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I have discovered an unexpected benefit to being off my bike. The other day I went to a wedding and wore a dress, a fairly normal activity for most people. For me, anytime I wore an item of clothing that exposed my legs, it would lead to an onslaught of questions from people curiously asking what on earth has happened to my legs. This time there were no questions, I was happy to go about my business, wearing a dress.

My legs are usually ripped to shreds, I ride with flat pedals and am not always the the most graceful person on two wheels. I was at a race once and my first practice run led to stitches, I landed a jump and slipped my pedal. I didn’t think anything of it until I pulled up next to some friends and noticed some blood running down my leg and on further inspection quite a hole. I was all set to pull my socks up and carry on until the paramedic at the marshal point decided he would like to have a look. So then I was informed that I needed stitches and should not continue on my bike, off I went to my second home – hospital. Think I set a new record there for time on bike to time to get stitches ratio, a solid 2 minutes. No racing that day!

Stitches make washing fairly hard, from that incident I had 8 stitches and 4 Steristrips, neither of which are allowed to get wet. For the next 2 weeks my pre-shower ritual consisted of duct taping carrier bags to my legs to prevent any water coming into contact with my stitches. A leg accessory that I don’t think will catch on!

And so it continued, pretty much every time I sat on my bike my legs ended up shredded. Every time I fell off there would always be a stone waiting just for my legs or a convenient placed bramble along the trail. I have grown to quite like these souvenirs I would pick up on each ride, each scar has a story behind it that I will enthusiastically recall to someone that asks.

Having not ridden a bike for a while now there are no fresh cuts on my legs, there are a couple of big scars from stitches but aren’t really that obvious anymore. Whilst I am proud that my legs show a life of adventure and have a story to tell, it has also been refreshing to embrace them in new ways! For the time being I will be looking after them and giving them a bit more care until the next onslaught of rocky singletrack.


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