September 18th, 2015

Skoal

Making an Impact


Today is my birthday, and while I'm not at all a fan of arbitrary recurring annualized events, I did find it amusing that today was the first time I've crashed while on my bike. I've been very afraid of crashing, and as I am over 40, always put my wallet in the seat pack for insurance and/or carcass identification purposes.

It was auspicious that they'd recently paved a road I'd only ever driven down as I've often wanted to take it as a alternate route - less traffic and I avoid the roundabout at the Highway 50 exchange. The critical errors were, in hindsight, the fact that it was newly paved (and it was smooth, oh so smooth), and that I had never ridden it before; it was unfamiliar to me. At any rate, right after some elevation change (be it a bridge or train tracks, I don't remember which) I maneuvered to ride along the right side of the road again.

The only issue I have with the aero bars on my bike, is the ease in which one can lose control of the front wheel, as your arms are tucked in underneath you, moving control from the stable, both sides of the wheel to the center - absolutely fine for speeding in a straight line, less so for quick turns. If anyone recalls the tiny lowrider steering wheels made of chain, the decreased diameter also decreased the distance required to turn the wheels. More responsive, yes, but also very easy to overcompensate until familiar with the dynamic involved. Aero bars are a lot like that.

That's when everything slowed to Bullet Time.

I knew that I'd overcompensated. I knew that my front wheel was going to drop off the 4-inches of freshly laid asphalt. I also knew that with my arms parallel over the front tire and all my weight over the front forks, I wasn't going to be able to correct. All that shit happened all at once and I was thrown from my bike. I landed hard on the side of my head, my +1 Helm of Glorious Tanking taking all of the impact.

I jumped up and cut my ride short to head straight home, sprayed some Solarcaine on my scraped knee and swallowed two Advil liquid gels.

I've been afraid of crashing ever since I started riding, but survived, so am no longer afraid.