ON GETTING DOORED
During my past six years of daily bicycle commuting, I have gone down six times, once per year. This has now become a statistic. I now can expect to go down once a year, no matter what precautions I take.
Horse race jockeys can also expect to take falls, when moving three times faster than I do on a bike, and from a higher position.
Two months back, I made a wager at the Aintree English jump meet on a horse ridden by a leading jockey, Ruby Walsh. My horse was alternating on the lead most of the way and looked strong, until Ruby Walsh went down, barely avoiding the hooves of the horses that came from behind.
Even the best of horse race jockeys know that they will take falls. A Guardian article from 2008 tabulated the fall rate of the top twenty jump riders. I hadn’t seen this article at the time of my bet, but Ruby Walsh was the leader in falls, spilling to the turf in an incredible 7.4 percent of his rides. At the bottom of the standings, Mike Fitzgerald, took a tumble in 2.9% of his rides, and that’s alarming enough.
The Medical Journal of Australia did a study that found that being a jockey was more dangerous than being a boxer, with only the job of off-shore fisherman having more risk to lives.
So when I ride my bike through
I watch on my right for an opening door, but I wasn’t watching carefully when a woman opened her back door on the traffic side of the car in a theatre district on Rue de Clichy, just as I was passing.
Thump. The pavement was unforgiving.
I had been overconfident because it was a taxi, and it is illegal for a taxi rider to get out on the street side.
So much for the law!
Another time when I let my guard down was on crowded Avenue de Clichy, not to be confused with Rue de Clichy, a street that reminds me of
Bam, thump, #//??##.
I was able to get up with only a couple of bruises. My admiration for jockeys increased. What really makes it more dangerous for a rider of race horses is that they want to win and I just want to arrive.
You might think that, well, a rider becomes a millionaire so he can afford to take the risk. But when I lived on the backside at
Each time I go down, I get up with increased admiration for the jockeys who, as partners with the horse, make horse racing the great spectacle.
PS. Someone please answer this question. When Alan and I are on the road this summer raising money for Thoroughbred retirement, we, like horses, will carry weight. Part of the weight we carry is in our lunch packages, usually a sandwich, fruit and a bottle of water.
After we’ve stopped in a shady place for lunch and we’re back in the saddle, suddenly our load seems lighter. Less water, no apple, no sandwich.
But it should not feel lighter, should it, because all we’ve done is transfer the weight from outside our bodies to inside.
So why does the load feel lighter? Could this be the argument that dead weight is more of a burden than live weight? If you have the answer, let me know.