After a few more cycles and a return to running, swimming and yoga too, things were looking good and I thought that I would give the Bungo to Bonnet Town ride another go, but this time avoiding the hill at Neilson. Instead, I made my way along the A77 which runs straight through Strathbungo on its way to Ayrshire. The road starts flat as it makes its way through Shawlands and then gently inclines up through Giffnock before becoming steeper through Newton Mearns and arriving at the brow of the 250m hill at Malletsheugh (best pronounced with a Scottish accent).
The weather here, perhaps not surprisingly, is always worse than in the city. Mist, rain and wind welcome you to the bleak moorland which was once covenanting country. It was even bleaker on the 1st of May 1685 when Gabriel Thomson and Robert Lockhart, were killed there by a party of Highlanders and dragoons, under the command of Ardincaple, for attending an ”illegal” protestant service or ‘coventicle’.
The moors became much more accessible in 1997 with the opening of the M77 between Glasgow and Fenwick. The bonus for cyclists being that the A77 not only became much quieter but a distinct cycle path was introduced providing a safe route from Glasgow to Ayrshire.
I joined this cycle route and battle through the wind, rain and mist turning right before reaching Fenwick and cycled along Clunch Road, so named to reflect the soft limestone which is found in this part of the country. I decided not to take the Cutstraw Road to the Bonnet Town but to continue past the Source of the Cuts Burn, over the Swinzie and down to the B769, where a right turn took me along the Old Glasgow Road and back to Malletsheugh and eventually the A77.
Down I Go
I was now less than seven miles from home and it was all downhill. Within 30 minutes I would be warming my hands around a hot cup of coffee, or so I thought. Down through Newton Mearns but before I reached Eastwood Toll, I saw my front wheel swinging round as it hit a pothole and I was thrown into the air. Whack! My head bounced off the road and then crunch! I felt my left shoulder subside as it hit the tarmac and the rest of my body smashed against it. The pain was shooting to my brain from my ankle, my knee, my hip, my elbow, my head, but most of all my shoulder.
I couldn’t see, I couldn’t move, I just lay there, hurting, in shock and in pain. I don’t know how long it was but I started to hear voices. Someone was telling me not to move as if that was an option. Someone else saying ‘phone an ambulance’, someone saying that they were a qualified first aider. Someone saying ‘that’s Ian Goudie, I work beside him’, someone saying that they were a nurse, someone else saying ‘that’s Ian Goudie; I used to run with him’. Another first aider complaining at the time it was taking the emergency services. I never saw any of them, I can’t recall if my eyes were closed or if it was the pain that was blinding me. ‘Here’s the ambulance now’ said someone. A little while later the pain increased as I was moved from the road onto a stretcher and into the ambulance.
At the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital it didn’t take long for me to be lifted onto a hospital bed, again the pain increased but this time another pain shot through my right leg. It took me a moment or two to realise that this was cramp. If I could, I would have laughed about it instead, I cried. I still couldn’t see anyone but it sounded as if I was surrounded by people. I’m assuming that the ambulance staff were transferring me to the hospital based colleagues and that the police were still in attendance. I do know that I felt someone taking hold of my hand to comfort me and realising how cold it felt called for me to be covered in some form of heating blanket.
My body had cooled down and my hands and feet were freezing but I couldn’t move. I then felt someone tugging at my feet trying to pull my boots off without realising that they had to remove the overshoes first to get to the Velcro on my cleats. In my semi-conscious state, I yelled out and tried to explain the situation, whilst being told to relax and let them do their job.
With the pain, anxiety and morphine all having an effect and my neck support on, I ‘m not quite sure what happened after that. I know that I was wheeled from one place to another and various medical staff introduced themselves before performing their specific role. I do recall someone saying that they were a radiographer and someone saying that they would ‘walk through with me’ and presume that these were the computed tomography patient care team who gave me the CT scan which revealed that I had a fractured clavicle aka broken collarbone.
This fracture is probably the most common among cyclists. Some even say that you are not a real cyclist until you’ve had a broken collarbone. I guess now I can call myself a ‘real cyclist’.
Apparently, when I fell I extended my left arm out to break my fall. The force of my arm hitting the road then travelled through my arm up to my shoulder The collarbone is the weakest link in the chain and is first to break.
To a certain extent, I was lucky in that it’s a simple clean break and, with my arm in a sling, the bone should knit back together in 6-8 weeks. There was no need for me to be kept in overnight and one of the medical staff was kind enough to phone my friend Maggie and get her to come and collect me.
It was about 9:00 pm when I was given a little drink of water, my first drink in over five hours. A nurse helped me to sit up in the bed but my body hadn’t finished yet, nausea quickly set in and I vomited, bringing up green bile.
At least I was fully conscious now and shortly after this and a nurse with a Kilmarnock accent, after being informed that my clothes had all been cut off of me, dressed me in hospital pyjamas made of green paper. She was assisted by a young trainee Doctor who asked if I remembered her. I replied ‘I’m sorry, I don’t’ before she informed me that it was she that had held my hand when they had first brought me into the hospital.
Once the painkillers which the Doctor had prescribed, ibuprofen and co-codamol, had been procured I was helped onto a wheelchair and still ashen-faced delivered to the exit where Maggie had agreed to collect me.
I owe Maggie, everyone who came to my assistance on the A77, and all the emergency and medical staff for helping me in my hour(s) of need. Since 1948 our NHS has been the envy of the world, although it’s under severe pressure at the moment the staff really are amazing. Especially when they instinctively know that what you really need is to have your hand held.
For my part, I’m now a real cyclist but I won’t be cycling, running, swimming or even practising yoga for a while.