Things I learned when I fell off my bicycle | Bishop

I recently went for a bicycle ride with my husband, his brother and the brother’s wife during a visit to their home. The experience I had relates to my interior relationship.

The Tour de Cure was being held locally and we decided to take our ride during that time. We could enjoy a 30-mile trip through the Virginia countryside on a route that was protected from traffic, with water stations along the way. The weather was clear and warm. I hadn’t been on a bicycle in 25 years, and I was out for fun.

Four miles into the ride, while I was struggling to keep up with my loved ones, I started to make a right turn onto another road. I had rented my bicycle from a shop, and it was new and much more advanced than the 3-speed I’d ridden as a child. I felt I was going too fast as I made the turn and I edged to the roadside while I sought the brakes on the handlebars. Unfortunately, my distraction prohibited me from pointing my bike in the direction I wanted to go. I continued off the road at high speed, and into a deep, narrow ditch.

These are things I have learned since that moment when the ditch appeared.

1. When they see disaster looming, even older women can look and sound like Saturday Night Live’s "Mr. Bill".

2. You can see spots, stutter and become forgetful after an accident even if you were wearing your helmet.

3. People will assure you that it is not unusual to fall off a bike, and this will comfort you.

4. There will remain a small part of you that feels silly for falling off a bicycle—and for doing so much damage? Forget about it!

5. Strangers will come to your aide and help you get to a hospital that appears and disappears into the mist like Brigadoon.

6. Using a bedpan in your 50s isn’t as embarrassing as it was in your 30s.

7. If you have someone who cares enough to help you while you recover, you are lucky.

8. Your dreams will include visions of yourself suffering assorted afflictions.

9. Injuries from falling off a bike are common and typical. Your physical therapist may have suffered the same damage from the same kind of accident.

10. Feeling great at 50 does not equate to being as fit as you were at 30.

11. You are healing, no matter what you think or how you feel on any particular day.

12. When you dread taking your medicine because it must be taken with food, it may be time to cut back.

13. You will try to look forward to riding a bike again because no one should live with a fear of bicycles.

14. After all these years "The Ugly Dachshund" is still fun to watch.

Personal experiences continue to teach us useful lessons throughout our lives.

Ronda Bishop is a licensed mental health counselor and experienced parenting educator. She has worked as a counselor, teacher, and life coach for the past 15 years. Questions for Ronda can be e-mailed to

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