This weekend had all the makings of being fantastic.

Sunday was Brian’s birthday, so I made all kinds of plans.

First, I cooked dinner. This was all the way back on Friday. I made chicken and baked potatoes and spinach (November dish complete!) and whipped up a little chocolate chip cheesecake for dessert. NBD.

Oh you want some? You’re in luck. I made enough for roughly 38 people. Come on over. (Or, as Ariel might sing: “You want cake? I’ve got plenty! But who cares? No big deal? I want mooooore…cake.”)

Then, on Saturday, I did a little planned kidnapping.

I told Brian to pack a bag and a bike, I rented a car and we drove to various mystery locations. First stop, to make him “feel young again,” was to a place where the floor is trampolines.

If you’re going to bounce, I recommend putting your hair up. Mine was a knotty mess by the time we were done jumping.

One of us was awesome at jumping and doing flips.


One of us…not so much.

This photo provides a bit of foreshadowing. Don’t worry…we’ll get there.

After an exhausting session of bouncing around (which, by the way, did not have the desired “feel young” effect I was going for because we were the oldest people there by about 15 years), we continued driving north to our next hotspot.

The destination for the weekend was Fishkill, NY, a lovely little town upstate.

We had a fantastic dinner Saturday night and got to bed early because Brian had just one request for his birthday: “Go for a long bike ride.”

Long = 100 miles, to be exact.

So that was the plan.

We were going to ride a “recreational century” and apparently I was part of this. Nothing to it, right? Just start pedaling…

I’m pretty sure the last time I rode my bike was in September. But isn’t the phrase something about how it’ll come back to you just like…riding a bike? OH YES. It’s so easy.

But I figured the timing was good. I’ve been resting my body plenty, I’m recovered from the marathon, I don’t have any races coming up and why not ride 100 miles for “fun” (though at this point in my life I’m starting to think “fun” and “torture” are interchangeable terms)?

We woke up Sunday morning and the day seemed a little disastrous for a long ride.

Cold, rainy, foggy…yummy biking weather!

Brian was over-thinking the weather and the coldness factor and the timing of it all, and I was using my typical approach to cycling which is, “just go do it or whatever.”

As always, my goal for the day was “don’t die.”

In a scarier-than-ever turn of events, I came way too close to my “don’t die” goal than I ever would have liked.

The ride was tough from the start. My gears were being funky and it was so cold. My feet went numb almost immediately and there wasn’t a glimpse of sunshine to be found.

The route we followed was gorgeous. Huge houses, Hudson River views, farmland…

Pretty farm! We took a break here because we were lost. Though Brian probably won’t admit that. He’ll say we stopped so he could “warm up his feet.” The lies people tell on their birthdays…

…and even a very cool overpass crossing the river.

Doing “The Brian.” Whenever I tell him to act cool for a photo, he does this move. I don’t have the heart to tell him it’s not actually very cool, so I just mock it incessantly.

The weather sucked and my legs and butt were hurting by mile 30 (pathetic), but the scenery almost made up for it.

At one point during the ride — probably on a downhill — I was like, “Cycling is such a blast! But I also love running! OMG I should totally do an Ironman!” (Because obviously, why not try a duathlon or even a sprint tri — jump right into the big guy, you fool.) I had a really tough time on the ascents, which wasn’t too surprising, but overall I wasn’t cursing my little Trek too much. We were getting along just fine. (I was cursing Brian a bit, though — why couldn’t his birthday wish have been something far more relaxing, like “spend the day in a hot tub” or “eat all the foods?”)

Because we got a later start than we’d hoped or planned, and because it wasn’t a sunny day to begin with, it started to get dark much earlier than we’d anticipated. Also because I was riding so slowly and because we did 4,300 feet of climbing.

We hit 87 miles after a long series of uphills. I was so happy to finally be flying downhill! It had gotten dark out, though, and I was freezing. I was riding behind Brian, maybe a few hundred feet back, as we cruised along a 4-lane main road. (Not ideal, but we had to be on it to get onto the bridge to cross the river…to grandmother’s house we rode.)

Then it happened.

Dun dun dunnnnn.

My wheel hit a grate (at least I think that’s what happened) and it wiggled out of control. I don’t know if I tried to straighten it out or if I just went with it, but the next thing I knew I was skidding across the street underneath my bike.

