During last weekend's ride, I overheard a cyclist tell his friend that when learning to ride clipless, you will fall three times. I had my third, and worst, fall last night.
I was exiting a shopping center (what my friends and I call the "Bavarian Monstrosity" at the corner of Centreville Road and Sunrise Valley in Herndon) and the driveway was a fairly steep hill. The driver in front of me gunned his car to make a right turn but then hit his brakes. I hit my brakes and unclipped on the right towards the curb. Unfortunately, Circe decided to go left. She never goes left. All my falls have been to the right. But left we went and I couldn't unclip fast enough and went down in front of a car. I hopped up as fast as I could, yanking my foot out of the left shoe and bounded with bike to the grassy spot next to the driveway. I lost a little skin on my left knee because I was wearing bike shorts instead of my usual capris, but I wasn't bleeding much. It took some work to wrench the shoe off the pedal, but eventually I got everything in order and walked the bike up the hill so I could clear my head of the shock and adrenaline.
Eventually I felt comfortable enough to get back into traffic and, because darkness was quickly falling, headed for home. I was a couple of miles from home when I realized that my left brake handle felt weird and I had to put my hand in an odd position to use it. It was only then that I noticed the left horn was no longer 90 degrees from the handlebar; it was more like 75 degrees from the handlebar. That didn't seem good. But it was working well enough and I got home just as full darkness came on.
Today I'm a little sore on my left side -- dull surprise -- and have discovered that I scraped up my elbow as well. The road rash on my knee isn't too bad, but I've got some pretty spectacular bruises. This isn't putting me off riding with a girlfriend tonight; though I will be on my hybrid. Scott works half days on Fridays and will take my bike over to the shop and get them to fix my handlebar. He said he could bend it back into place, but I want the professionals to handle this first repair.