Oxford, sadly, is not set up for cycling. Whereas Boulder practically had its own highway system for bicycle riders, it seems that people here prefer to drive. Well, Ted and I are on a mission to change this! We'll start simply by setting an example.
This past weekend we rode into town to get some Starbucks wi-fi for Ted's Fantasy Football draft. This morning Ted rode into work on his bike, and I merrily pedaled off to the coffee shop to write a blog post and check my email.
After safely maneuvering through a couple busy intersections and over some train tracks, I pulled off the street into the coffee shop parking lot. As I turned in, however, I was met with some kind of large concrete insert sticking up out of the asphalt! In my surprise, I made a sharp turn to avoid it, which caused my heavy bike basket (filled with laptop, bike chain, and school workbooks) to tip the bike.
Down I went! Hard. Like, hands-splaying-in-front-scraping-across-pavement-while-legs-are-tangled-in-bike style:
It's been a long time since I've fallen off a bike. The last time I was mountain biking on Mt. Hood (Oregon) and flipped over the handle bars when my front tire stuck in a ditch. I landed flat on my back, but aside from having the wind knocked out of me I was unharmed. It didn't deter me from riding bikes then, and this fall won't deter me from getting back up on my bike tomorrow.
BUT.... Here is the major lesson I learned from my fall today: No more biking in flip-flops.
This is not Boulder with nicely manicured, smoothly paved bike paths along the babbling creek. This is Oxford, with cracked asphalt, potholes, drivers who are not used to bikers, and strange concrete blocks sticking up just far enough to knock you off your bike.
This is "closed-toe shoe" biking country.
Lesson learned. As soon as that blood blister goes down enough to wear closed-toe shoes comfortably, I'll get right back on my bike.