I remember feeling panicked and I remember my bike coming down on top of me. I remember hitting my head against the pavement and I remember feeling immediate pain in my right arm and shoulder.

I stopped skidding and I was in the middle of the busy road. I remember laying there, watching my water bottle roll across the street, and thinking, “I need to go get my water bottle.”

I was in shock. I knew immediately that nothing was broken. I sort of crawled out of the road onto the sidewalk and saw Brian racing back toward me. Apparently he heard me yell and heard my bike skid and fall, and then turned around and saw me all mangled in the middle of the road.

Notes from Brian: “I got back to you before you got to the sidewalk. I helped you to the sidewalk, then got your bike.” (Thanks, Birthday Hero.) “I also flagged off traffic to go around your bike.”

So Brian saved my life and my stupid bike.

I sat on the sidewalk and immediately started crying.


I remember Brian yelling, “You’re OK, you’re OK” and I just believed him. I was nervous I might’ve had a concussion or something (never had one, so I have no idea what that feels like) since I knew I hit my head, but it’s been a few hours and I haven’t toppled over or passed out or anything, so I’m probably good to go.

The first big bruise that formed was on my ego. I felt badly knowing Brian wanted to ride 100 miles and we only made it to 87. I tried to convince him I could keep going, but he wasn’t having it.

As soon as I registered what had happened — still sitting on that sidewalk while cars stopped (Brian says: “one car stopped”) to make sure I wasn’t dead — everything else started to hurt.

It was dark and I was cold and cars were speeding by, and then I kind of realized: “Holy shit, I could have just died.”

So dramatic, right?

But it’s true, and I had a “super best case scenario bike crash.” We were on a busy road and there were cars going at 45 MPH in both directions. If a car had been closer behind me, it would have run me over. If a car had been coming in the opposite direction, we would have had a head-on scenario.

Imagine how much that would’ve ruined Brian’s birthday!

But instead, I’m fine. Luckily, I’m fine. My right hip, where I must’ve taken the brunt of the fall, is swollen, tender and sore. There’s a pretty hot bruise on my left leg, too, where I think my leg slammed against the bike frame as I fell. I managed to rip through both my long-sleeved shirt and my jacket, and there are multiple shreds in my pants. And my head is pounding. (Mom, relax. It’s not a concussion. It’s a headache. I will wake up in the morning.)

I’m a bit bruised, a bit bloodied, a bit mangled…

Here I am, putting on my very saddest face.

…but fine.

I never ever ever thought I’d have a serious bike fall. The other times I’ve fallen it’s been because I’m too uncoordinated to manage the whole “clipping in and out” function of the bike.

And now, I’d like to retire from this Dumb As Shit Sport.

Do you want to buy a bike?

I’ll give it to you. I never want to get back on my little Lexa. She failed me today and I’m so mad at her.

But ultimately, I’m feeling incredibly fortunate. I fell off my bike — into a busy road — while going fast. And I’m here to tell about it…with a bit of sarcasm, even.

PSA of the Day: Wear a bike helmet, for the love of Cadbury Mini Eggs. Don’t be stupid.

Propped up in the hotel bed. Battle scars are hot.

Also, this is really important: I Heart Sweat shirts will NOT be going on sale Monday at 12 PM as promised. Sorry. I was too busy crashing and burning to get that all together.

The new plan: I Heart Sweat shirts will be on sale here Tuesday, December 4, at 12 PM. Same deal as before. All the colors! All the sizes! All the variety of sweating combinations!

Also something very important of note: I’m too busy tending to my tragic wounds to pick a giveaway winner. So you get an extra day to enter the I Heart Sweat shirt giveaway. I’ll pick a winner Tuesday at 9 AM.



57 Responses

  1. Awww you poor thing. I did a total wipeout once, right before the big Easter family party. I chipped 4 teeth and had bruises and cuts everywhere that I just couldn’t hide. But everything heals and the bike doesn’t look so bad once the sun starts shining again…

  2. Glad you’re okay.

    Was that the ‘walkway over the hudson’ that you rode over? we walked a bit of that over the summer, I thought it was really cool, and I wanted to run over it, but we had all the kids and it was about 100 degrees out.

  3. Hey Ali! Glad you’re okay! That sounded like a pretty scary fall. When I saw your blog post this morning I immediately realized you are on the Walkway in my hometown. I hope you can see it in the spring or fall when it is really pretty up there! Hope you feel better!

