I nearly made a trip-to-the-hospital mistake at work on Tuesday. I was checking the chain tension on a fixie by springboarding my fingertips on the top as I turned the crank. As my fingers were bouncing off the chain, the tip of my thumb began to get sucked in. I reflexively jerked back my hand before the drivetrain trapped it.
A fixie differs from a single speed in that the cog is tied to the motion of the pedals. Single speed bikes have a freewheel that allows you to coast downhill without pedalling like the devil to keep up with the spinning rear wheel. Ergo, the force generated by the spinning rear wheel of a fixie is strong enough to gobble up a digit or two.
I told a co-worker about the accident that almost was, and his response was: “Oh, yeah, that would have been really bad. People lose their fingers. There’s a website featuring photos of mangled mitts that were fed through the drivetrain.” (I’m paraphrasing.)
I don’t touch fixies often (they’re not as popular in Victoria as in Montréal), so I had let my guard down.
Yann says his shoelaces once got sucked into the drivetrain while riding a fixie: “My shoelaces broke, but my foot turned blue.”
Then, Wednesday morning, on my way to work, I nearly found myself in a visit-with-the-police situation.
Last night, Yann and I laced up our Nike Decades and headed up to Gonzales Hill Observatory with a flask of phenobarbital to catch a glimpse of NEOWISE before it disappears for the next 6000 years.
The observatory itself is an old weather station and is off-limits to the public; however, the Capital Regional District was kind enough to provide a park bench 20 metres away from the building.
Yann and I settled down on this bench as the sun sunk below the horizon. As usual, Sirius was the first to seep through the evening twilight, followed by the Grande Ourse, which is French for Big Bear, which how they refer to The Big Dipper. Or you’re in the UK, The Plough. Whatever it’s called, it’s the one constellation most Northern Hemispherians can identify. The Big Dipper was to direct us to NEOWISE’s position in the sky.
We sat in the darkness, shivering among the wind-warped Garry oak trees for an hour before scoping the dim smudge that is NEOWISE in the sky. It was expectedly anti-climactic, as we had long missed the window when it was the most brilliant.
Also, there was no flask of phenobarbital, and I wear Adidas kicks.
I’m still around. But, I wasn’t for a while. Yann and I–like everybody else–had to scale back our vacation plans for the year. We still wanted to leave town, so the obvious option was to spend a week on the mainland, where there are more people, and consequently, more infected people.
Our vacation included a few non-vacationy activities. I got my hair cut, skin pumped full of pigment, and made a trip to Ikea.