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One of my biggest hobbies in the spare time is cycling. So each year you'll find me cycling a lot on the bike. A "normal" bike or a race-bike. On my race-bike I made several trips through the Alps, and the hilly parts that are near to me. And in 1998 I made my first holiday on a bike. In that year I rode with a friend from Tegelen (in the Netherlands, near the German border) to the Binntal (in the southern part of Switzerland). The weather in the beginning of 2001 was quite good. This was the reason to start early this year.

Photo 1: the bike-path above the tunnel  Photo 2: on the left side, is where I fell

Photo 3: me in coma On the 16th of March I made my third trip in that year, and I was nearly at home, when... for a still unknown reason ... I rode against a wall. This was the wall of a shaft of a tunnel from a bike-path crossing the road and another bike-path, where I was cycling. And hitting the wall wasn't enough. I fell over it into the tunnel. This is a height of three-and-a-half meters. But because I must have gone over the wall, the police thinks I might have fallen four to five meters. The previous photos show the place where this has happened. The bike path goes a bit aside, and gets a bit smaller there.The first photo is the bike path above. And the second photo is beneath.

Fortunately this was very near to the hospital, and inhabitants of the opposite flat heard the fall. So the rescue team arrrived after a very short period of time. They resuscitated me and brought me to the hospital. The least that the accident caused me was a broken collarbone. I also went into a coma. This is a usual result of another injury: a brain haemorrhage.

Photo 4: the first days in de revalidation center This had caused that after that I woke up after a week I did not know I was awake. I was not able to remember much, and to me, it seemed like a dream. It took me two months for me to know this too. By then I had just exchanged the hospital for a revalidation centre. The therapists there help you to restore your walking abilities and so on. And since I know, I am already able to walk again. When I went to the revalidation center, I was still in a wheelchair.

Photo 5: the wall decorated with cards and paintings

Photo 6: busy with ergo-therapy The therapies I followed were physio, ergo, and speech therapy. In a record time I was allowed to go home again. As of the 1st of July, I went to therapy by taxi. And before that I slept there. When sleeping there, there was still something available from my "former" life: the walls were full with cards of family, friends, and even people from other countries! When I was home again, I was able to go on a holiday. Not the planned holliday (in the week before the accident!), but I went to Belgium with my parents. They had the toughest time! They heard the news from the police, and in the hospital they couldn't predict much about my future. In the beginning: even the chances of surviving!

Photo 7: the prologue of the Giro in Groningen  Photo 8: departure of the Giro-stage in Cologne

In November the therapies stopped completely (only physio, but now nearby). I was a free man, again! And in April I bought a new frame for my race-bike. Everything went great. I was working for four days in a week again.And when the Giro d'Italia started in The Netherlands, I went there to see it! And the following Monday the bikers had to leave Cologne, a German city, very nearby our border. The next Saturday (18 may) I would ride, the last time at this moment was years ago, a trip with my dad. And everything went great again. Until nearing home!

Photo 9: the new bike  Photo 10: the new bike after the accident

My dad and I were riding next to each other. And I saw a car nearing from the opposite direction on a straight road. Enough place to pass, but I said to my father, it was better to cycle on after the other. And that was a good decission. Because otherwise my dad would have been hit by the car as well. The driver (a girl with that had just gotten her driver's license) was lighting a cigaret, and NOT watching the road. That's why she turned the steering wheel and hit me frontally! The bike was broken in three pieces again (after only three rides with my new bike!).

Photo 11: broken leg

But that was not all that was broken. My collarbone as well again, but more serious: my tibia was broken! And therefore I am able to walk again freely for a few days now (after nearly half a year)! Again the holiday plans needed to be changed. Instead of hiking through northern Sweden, I went to Copenhagen, Göteborg, Oslo, Bergen, and Fredericia, together with a wheelchair, by train!!

Photo 12: il maglia rosa (the pink jersey) But I eventually will cycle again. For now a normal bike, but in the future a race-bike, as well. And because my "maglia rosa" (the leader jersey of the Giro) was cut up in the hospital, some paople from England, ordered a new one for me in Italy! And I must be able to wear this shirt proudly!

I know these people from Eurobike, a European mailinglist for cyclists. After receiving seweral card after the first accident, I now was suprised with this gift! And if any of these people read this: some photos on the cards made me so curious to their regions, that I will cycle there once!

Photo 13: working on the tunnel  Photo 14: working on the tunnel

The municipality, responsible for the place of the first accident, should have changed the place, so that my accident wouldn't have happened. This was an order from an earlier trial (I am already number six, who has fallen there!). Just a couple of weeks ago it has been fixed! I took some photos there.

Further on this page:
Photo 1: the bike-path above the tunnel. To the right side of the road is where I fell.
Photo 2: the tunnel. I came from left above.
Photo 3: me in coma in the hospital. My body is swollen by the artificial respiration. At that moment I only weighed just above the 50 kgs.
Article 1: article in a Dutch newspaper about the first accident.
Photo 4: one of the first days in the revalidation center. I have experienced this as a dream.
Photo 5: on my bed in front of a wall with cards and paintings.
Photo 6: one of the therapies with ergo-therapy.
Photo 7: the Prologue of the Giro d'Italia in Groningen.
Photo 8: Mario Cipollini was wearing the pink jersey when leaving Cologne.
Photo 9: my new bike.
Photo 10: my new bike, broken in three pieces, after the accident.
Article 2: article in a Dutch newapaper about the second accident.
Photo 11: my broken leg. Halfway the vissible leg is where the tibia is broken. The wounds on the knee are caused by the bone, when it tried to get out there.
Photo 12: me in de pink jersey on a home-trainer for physio-therapy.
Photo 13: working on the tunnel.
Photo 14: the wall was already partly removed.