  4. Sounds very scary! Glad you’re okay – relatively speaking. Don’t ride after dark! 100 miles is always a long ways but seems much longer in the fall with the short daylight. I’m impressed you make it 87. How did you get back?

  5. You’re a true cyclist now Ali! Only true cyclists have crashes, glad to hear you’re ok if a little shaken. The falls make you more resilient so get back on the bike soon ie; get back on the horse. A teensy tiny request if I may, please please ship outside the US, I live in New Zealand, have followed your blog for a while now and want to be the coolest kid around with an I Heart Sweat tee!

  6. sweet jesus, lady! I’m so glad you’re ok! that sounds so, so scary. And the # reason why i will never cycle. I hope you’re feeling ok today 🙂

    Can you, me and Meggie please go to the House of Trampoline Fun?

  7. Eek! Ali, that was a close call. I’m glad you came through relatively unscathed. You need to get a new helmet. I saw that on some bike safety show a while ago. If you fall and hit your head, you should get a new helmet even if the helmet looks alright, something about the shock to helmet and being able to withstand any future shock.

    Wow. I was so scared just reading this post.

    On an up note, the “No Chewing Allowed” chocolate truffle people are at the holiday markets (Columbus Circle, Bryant Park, and Union Square). Mmm. I bought so many boxes with no real plans to share…. 🙂

    Happy Birthday to Brian!

  8. So glad to hear you’re ok. As someone who has had her fair share of scary accidents (including head-banging, wow-I-could have-died) accidents, may I suggest a couple of things?

    1) Pay attention to your sense of time in the next few days. I once had an accident that resulted in a concussion but didn’t realize it for a few days. Until I started to notice that I was “losing” time. One minute it was 4 pm, and the next minute I was 4:30. Freaky. And then I lost some time and woke up and I’d wet my pants. So I scooted off to the doctor (after changing said wet pants), who told me I had a mild concussion. So pay attention to weird feelings or sensations for the next few days.

    2) Don’t be surprised if you have a delayed freak-out. When I fell down the stairs (by the way, this wasn’t the time I ended up with a concussion), I wasn’t freaked out initially. I actually stayed at my friend’s house for a while, then went home, then went to the ER (where I discovered I’d severed a tendon in my finger), then showered and headed into the office. I worked hard on a project for about a day, and then all of a sudden it hit me. I could have died in that fall. Then I fell apart. So don’t freak out if you get emotionally wobbly one or a few times in the next few days. Very normal.

    3) Get back on that bike asap. In daylight, on a dry day – maybe go for a ride in the park. If you don’t, you risk letting the fear eat away at you. I still regret not getting back on the horse after it threw me off onto a jump (where I bashed my head and knocked myself out – that was a concussion although not the one mentioned in 1 above). I’d loved riding before but I ended up quite leary of it afterward, and I really regret that. So go hug your bike and kiss your helmet (and Brian), and saddle up for another ride.

  9. You planned a great birthday weekend for Brian-you’re good to him, Ali!

    Sorry to hear about the scary bike accident! Super stoked to hear you are okay, despite some road rash.

    My alarm is set so I can get an “I HEART Sweat” shirt sent to me in Texas!

  10. Holy cow Ali! Thank GOD you are ok! I too am a runner NOT a biker – everyone tries to get me to do the Ironman bologna I have NO desire to ever attempt it. Poor Lexi, find a nice home for her…. rest up and feel better!

    1. The trampoline place is called Bounce! It’s about 45 minutes north of the city. (Center Valley is the name of the town I think?) You would have been so disappointed with my skills. There were all these little gymnasts there showing off. I was so jealous of them.

  11. Ouch! You are definitely lucky! I race bikes and falling off of them is something I try not to think about… ever. Don’t let it stop you from riding again though (I have a feeling it won’t).

  12. Whoa Ali!! As a medical professional, I would highly advise to get your head checked out should that ever happen again. Glad you survived. That sounded brutal!

  13. So Thankful Things is moved up to Sunday! Wow. Whoa. Cheers to your good fortune, sexy battle scars, cheesecake, and Brian’s birthday. I’m sure he’d do something dangerous for your bday too. 😉

    BTW – The Hudson River Valley is sooo beautiful. I hope this doesn’t bash your memory of the place. I mean, look at all the people who didn’t run over you or your bike. 🙂

    1. No no no I LOVE the Hudson Valley area! I want to move there when I’m done with NYC. The ride was SO gorgeous — no bike fall will taint those incredible views. And we rode through West Point, which blew my mind. That campus is amazing. So don’t worry. Still in love with the area!

