BMX: A short story

Cycling

The village where I live has a small pump track which I have ridden a few times on my mountain bike. In the summer of 2015, I decided to get a BMX so I could make better use of the course.

Blank Ammo BMX in silver.

I order a BMX and it arrived on Friday 17th of July. Less than a week later, on Thursday 23rd of July, I was back in hospital with another disclocated and fractured ankle. This time it was my left ankle. I now have a matching pair!

I had ridden the short distance to the pump track, to meet some friends on a warm summer evening. When I arrived a friend said he’d fallen off his skateboard and hurt his knee, so he wasn’t riding.

It’s amazing how draining using a pump track can be. It is a totally different skill to normal riding, as you’re using your upper-body to push and pull the bike in the compressions to build your speed. After a few laps I was exhausted and headed home.

  • The new pump track at Great Haywood.
  • My BMX about to ride a lap of the pump track.

As I headed down the hill, I realised the brakes on the BMX aren’t as powerful as my other bikes. Luckily, I managed to slow down enough – using my feet – and turn in to the side-street heading back home. I very slowly rolled through a small hedge-lined alleyway and then hoped off the kerb.

The next thing I know, I am lying in the middle of the road. I look at my ankle and notice it is pointing the wrong way. “Not again” was my first though, quickly followed by “I suppose I should call an ambulance” and finally “I’ve got too much work to do”.

The kids playing in the street gathered and the ambulance arrived. They tried to relocate my ankle with a lot of pulling, but they couldn‘t get it back in the socket. The ambulance sped away with the sirens blarring and this time I was taken to the hospital in Stoke-on-Trent. From my previous experience with a broken ankle, I knew exactly what to expect.

Every time a nurse or doctor walked passed my bed, I deeply inhaled on the gas-and-air, anticipating the impending pulling. However, the next thing I knew my leg was in a cast. I asked a nurse whether I had passed out, but she informed me that I was chatting all the way to x-ray and the plaster room. I can’t remember any of it; I wonder what I said.

It was now around 10pm and they wheeled me up to a ward. They’d booked my surgery in straight-away, and I went in to theatre around midnight. I remember waking up on the ward around 6am, chatting to other patients – I vividly remember one of them explaining in detail how they scraped him off the road after his motorbike had hit a lorry. My accident with a BMX seemed a little bit silly at that point.

Unlike last time, I was discharged that day and was home by 5pm, around 24 hours from the incident. The familiarity came rushing back, I knew how to use my crutches and carry items around the house. As the summer months passed by, I focused on looking after a puppy and managing a lot of home renovations. My next bike ride wasn’t for another five months, a gentle road ride with a few friends on New Years Eve.

The subsequent years were mostly riding fire roads over Cannock Chase or short 20 mile road rides, where I tried to regain my fitness and rekindle my spark. I only rode around 530 miles in 2017 and increased that to 720 miles in 2018, but never reached the levels of the previous years. My enthusiasm for mountain biking didn’t return until I went electric.