Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Random Crash Stories. Episode # 1


If you spend any amount of time on two wheels and hang around with the two wheel crowd - you'll eventually witness some crashes and sample some dirt or pavement yourself. Sometimes its funny, other times downright scary. It's all part of the two wheel deal. You can embrace it, pretend it will never happen, or sell your bikes and take up bowling.

Since bad things are supposed to happen in threes - here's the first three crashes that spin out of my head. Sort of like a pinwheel of pain. Enjoy.

Crash # 1.

Timeframe, early 1990s. I'm cruising on the Burke-Gilman Trail and notice a guy up ahead, playing around with his toe strap (remember those?) - head down, not paying attention.

He drifts off the trail into the drainage ditch and bushes that run alongside the trail. Does a perfect endo into the ditch. Well, actually half an endo, since he lands upside down - head and shoulders awkwardly compressed into the dirt, feet still in the clips, some branches through the wheels - holding everything perfectly upside down.

I stop my bike and walk over, assess the situation for a second - then pop one of toe straps, which releases the entire kinetic human sculpture crashing to the ground. We drag his bike out of the ditch and check for damage - human and mechanical. The dude's glasses put a nice gash on his nose, with blood running down his face. He doesn't say a word - just seems embarrassed and pissed off. He pedals away without saying anything, looking a little like Bernard Hinault in the 1985 Tour.

It's beautiful the way bikes bring people together.


Crash # 2.

Same time frame - early '90s. This time I'm driving my car up Simonds Road, a local steep hill. I notice a cyclist heading down in the opposite direction. As he comes into view, appears to be a DUI type guy, sporting a department store 10 speed - complete with drop bars spun over for maximum upright mobility. Moving at a nice clip, he hits the curbing of the shoulder and goes down hard - sliding to a stop on his knees, sitting up. I'd give it at least a 7.5 for style and execution.

I stopped the car and yell out the window to see if he's okay. Dude completely ignores me, gets up and collects his bike - straightens out the twisted handlebars and continues down the hill, looking pissed off and embarrassed.

I sense a trend here.


Crash # 3.

Burke-Gilman Trail once again, but just a few months ago. I'm cruising to work one morning, following - okay, drafting - some older guy on a clapped out commuter bike. He's moving along quite nicely and helping me get to work refreshed and on time. Thanks.

As we approach one of the street crossings near Sand Point Way, I pull back and to the left as my usual practice - to give some safety room. No cars in sight, so we cross at a fast pace - commuter guy stands to accelerate back up to warp speed, then suddenly slams into the ground sideways - really hard. I pass the bouncing body on the left - then stop and run back.

Guy is already up on his feet. I asked what the hell did he hit. Nothing. Crank arm snapped at the pedal hole, causing the pedal to break off. Wow. I ask if he's okay - not hurt at all - and where he's headed. Ballard. Uh, not today. Says he has a cell phone, will get picked up - no problem.

I continue to work, thinking maybe I should check the pedals on all my bikes. Maybe just snug 'em down a bit.


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