  14. Ali! Holy F! I’m so sorry– that is so scary! Hope you heal up quick… so we can finally go for a run together (I’ll remember my sports bra, promise! ;)) xoxo

  15. Whoa! Glad you made it out ok! We aren’t big bikers, and by not big we mean not at all. There is totally one of those bouncy floor things in Texas, we should try!

  16. dear lord woman, i’m glad you’re okay! I had a nasty bike accident (fractured ribs, bloody cuts and scrapes, the whole shebang) three years back and since retired from my unsuccessful career. but you had birthday hero to save you! i’m glad Brian was there. rest up and feel better soon!

  17. I am so glad you were “lucky enough” to only receive scrapes and bruises from your fall! Hoping for a speedy recovery! And no more night time rides!

    1. It wasn’t even nighttime — it was 4 PM and it was just starting to get dark. I would have fallen regardless of how bright out it was. Plus I have lights on the front and back of my bike and always wear reflective clothing.

      1. You’re right, it could have happened in super bright conditions, no matter when it was. I hope I didn’t sound like I was judging, I wasn’t, I know you’re smart about running and cycling safety. I just hate that you got hurt.

  18. 1. Oh wow, glad your alright! That’s so scary!! 2. Happy birthday to Brian! 3. Would you like to share the cheesecake recipe? It looks insane and I need it! Please please please.

  19. That is really scary.. and I’m pretty sure I have a bike coming my way very soon. Oy. I am so relieved you are OK. Daytime rides only!

  20. Ahh, glad you’re ok! Those falls are so scary and the added blow-to-the-ego is always a delightful treat. I’ve been there… Hope you feel better 🙂 And a happy birthday to Brian!

  21. Sorry to hear about your crash. I worry more about crashing on my road bike than my mountain bike for all those reasons you listed:cars, stupid people driving cars, road rash. It hurts and burns. Glad to hear that you are ok.

  22. Oh no!! I’m glad you’re okay! (and Neosporin the crap out of your cuts, please! That stuff works wonders!)
    That room of trampolines looks amazing though!! So jealous!

  23. Glad to know you’re ok!! that must have been so scary. Hope you are planning to get back on the bike soon, otherwise it will totally put you off any further cycling!! must have also been pretty scary for Brian. hope he had a good birthday!

  24. Firstly…happy birthday Brian.
    Secondly…flipping henry, that sounds horrible. I am so glad you’re okay. Be gentle with yourself.
    Thirdly…back on the bike tomorrow. Just a few miles but she’s a good bike and it was the road who got you! So back on the bike!!
    Fourthly…glass of wine 🙂

  25. Wow, so glad you are okay… AND a super big WOW to that cheesecake… If eating that doesn’t make you feel better I don’t know what will… Feel better lady!!

  26. Crazy scary! Glad you are okay but totally legit to be still shaken up – I would be. Tell Brian, “Happy Birthday!” and giant props to you for the fun birthday plans! Way to go!

  27. I was getting ready to be all “OMG I AM the Little Mermaid and that cake looks delish and yes I do want more, thank you for asking!” and then I kept reading. You have earned all of that cake and then some. Despite the physical and ego bruises, glad that at the end of the day you’re OK. And that you weren’t alone! I’d tell you to go listen to that Britney Spears Lucky song, but I’m pretty sure its not really about bikes or falling….

    [And, if you want to further rule out the concussion, turn off the lights, sit in the dark for a few, and then have Brian turn them back on while watching your eyes. Small flashlight should work, too. Pupils getting smaller when light goes on = good sign!]

  28. Perhaps instead of giving up cycling, you should give up cycling in the dark? I’m glad you’re ok, Ali. But please please–for the love of God– put on BRIGHT (obnoxiously bright) gear to bike in!! Safety first…

    1. Haha, deal! If the ride had gone as planned, it wouldn’t have been dark while we were still riding. But I’m slow. Dang it. (Though the dark wasn’t the problem with the fall, and I have a light on the front and back of my bike. Plus my gear was dark but all of it was reflective.)

  29. Hope you feel better! And don’t let a crash stop you from getting back on the bike! What’s that saying? “When you fall off your bike, you get back on”? Well, it’s horse, but still applies.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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