I've been reading "Need for the bike" by Paul Fournel, following coverage on the Bike Show on Resonance FM.
I see that the Library of Congress classifies this as "cycling - anecdotes". In a way that's true, but it hardly does justice to the contents. It's a remarkable little book, in which Mr Fournel meditates on various aspects of cycling. Some of it goes way over my head, but there are plenty of nuggets that provide new insights into things that I have noticed myself (or things that I now see that I should have noticed).
At one point Fournel realises that he has always mounted his bike from the left, putting his right leg over first. He decides in future to alternate from one side to the other. I too have always mounted my bike from the left (I have at least one thing in common with Mr Fournel), and pushed off with my right foot.
Yesterday evening I decided it was time for a change, so I gingerly mounted from the right, and pushed off with my left foot. It was all a bit strange. I suppose that means I should do it more often.
Soon I was off riding one of my normal circuits, but in the same contrarian spirit, I followed it in a counter-clockwise direction - the opposite way round to my usual habit. Two miles out, the bike was clipped by a car at a difficult junction and I was thrown into the road. My short experiment was at an end.
I was pretty shaken, and a bit battered, but the poor bike suffered more. The pannier rack is badly bent, and the back wheel is out of kilter. I'm not sure whether the frame is damaged, so I will need to take expert advice on that. At minimum there is some repair work to be done. I hope that's all.
Everyone, including the driver directly involved, was very considerate and helpful. I was able to walk the two miles home. I had a hot bath, a stiff drink, and a good rest. This morning, I have acquired a few aches, bruises and scars, but I don't seem to have suffered any lasting damage.
If I was superstitious I could put all this down to my attempts to disrupt the natural order of the universe. But I'm not superstitious - it was an accident, and sometimes accidents happen. It could probably have been avoided, but it could also have been a lot worse. Thankfully life goes on. I suspect the aches and pains will too, for a while.