered the words: “thankfully, it’s a good three or four years since I last fell off.” I might as well start saving now for the cost of repairing my bike following my forthcoming bike accident.
I hope it doesn’t hurt.
Of course, I don’t really believe in tempting fate. It’s common nowadays for people to say, “I believe everything happens for a reason”, to which I think…
“Well, it does, but not because of some mystical ‘fate’ based outcome”.
(Just for the record, I do believe in the ‘puncture fairy’.)
When I crashed into a parked Land Rover on the way to the mid-ride cafe back in 2011, the reason was a combination of human error and the laws of physics. I stopped concentrating, veered off to the left, and…wallop!
In hindsight I might conclude that the crash taught me a lesson and reduced my chances of crashing again in the future, but that wasn’t the reason it happened. That was a useful by-product.
You get my point.
Talking of learning a lesson, when I was a young lad – about the age of twelve or so – I spotted a rake lying on the grass at my local park. Anyone who knows anything about slapstick comedy knows that if some poor soul stands on the pointy end of a rake, the long handle rises up swiftly and whacks them on the nose.
But as a twelve year old I was already showing signs of mild cynicism, and so thinking to myself ‘surely that couldn’t really happen’, I wandered across to the rake. The distance between tempting fate and fate arriving was then covered in record time.
As it turns out, no matter how gently and deliberately you step on the pointy end of the rake it still swings up rapidly and cracks you across the nose. It also bloody hurts!
This was simpler time, of course, before people filmed themselves falling off skateboards and jumping out of trees and posted it on You Tube.
When I was a boy, a rake in the face was an extreme sport.
With nose red and eyes watering I thought to myself, ‘well, everything happens for a reason’, but even at the age of twelve I realised the ‘reason’ was that I was curious and trod on the end of a rake.
Luckily no-one saw what happened, but I do wheel out the rake anecdote as a cautionary tale any time conversation drifts onto the subject. I’ve certainly given rakes a wide berth ever since.
Equally, when it comes to crashing my bike I am happy with my theory that I probably learnt a lesson from that crash into a parked car. It’s almost certainly the reason why I haven’t crashed since.
However, after talking openly about bike crashes with my riding companion the other day, I am still assuming that I will almost certainly crash at some point in the near future.
Mainly because although I am happy to rubbish the ‘tempting fate’ theory, I am yet to firm up my position regarding the ‘law of averages’.