I’ve had three accidents on my bike.
It’s the third time. Once was on a bridge trying to pass some office lady, the other was when I hit by two men in a car trying to make a right hand turn near a motorcycle racing stadium. The latest episode occurred when I tried to pass a bus. As I approached the bus from behind it got close to the curb and so rather than slam into one Japan’s many concrete telephone poles I slammed on the brakes and flew over my handle bars and landed on my back, if I remember correctly. Anyway, I survived. My new helmet came in handy. I just replaced it last month. My bike is fast and I ride furious. Over the last four months I’ve become a stronger and faster bike rider. This makes it fun and dangerous. Sometimes when you are having so much fun you forget that you are mortal.
One of my worst accidents was in Los Angeles. I was coming down the street and some a##%%&” opened the door to his Mercedes in front of the post office, after yelling at some lady in front of him to move. I crashed into his door but his drivers side window was luckily rolled down. I landed on my hands and knees like spiderman. I got up and he rushed over to me and I got in his face and I asked him “are you alright &$#&#$$$?” I was pissed beyond pissed. He gave me his information. I was ok and so was my bike but again I was lucky.
Back to the story…
I picked myself up off the ground. Nobody seemed to notice what happened. I mean its common for people here to just to stare at you and not say anything in Japan. I rode to my school and started a lesson. My arm was bleeding and so was my leg. My students were not freaked out by my cuts and bruises. My shoulder was a little swollen too. I rode home later wondering how I got so lucky and contemplated slowing down a bit. My bike is now in the shop for a check-up and for some new road tires.
I don’t drive in Japan. I bike everywhere. My co-workers and some of my friends are impressed but also shocked by my actions. Biking does relieve stress. I feel healthier than when I ride on the train and where someone can just sneeze on my back. For some reason here people just sneeze without covering their mouths. I also don’t have to fight with people getting into and out of the trains, even though commuting by train is convenient. So, yeah, I feel a whole lot better rolling the dice and commuting to Ikebukero on my bike, whizzing past cars and busses and schoolgirls and schoolboys.
My longest commute is from Kawaguchi to Ikebukero, to Ueno and then back to Kawaguchi. I don’t have a smart phone but I can read a map. I’m having fun. I’m racing other cyclist, getting in shape and I get to work sweaty and happy.