For Christmas, The Boy and I went to visit my parents. If you're a reader from way back, you remember they live in the mountains in southern Oregon. They were very excited to have us there for nearly 10 days, and planned LOTS of activities for us. Including riding ATV's. As it turns out, shifting with my hand while braking with my other hand is not really my strong point. During my "training session", there was a point where The Boy and Daddy Spatula were yelling "HIT THE BRAKES! HIT THE BRAKES!" I was yelling "WHERE THE HELL ARE THE BRAKES???" You would think the first part of the training would be where to find the brakes. But, you'd be wrong.
Exhibit 1: The Hedge
You don't actually "know" me in person, but you can trust me when I say that the hole in the hedge is the exact shape of an E. Spat on an ATV going full speed.
So, even though any person with an IQ above freezing would know that I am clearly not cut out for the high adventure of ATV riding in the woods, we set off for just such an adventure.
To make the long story short...shifting from neutral into first while accelerating will definitely cause the ATV to go straight backwards onto the back wheels, throwing the rider off onto the rocky path. Hard. And, just as an aside, if this ever happens to you and you hear a giant "CRACK!!", it's not your helmet hitting the ground, no matter what everyone tries to convince you. It's your T-10 vertebrae breaking. Just so you know.
Exhibit 2: My T-10 vertebrae
I didn't go to the hospital for nearly two months. It was two days before Christmas, I didn't want to make a scene and ruin everyone's holiday. My mom was already crying when we showed up from our ride with me covered in dirt and barely able to walk or move. I decided I had pulled a muscle and left it at that. When it still hurt at the end of February, I went to my doctor, had an X-ray, and...well...I guess the picture speaks for itself.
It's feeling pretty much better now. The ortho I went to told me it would probably take 6 months to heal most of the way, and hopefully I won't need surgery. Going to the ER probably wouldn't have changed anything - it still would have been a wait and see thing, but I would definitely have gotten better drugs. No one could believe I survived this on Aleve and a couple Flexeril the first day or two that my mom had left over from a hip injury. It hurt. Bad.
So, the moral of this story, if there is one, is that ATV's are dangerous and I'm a bad shifter. And also, I'm a total badass because I broke my back and didn't even cry!