There are two different types of bicycle crashes: Those that seem to come out of nowhere (one moment you’re happily riding along and the next moment you’re on the ground)… and those you see coming from a million miles away, but can’t prevent from happening – even with the advanced warning.
On my bike ride over to Nowa Huta I experienced one of the later bicycle crashes.
I was running a little late for my meeting with Ola Pieczara and so I was rushing across a park bike path when I realized the pavement beneath me had turned into a slippery layer of ice and I was surely going down. Time slowed for a moment and then the inevitable happened. The tires slid out from underneath me, my feet came off the pedals, I went up over the handlebars and my bicycle landed on top of me. I had fallen in a large puddle of freezing cold water and my entire left side was soaked.
Even after recovering from the accident it took me a few embarrassing moments to slide off the slippery patch of ice and regain my composure.
A few minutes later I met Ola at our designated meeting point in Nowa Huta and we continued from there on our bicycles, with Ola stopping on occasion to point out certain buildings, churches and places where she grew up, attended school, etc.
We stopped at a small outdoor market, where Ola insisted I try one of the local foods – a piece of deli-style bread covered in a thick layer of mushroom sauce, cheese and ketchup. I took three bites and could eat no more. It was awful and I felt bad throwing away Olas gift. I felt really, really bad.
Then we continued across town to a small park where Ola said she liked to hang out with her friends in the summertime before cycling to her parents’ house, where I met Ola’s mother, father and younger brother. They served me some carrot/apple juice and tea while asking about my travels by bike.
Then Ola and I rode a short distance back through town together before I continued on alone back to my apartment in the center of Krakow.
It’s wintertime in Poland, and even with that small crash on the ice, I’m surprised at just how nice it is here in late December.