Today, I did something I haven't done in over a decade: I crashed my bike.
In the almost four years that I've been commuting by bike, I've managed to stay upright (not counting the two incidents when I fell over because I didn't unclip fast enough) and not get hit by a car. But today, my "days without an accident" counter has been reset to zero.
The first thing I shouldn't have done was try to bring the dictionary home, but I did: a fifteen-pound Webster's New International that we'd withdrawn from the library, and that I intend to tear up to make Dadaist collages. So I put the thing in a milk crate on the rack on the back of my bike, which was held on with bungee cords - a tad precarious, to say the least. It actually fell off before I'd even gotten going, which should have been a hint, but as I rarely drive to work, I loaded it all back up and tried again.
To prevent it from falling off again, I was riding with my right hand on the milk crate, to help keep it on. For some reason, this made that hand off-limits. So when, shortly after pulling out of the parking lot onto Brockett, I wanted to shift to a smaller cog in the rear, which is done with the right-hand shifter, I let go with my left hand and reached across.
Stupid, I know. But, in my defense, I can ride with no hands quite well, and if my balance hadn't been compromised by the dictionary and the odd position of my right arm, I think I would've been fine.
As it was, however, my maneuver caused the front tire to wobble violently, which caused the bike to wobble, and before I could recover, the front tire hit the curb and I went flying, to land face-first on the grass. Which hurt.
Fortunately, no major damage was done - I'm unhurt, my glasses didn't break, and the only damage to the bike was a small tear in the seat. After catching my breath, I loaded everything back up, and made it home without further incident - making a conscious effort to use my right hand when necessary, and not let go with my left. And now, I need a drink.