Finally it happened. In a family of cyclists I guess it was only a matter of time before one of us would come a cropper. On Saturday morning my 6-year old son became to the first of us to break a bone in pursuit of bike racing glory, sadly smashing into the tarmac on a warm-up lap.
The circumstances of his crash were rather unusual and, no doubt, worthy of a great story at his 21st birthday. There was no touching of wheels. No mechanical failure. No dangerous behaviour from fellow riders. No, the little bloke swerved rather violently to avoid, of all things, a large blue-tongue lizard which was wiggling its way across the criterium track at Sydney’s Dunc Gray Velodrome – and ate bitumen as a result, breaking both bones in his right forearm which at the time was hanging at a rather unfortunate angle.
A quick sling and ice pack, plus a bag of lollies made the 20-minute drive to hospital bearable for the little guy who was clearly more than a little upset with the morning’s developments, especially as he had been very much looking forward to locking horns with his little mate, Rab, who he hadn’t raced for several months. That rivalry will have to wait a little longer.
Not surprisingly, a long day ensued, once again demonstrating the limitations of the public health system. But nine hours later we were back home – with his arm reset and plastered, and some truly hilarious nitrous oxide-induced moments to recount in years to come.
I’m sure the little guy will be back on the bike before too long, but perhaps in more urban settings such as Lidcombe Oval, well away from the scrub that surrounds Dunc Gray.
“I don’t want to ride near jungle any more, Dad.” Okay son, no jungles.
In a nice little footnote, a wag at my club even suggested they set up an award in his honour “Conservationist of the Year” for putting the lizard’s well-being ahead of his own.