15 December 2008

Over the bars, Part 3: Utter stupidity

Posted by todd under: Crashes; Raleigh Super Course .

I will ride in any kind of weather, but I will not ride on ice, I tell people.

On this night, I remembered why. Thank God my leg was not broken, so I could kick myself.

About two weeks ago, I rode in through the rain (nothing unusual). The temperature dropped while I was at work.

On the way home, I took it pretty easy. Upon discovering that it wasn’t *that* slick, I started to pick up the pace a little. (I was riding the Raleigh Super Course with Wald bars on it — a nice setup — I like to push it a little, when I get the chance.)

Alongside Commonwealth Stadium, approaching Alumni Drive, there’s an asphalt walking path. It’s smooth, and it declines slightly — a perfect place to accelerate. Out of habit, that’s what I did.

I noticed, as I approached the intersection, that a car was coming and that I would not beat it across the street. I barely touched the front brakes. Then I realized about four things in the same two seconds:

— The tire was skidding.

— I was not slowing down.

— The front wheel was turning.

— I was about to make intimate contact with the pavement.

The wheel slid such that it was at about a 90 degree angle to the frame, and over the bars I went. Well, almost all the way over the bars — I sort of got hung up on the bars, and landed on my right side.

I got up and rode home none the worse for wear. Again, it could have been much worse. It’s easy to sprain or break a wrist, or break an arm, in this type of a wreck.

What did I do wrong? I didn’t follow my own advice — go slowly when there’s a chance of ice.

When I did figure out I was on ice (which was before I braked, by the way), I should have guided the bike onto the grass before stopping.

But no … someday I will learn …

One Comment so far...

dr2chase Says:

24 June 2010 at 9:32 pm.

Old post, I know, but if you reliably get ice (we do on the trail here near Boston) there’s a lot to be said for (carbide) studded snow tires. I prefer Nokian, of the ones I’ve tried, I like Nokian 240s best.

If you don’t often get ice, I’m not sure it’s worth it, because they add some rolling resistance.

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Yes, that's me, Todd Van Campen. No, I'm not wearing a helmet. Yes, I usually wear one, so please don't scold! Seriously, I endorse wearing a helmet! Pinky swear! In fact, I almost ALWAYS wear one (while riding a bike anyway). (On the other hand, if YOU don't want to wear a helmet, I have no problem with it.) I don't remember what happened on this particular day. Fortunately for all of us it makes for a less-nerdly picture. My exceptionally talented professional photographer friend Charles Bertram took this photo.

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I asked my 6-year-old son, Caleb, an avid bicyclist and artist, to draw a bike for me. I think he did a great job!

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