KC/DC Cycle

Ride to live... live to ride

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I was thinking over the years about accidents. One memorable one from my teenage years came to mind. A car ran into me when I pulled out in front of it. The oncoming car approached from over a hill and was travelling too fast. I saw it at the last minute and stopped short. It hit my front fork on my Schwinn Continental - bam! The fork bent, but I was spared. That was pretty traumatic. That must have been about 1972.

Another time I was mountain biking on my converted JC Higgins in 1968 and was making a trail thru the woods behind our backyard. Somehow I caught a root or treelimb and went down hard. The front chainring mauled my bare ankle. I was a bloody mess.

At my cousins in Kentucky in my mid-teens I wiped out in some gravel and sand. This was my first and worst really bad road rash. I learned a lesson from that one. That was probably early 70's.

Then on a commute to work in Kansas City I was on a bridge with a metal seam running the same direction as I was travelling. The joint was about an inch higher on one side. I didn't notice it until it threw me off balance. I went down pretty hard and laid down some skin, hit my head, etc. I went to the ER and everything was good. I thought I should have been compensated by the city on that one. This wreck was on my 2002 Raleigh International. It was a beauty with nice Campagnolo Centaur components. The only bike I had with 20 speeds.

I had just finished testing a new bike in 1991 or so and was riding home in Silver Spring. It was the first bike I had ridden a bike that had the STI brifters. I was on my 1980 Austro-Daimler Vent Noir going down a big hill on Wayne Ave. There was a line of cars to my right behind a bus. A car that was at the end of the line behind the bus didn't see me and pulled into my lane. I was able to miss that car but I had to swerve so wildly that I lost control and plowed head-on into a pickup truck. I wasn't wearing a helmet at the time. I bent the top-tube and the down-tube of the beautiful effervescent 531 double-butted tubing. I was so pissed. I had clipless pedals on the bike. I think the pedals and the frame bore the brunt of the impact rather than my hard head. They took me to the ER. I was fine. My bike was impounded because they couldn't bring it in the ambulance. I actually threw the bike away after that. I got a couple other bikes at Goodwill and only kept the pedals. The two bikes I bought were subsequently stolen. I ended up with a nice '91 Paramount with Shimano 105 components. I kept that for about 15 years.

I had a weird wreck that I still haven't figured out. It was about a year ago. I had my panniers on the back of my Bridgestone 400. As I came across a street I lost my balance. The front wheel went into the air and I went down hard. I happened so quick I really don't know what caused it. There was a ripple in the asphalt that would have made the tire jump. Maybe that's all it took.

Then about a year and a half ago a lady passed me down a residential street just in time to make a right in front of me. I was able to brake pretty hard just before impact. I hit her right rear quarter panel and landed on my shoulder. The police came and filed a report. An ambulance came - I refused treatment. I spoke with her insurance company later. Their analysis was we shared responsibility. She had a cell phone and a toddler in the car to distract her. She admitted never even seeing me.

Those are the accidents I can remember in my riding from '61 to '08.