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Velocipede Verses #11: I Had My Helmet On


I'm an avid cyclist who has ridden 30,000+ miles over the past seven years. I enjoy sharing the little I know with interested others.


What do you think happened to me?

I said

And sat further up in bed

A strange bed, too

I never knew

A bed could have so many machines and wires

And be made of steel and up on tires

Or wheels

Perhaps not enough rubber there to actually hold air

So maybe wheels is a better way to say…

But anyway

I digress

Where’s my watch?

I ask

And she’s sitting right there

Next to me, hands in her hair

Like she might pull it all out

Or she is ready to shout

And then does

You got in a bike wreck!!

And I have your watch

They took it off

For your MRI

And she sighs

And I ask why

She is yelling

And her head jerks around

It’s a different sound

Than I’ve made all day

And now walking my way

Is a nice young man in green

I say hi and offer my name

And he notes that it’s still the same

But he acts like I am not

And he’s gone like a shot

And then there are smiling doctors

And nurses

And a hugging wife

I’ve come back to real life

Home from La La land

I’m ready to stand

But they won’t let me go

They want to know

If my head still aches

And it does


I got in a bike wreck

So much yet to check

Not sure I’m okay

But earlier that day

I hopped on my bike

It was something like

Six-thirty AM

On the road again

For my daily workout

Before work

What danger lurked

Around some corner

We still don’t know today

But some way

In a right-hand turn

I crashed and burned

Road rash on my shoulder

Crumpled up like a manila folder

Which is what my dad

Used to call the Dallas Cowboys

And some other choice words

That shouldn’t be heard

In company mixed

But I was so lucky that twixt

My head and the road

A helmet bore the load

A tremendous smashing force

I might be dead, of course

If I weren’t wearing that thing

Cheaper than a ring

But more valuable by far

It now has two scars

One crack down the middle

Which almost makes me piddle

Thinking about it

Holy poo

And number two

It’s got a hole on the right side

It certainly did collide

With something hard

Not in a yard

But on some asphalt

Or concrete

When two things meet

At high speed and stop

There must have been a pop

That thing’s tight

That sphygmomanometer

My odometer

Read 32

Do you

Think I was going that fast

Do I need a cast?

Nothing broken so no

You’re almost good to go

But man oh man

You might have been a vegetable

Not the kind to eat

But the kind that’s sweet

And friendly

Kind of rhododendry

Nice to be with for a while

Fun and always with a smile

But not lucid

Nor aware

Not really there

But still here

Full of cheer

A shell of your former self

The picture of good health

In middle age

But instead of sage

Your advice

Is more like someone thrice

In decades your junior

Or younger, even

My wife then said

As I lay there in bed:

You weren’t leaving

For work when you should

It was also no good

That you didn’t know where the sugar was

Which is weird because

You make my coffee each day

You know the way

With three sugars and cream

But that didn’t seem

Like enough to be worried

Then I asked the now famous query

Are you going to work?!

And then you turned with a jerk

Asked what’s my job

And I said

You’re Chief of Staff, remember?

Since December

Or January

Around there, anyway

And all you could say


What happened to Pickle?

Who preceded you

And I knew what to do

Told you to sit

And stay

And don’t go away

I’ll get the car keys

Don’t move please

Some strange disease

Has taken your mind

I’m being kind

So not saying

But thinking and praying

I’m wrong

And we headed here

To Tripler Army Medical

About 8 AM

Intent to ask them

To see you and fix you

As I drove the car

Up the hill to get here

You wanted to steer

You knew the way

Enough to say

Turn here

And there

And everywhere

Want me to drive

How can it thrive

That part of your mind

But the others are blind

To who you are

And what you do

And why weren't you in a hurry

To get to your team

The Lucky 13s

And where are the condiments

And why did you scream in the shower this morning

A warning

That something’s wrong

I didn’t heed

And didn’t read

The signs when you came to our room

Woke me up and said with a boom

I rode 32 miles just now

There’s no way no how

You’re crazy I said

Rolled over in bed

Turned away

And you went off to the wet splash

Of hot water on road rash

But who knew

That you

Weren’t you just then

And now again

I wonder how you got home

So glad you didn’t roam

All over Oahu

Seeking a clue

A little while ago

I held your toe, you know

In that tube

‘Cause I couldn’t reach your hand

And you were scared

To go in there


I guess

What a mess

And anyway

You’ve had visitors today

They’ve all stopped by

They want to know why

And what

And how

But we don’t know

And so it goes

And that’s how it went

All day long

It’s now 4 PM

And I’m tired

Then she breathed

Almost a sigh

One that I

Am sure

Was of relief

After a day of worry and grief

That must have been long

And arduous

But I’m glad she was


And always will be

For me

And we will continue for long

To have fun

Our seasons in the sun

Like Terry Jacks said

In a song in my head

And also

I’m really super glad

I had

My helmet on

© 2020 greg cain


greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on September 22, 2020:

Flourish - that doesn't sound good! Oh my! To this day, we still don't know what happened to me, but I had quite a headache for several days, and the story of that day in the hospital has turned from something horrifying to a funny day for the family, especially for my wife who can tell this story and bring the house down with laughter.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 13, 2020:

I’m glad this accident albeit serious didn’t keep you from biking. Thank goodness for that helmet! My sister had a serious bike accident as a child back in the 1970s before bike helmets and had two black eyes that lasted a very long time and an elbow injury. My mother was repeatedly asked about abuse(!).

