By Bella Caswell

As I walk through my high school with a neck brace, arm in a cast or sling, or other hospital swag that clearly shows I have an injury, students, teachers, and others in the school will ask me what happened. From that moment I’ll go on to tell them about a crash that happened on my last ride, that usually goes something like this: “I was riding down this trail having the sickest time, and I went to hit this line, but I’m slowly trying to understand that trees actually don’t move out of your way when your zooming towards them (haha), and so, I then hit the tree and went over the bars (otb). Next thing I knew, I was on my way to the hospital when I felt like I was spinning, couldn’t move my arm, or any other injury that could have occurred. But it could always be worse as I injured myself doing what makes me the happiest”!

From that moment when I said what happened, I get a lot of comments like, “Oh my goodness Bella!”, “Maybe you should take up another sport, biking seems so dangerous,”or “You should try swimming, golf or tennis.” Although nothing is wrong with swimming, golf, or tennis, I couldn’t imagine myself without biking. To others, this sport seems to be “risk vs reward”, which is very true and biking does take a lot of methodical thinking when you’re going down the trail. But, it is something that not everyone understands until you, or someone you love truly knows the point of why you’re doing it. To me, it can go like this. You buy a bag of candy at your local corner store, the most popular ones, and safest to bet on that will taste good, will be the colours like red and blue that consist in the bag. This could be equivalent to let’s say, soccer and football. Although red and blue are always good flavours to count on, there are a few people who might love purple, which could be biking. Something not as expected or understood, but to people that like that flavour, they don’t know why they’d pick any other one.

It’s a funny process, because as I’m injured, the only thing I want to do right now is go out for a ride. Which seems crazy, as it is the thing that gave me the injury or put me out of the race season in the first place, but biking is my escape. No matter what is going on in the world, I can hop on my bike, and I feel free. Free from the silly high school drama, global pandemics, school stress and more, I can count on biking as my outlet! So, when I get injured, and the doctors say ,“No more riding for ______ (insert length of time here),” it’s so easy to go right to the negatives. “I’ll get so behind. I’m missing my race season. What else am I supposed to do with my life? Can I still continue when I’m back?” But, sometimes, getting an injury can be a blessing.

As hard as that is to understand in the moment, it is something you can look back on, and realize later. It’s the chance to slow down, reflect and respond on why your doing it in the first place. For me, it’s just an opportunity to fall in love with biking again. When you are at your top and everyday health, you might fall into a routine. For most reading this, biking will be included in it. But, when you have to take a break from that so called “routine,” you notice what parts stand out. Something you would do everyday now seems like such a blessing when it’s taken away from you. So, I’d just like to say, think of the purple candy next time you go for red or blue. You never know how lucky you’ll be to find something that makes you so happy!