A better title for this might be “How a fuzzy fruit saved my bacon.”
I know. Ha, ha, ha.
The thing is, no matter how you put it, I actually avoided what was probably serious injury by stopping at a fruit stand to buy a peach.
Here’s what happened. I was out on a bike ride with some friends when we decided to stop at a roadside stand. I laid my bike down on the grass, bought a nice, juicy peach, and was just giving it a big bite when I heard what sounded like a firecracker exploding. I looked over at my bike, and my front wheel was spinning around….. and around…. and around. The front tire had completely blown: the inner tube, the outer tire, the whole thing.
All I can say is it’s a good thing I wasn’t riding. A friend of mine had his front tire blow a few months ago, and suffered a couple cracked ribs, a punctured lung, a broken clavicle, and a couple fractured vertebrae. He spent some time in the ICU and has undergone two surgical procedures.
That could’ve been me. So yeah, I got lucky.
It’s amazing how the simplest act can have such far ranging consequences. The decision to stop for some fruit. To take this or that plane. To ski that trail. To go to a movie.
I have a friend who says, no matter what sport or activity you’re discussing, “I know soooooo many people who’ve been injured doing [insert sport here].” This is ludicrous. You can get hurt doing anything. Someone I know broke her leg in 3 places when she stepped of a curb to get the morning paper. This doesn’t necessarily make getting the newspaper hazardous.
Oh, sure, you can take precautions to minimize your risks. When I drive, I wear a seat belt. When I ski, I wear a helmet. And since my bike tire blew, I’ve purchased a pair of Kevlar-lined tires. They’re pretty puncture-proof.
Bottom line: You can’t live your life wrapped in cotton. There’s inherent risk in just about anything you do. If you don’t want to get hurt, maybe you should just stay in bed.
Or maybe you should just eat more peaches. 🙂
I love this story. I just started research on my new book (yes! I’m actually moving forward again), in which I hope to explore the nature of risk. I agree that we cannot wrap ourselves in bubble wrap and avoid every risk out there. At the end of our lives, we will feel cheated. But there’s a natural tendency to dismiss risky behavior out of hand. To dwell in a place of risk–whether skiing or biking or striving for a promotion at work–means we must enter that murky gray area where consequences are undefined. But isn’t that what being human is all about? There’s no easy answers, no sure things, but we go on anyway.
Great article again Wendy! I agree with most of your insights. You just have to take risk or else you won’t know how good the thing is. That’s life. Living and trying.
Ive had very similar happen.
Pulled over on my mountain bike while a bunch of mates stand and wait, and then the loudest bang, like a 12 bore gunshot. Turn around to see my mates covered in green slime, as I use latex filled inner tubes, (or did before I went tubeless). Tube and tyre both blown.
I put it down to a badly work side wall on a tyre combines with a blow out.
Lucky escape you had! Great story