I got knocked off my bike today. It was an experience unusual enough to merit writing up in full.
I was cycling west through Shoreditch, having just turned off Brick Lane and passed the Rich Mix cinema to my right. The Box Park loomed to my left, and I was just thinking about what lane I needed for the impending junction when I felt a thud, heard a scream, and I wasn’t on my bike any more.
I had enough time to process I had hit someone, and that I was flying through the air quicker than is standardly advised. I had also just about processed that these set of circumstances meant I was going to hit the ground before I promptly hit it, the first impact being on the right side where my butt and my upper thigh become one, the second being the point between my wrist and the palm of my right hand. Perhaps because of the muscle memory from bouldering falls, I span into a couple of front / side rolls before ending up sprawled in the road.
The person that I had hit turned out to be a young blonde woman. Her and her friend lifted me up out of the road. She seemed completely uninjured. “Oh my god, are you ok?” she asked.
Being English we both started to apologise to each other. I’ve never hit a pedestrian before. I’ve never been hit by a bike before. We both go about our business without this sort of thing happening, we explained.
I learn that she had darted out into the road while staring at her phone, as it was telling her that her Uber was parked on the other side. I looked across. A minicab was indeed there, lurking slightly illegally near the side road for Shoreditch House. It was her fault, she says. She apologises. I’m suddenly aware, out of the corner of my eye, that lots of people witnessed the crash and are now staring at us.
“Let’s hug it out,” she suggests, keen to get to her cab. So we hug, awkwardly, still in the road, across the frame of my tourer. And then she’s gone, crossing, more carefully this time, as her friend follows, hesitates in the middle of the road, and says “are you sure you’re ok?” I think so. Yeah, I think so. The friend disappears also.
I roll my bike along towards the junction, realise the chain’s off, and glide onto the pavement and retreat to a nearby chain cafe. I turn back to the site of the incident, but the crowd have already moved on.