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on August 11, 2020:

John - this occurred some ten years ago. I lived in Hawaii at the time and woke up each morning, did a quick spin through the neighborhood. I believe this and a few other situations have made me keenly aware of the dangers I’m susceptible to, though freak accidents happen as you’ve pointed out with the university lecturer’s tragic accident. Awful.

I will continue to ride on, though, as not doing it would decrease my quality of life in so many ways. Have a good week, John!

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on August 11, 2020:

Abby - I do feel lucky, blessed indeed. I hear and read about folks getting killed on bikes all the time. When I ride past a white bike or on a road where someone else has passed, I take a deep breath and my heart skips a beat. I love to ride, and I want to continue to live to ride again another day.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on August 10, 2020:

Wow! When did this happen, Greg? Yes, it was certainly fortunate you were wearing a helmet. A lecturer at the University I used to work at died when riding his bike. He ran over a stick which caught in his wheel causing him to fall off the bike and hit his head.

Sometimes it takes situations like this to really appreciate the safety precautions we must take and feel lucky we got a warning to heed. Thanks for sharing, and keep on bikin’.

Abby Slutsky from America on August 10, 2020:

Someone in my neighborhood died from a bike crash. It was very tragic; he was just going for a ride at the shore like he did every morning. It sounds like you were very fortunate. I am glad that you used the helmet and it worked. So often, I see children and adults not taking the proper safety precautions. Even if you do, you have to be lucky.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on August 10, 2020:

Bill - indeed, my friend. Indeed. In some things we do learn and then find that today we learn something else new. The trick is to keep up with those marginal improvements in knowledge and apply them so as not to repeat past mistakes. Have a good week!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 10, 2020:

Well we're all glad you are still alive and kickin'. Boys will be boys, am I right, and all the worry in the world ain't going to change that. Still, the hope is we learn a bit of wisdom as we get older, and maybe slow down just enough to be considered safe. :)

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on August 09, 2020:

Right, Mr. Eric! Safety first! I wear mine all the time, daily.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 09, 2020:

Good stuff here. Hell's bells and cocker shells I where my helmut into the shower --- oops that is my brother in law's name - I meant helmet.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on August 09, 2020:

Liz - thank you for the kind compliment; I do appreciate it. No question in my mind that this is all the reason anyone should need as justification to wear a helmet. Helmets can save lives and prevent other permanent damage, for sure.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on August 09, 2020:

Sha - I think we determined I had a very severe concussion, swollen internal parts upstairs for a while and I kept repeatedly asking my wife, “What do you think happened to me?” and “Have you seen my watch?” And I met the nurse attendant guy like 10 or 12 or more times and every time he came in it was like we just met for the very first time...for me, anyway. In any case, part one of this is me coming alive again, snapping out of my veggie state. Part two, which begins with “She said,” is now my wife talking to me explaining her day and so forth. In short, I drink black coffee and she uses the sugar. I make her cup for her in the morning when she gets up. On this day, however, I asked her where we kept the sugar and that got her piqued. I might take you up on the Stevia for my morning cereal, though. Intriguing idea.

I am mostly careful when I ride, much more so now than ever before. On this day, I still have no idea what happened because even back then I wasn’t exactly a daredevil. I did record a speed of 32.0 mph that morning, though, and the area we lived in was very flat, so at some point I was really hauling the mail. We suspect I had a near miss with a vehicle, but hard to say.

Anyway, thanks again for reading my work. It’s always a pleasure to read your feedback.

Liz Westwood from UK on August 09, 2020:

This is an extremely well-worked poem that narrates the events well. If ever there was an advert for wearing a helmet, this is it. Without a helmet the consequences don't bear thinking about.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on August 09, 2020:

Holy Shit, Box! It sounds like you almost died or were in a coma for a bit. And yet, you still ride. More power to you, my friend!

The need for speed is different on the ground than in the air. Although you always need to be aware, the ones on the ground come from nowhere and you don't have an envelope of steel to protect the hit.

Please be careful, my friend!

On another note, do you still take three sugars with your coffee? Perhaps eliminating or cutting back on processed sugar will ease your RA. Try Stevia. One packet equals two teaspoons of sugar. I use Stevia in my coffee rather than sugar. One packet yields me four cups of coffee (when I used refined sugar, I'd only add 1/2 teaspoon to each cup).

This episode has a fast-paced, smooth read, but Lordy Goshen my friend, please be safe!


Sha Sha

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