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The raving thoughts of a misanthropic academic

August 3, 2011

My First Bike Wreck

Lesson Learned

It was inevitable. My coordination and dexterity levels are somewhere around those of the African Bush Elephant.

Today, while riding down Tucson's Ft. Lowell Road, near the intersection of Ft. Lowell and Dodge, I hit a rough patch of pavement that sent me head over handlbars, off my bike. Fortunately for me, the asphalt broke my fall.

When I got up, the first thing I did was look around to see if anyone saw me. I'm not sure why I do this every time I fall. It's not as if I have any more dignity to preserve at that point. Alas, this spill must have been particularly nasty since a local businessman came out of his shop to check on me. Fortunately, only my pride was seriously hurt at the time. I'd give the man's business a plug, but I was too dazed to notice where he came from except that it was out of one of the shops.

Once I had gathered my bearings, and feebly called my wife for a lift and first aid, I took a quick look at the scourge that caused my spill. Turns out, there's a 15 yard stretch of bike lane, eastbound along Ft. Lowell Road that makes the infrastructure of entire third-world countries seem desirable. Unfortunately, while I was humming along about 20mph, I didn't see the massive hole until it was too late.

Photo Aug 03 12 15 42 PM  HDR

In truth, the fall could have been much worse than it was. The bike lane at that point isn't very wide, so a speeding car in the outside lane would have been a real problem for me. But the reality is that I escaped with only a swollen wrist, and a couple of gashes from the fall.

My bike came out of the incident relatively unscathed as well. The only battle wounds that resulted were scrapes on my left Shimano Shifter.

I suppose if there's a moral to this story, it's that the City of Tucson still has work to do to make its cycling infrastructure both convenient and safe. I suppose if I had broken my wrist I would be less forgiving, but as they say in basketball, "no harm, no foul." The problem with this view, of course, is that the next bike rider who comes along and wrecks in the same spot may not be so lucky.

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dude, that stinks. I've been sideswiped by cars a couple times. I've fallen because of wet slick pavement. Once I fell when I was track-standing at a red light and was moving just enough that I bumped into the bumper of the car in front of me. That was REAL embarrasing. One time I didn't fall when I thought there was no way I wouldn't. I was coming down Sabino canyon, tooo fast, and knew I wouldn't make a perticular turn that is right at a bridge. I pictured myself as the image on the signs, a guy flying thru the air and landing on his head on a rock in the river bed. I started to low-side it, but just before my body hit the pavement, I swear that God, or an angel, grabbed my back wheel and had it hit the curb on the bridge at some mathematicaly perfect angle. Instead of flying off into the rocks, I bounced, yes, bounced back up into perfect riding position and found myself still rolling down the road without any pause or harm. I couldn't believe it. I went from knowing I was a dead man to being upright and in control and headed in the right direction. Well, I'm glad you're fine and I hope you don't let it put you off riding. The experiences I've related were spread out over 40+ years. "Some users may experience different results". :)

Tory said...

Thanks for the comment! Sounds like you avoided a nasty tumble out at Sabino. I know the feeling though. I honestly thought I would be able to steady myself before I fell but I was just too off balance to do anything.

I haven't been able to ride since the accident. Too sore. But I'd like to get back out there soon. I really miss it. It's one of the best parts of my day.

Thanks again for the comment.

Tory

Forrest Root said...

Another moral to the story is that it's essential for all cyclists to be aware of road or trail conditions. The accident was avoidable. I'd wager that somewhere in every city there is a dodgy bit of pavement that can bring someone down if that person isn't aware of the road conditions.

Given the current budget conditions and divisive political environment (everywhere, but certainly in Tucson), I wouldn't count on road fixes being made quickly.

With all that said, the road conditions in Tucson are really pretty damned good. The only time I've had any issues with road surfaces has been when my attention lapsed for a moment.

Tory said...

I agree to an extent. Tucson does a better job than most of keeping the city bike friendly.

But I don't think it's unreasonable for Tucson to fix a yards-long pothole on a major bike route. That's not a political issue. It's a liability issue.

Anonymous said...

That's not a "pothole". A contractor cut the road and didn't repair the cut properly. Glad you are ok.

Tory said...

@Anon - Thanks for well wishes. I'm fairly well recovered on balance.

Regarding the segment of road, at this point, I think it's generally less interesting to get the terminology right than it is to actually have the section of road fixed.

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