It happened on the 14th – and I should have written something then, but better late than never…
I was going to ride my bike all the way to and from work that day, but I got a late start. Often when I am running late (i.e. over slept) I just take the car, but today Stephanie had to have the car for a doctor’s appointment. So I offered a compromise that Stephanie would take me and my bike as far as she could on the way to her doctors appointment and I would ride the rest of the way. In the confusion that followed I forgot to get my helmet and gloves. Stephanie took me about twelve miles toward my work — I rode (without a helmet) the other seven miles to work. It was uneventful, except for the fact that I had never taken this route before and there wasn’t a bike lane for most of it. After work, I was not so lucky.
At five o’clock, its already getting dark and I don’t have a helmet. I caught the bus. The bus doesn’t go straight to my house – there is an exchange at 59th ave. I’m not going to wait 20 mins for the next bus when I can cycle home in about the same amount of time. However… its dark AND I don’t have my helmet AND there is no bike line on 59th BUT I do have the required front light as well as a rear light not required by law, soooo I tell myself I can take the canal from around 63rd and Union Hills. The problem is, you can’t get to the canal from the north side of the road and you are not supposed to travel against traffic on the side walk. I had to make a choice – go a mile up the road to 67th, cross to the south side of Union Hills to travel WITH traffic back to the canal, or cross to the south side at 59th and travel AGAINST traffic… I made the wrong choice.
I cross 59th and head toward the canal, against traffic. The reason you aren’t supposed to ride against traffic, if not obvious, is that cars pulling into the street don’t expect traffic from their right. Pedestrians can walk against traffic, but they don’t travel at 15-20 miles an hour. So… I’m well on my way when I see a large truck pull up from a side street – looking left for oncoming traffic. I slow down because I know he isn’t going to see me. The oncoming traffic passes and the truck starts forward – so far exactly as I expected. I’m almost at a complete stop by this point. Here is when bad things happen.
The truck starts forward after the traffic passed, but then the driver looks right, sees me and stopped. Well, I guess the driver didn’t see me – but he did stop after looking right at me. I saw him stop and *assumed* he was stopping for me. I stand up on the petal and pull forward – so did he. I jump off the bike as it gets pulled under his bumper, then jump back on the sidewalk to get out of the street I was just pushed into.
No, my life did not flash before my eyes. Do you wanna know what was going through my mind at that exact moment? “I have my light on!” Really – I even shouted it as I pulled my bike out from underneath the trucks bumper. The guy got out of the truck looking very shocked and concerned asking if I was ok. I quickly checked my bike for damage but it was dark and I couldn’t really see any. Besides, I was a little embarrassed from the fact that I was headed the wrong way down the sidewalk. I told the guy that I was fine, the bike was fine, and he could go. He asked twice if I was OK and even put his hand in his pocket as though he were about to retrive some cash to *fix* the situation (although I don’t know if that was truly his intention). So he left reluctantly.
I get back on my bike and start to petal – and that is when I noticed my wheels were both grinding against the brakes, completely bent out of shape. My front brakes were damaged, I had at least two broken spokes, and both wheels needed to be ‘trued up’ as they say. I have since put my bike in the shop for repairs that will cost me about $50 bucks. A costly lesson – DON’T RIDE AGAINST TRAFFIC EVEN IF YOU ARE ON THE SIDEWALK.
The good news? I’m ok and I used the opportunity to get a new computer for my bike since mine stopped keeping track of my miles about 100 miles ago.