Very Nearly Dead

Cyclopath

Shop Owner / Employee
Shop Keep
After a month off the bike from a painful injury, it felt great to be back in action. Today was a solo ride and I felt good from the start. As I pulled from the lot, the bike was smooth as butter, the weather ridiculously gorgeous, my legs were stretching in and feeling stronger than I had expected considering the lack of activity over the last month and the limited saddle time since Thanksgiving. My shoulder even felt pretty good.

I settled in and pushed up the speed. 23, 24, 25 mph at mile 1, this is going to be a kick @** day. My mind on the machine, focus forward and happy, happy to be here. Cars pass slowly. A black van passes and just as I'm at the rear quarter panel, suddenly turns right. In front of me. (!!!NO F*in WAY!!!) I scream nonsense sylables like a freaking banshee, LOUD. (Hear me you M#$$$%%E%!!!!) Slamming on the brakes isn't enough, Nowhere to go. (God, don't let me die here.) Inches away from the van. Then F'in millimeters away from the side door as I bank and turn with the van at 20-some mph, over a sewer grate and close enough to see the tiny metallic sparkles in the paint.

Then... no collision. What??!! Either MTBing has taught me amazing handling skills or the hand of God appeared.
The van rolls down the street as I continue to slow.
Adrenaline surge, I chase the van. Dead end street, they're lost and turn in a lot. I catch them there.

Eastern European woman in her 50's. Basically, I told her she nearly killed me, that she needed to be aware, that bikes can be really fast and do have the right of way. I was loud, I was shaking, I probably could have ripped the doors of the damned car if I tried, but after some guy came out of the building to ask us to leave(I was too loud about not wanting to be killed, I guess)I went my way, she apologetically,("Baby, I so sorry... how this happen?" "You're not aware of what's around you!" "Can you tell me how to get to..." "Are you F*n nuts?") went hers.

Hell of a way to start the day. So, I head back out and find my ride filled with flashes of adrenaline fueled sprints then spans of reduced speed that intersperse themselves with bursts of rehashing and cursing(it's that damned turrette's again;)) over the near death experience.

Idiots far behind, back in with my usually friendly, courteous drivers, I hammer along hearing the munchkins sing "She's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead!". :) A good tempo, I hang onto the song for a while and enjoy the ride. Good thing the sense of humor kicks in fast.

The climbs were not as bad as Saturday, the downhill was restorative to my soul. As I finished the hill, an airplane was coming in to land. We crossed each other. Stupendous. It's not very often a small plane passes so close over your head you can see what the pilot is wearing.

On the way back, two of my shop ride guys are heading in the opposite direction, in the final stretch I see ptgirl heading out for her ride. Cool, I didn't know she was so close, we'll have to ride together.

Unfortunately my chest strap wasn't picking up when the near crash happened, 'cause I was looking forward to seeing the huge spike in heart rate at the same moment as the huge drop in speed. :p Regardless, I pushed my max heart rate up 3 points today to 183. The highest I've ever seen. So I guess that nearly getting killed is a good test of cardiac conditioning. No?:hmmm:
 

jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
Be careful it is a jungle out there.

I see a lot of auto/bike collisions this time of year as most drivers have forgotten that cyclists exist over the winter.

Basically until about May you have to assume that NO one sees you. After that you can only assume that drivers who are cyclist see you.

Wear bright clothes and keep you head on.
 

mike_243

JORBA Board Member/Chapter Leader
JORBA.ORG
great read and hats off to you for not killing the driver or at the very least keying the crap out of the car...
as the summers in the shore areas are overflowing with cars I always assume drivers either do not see me or just don't care...it has saved me a few times.
 

BiknBen

Well-Known Member
A black van passes and just as I'm at the rear quarter panel, suddenly turns right. In front of me.

This is the classic "right hook". Some are worse than others. That was bad. Real Bad! Glad to hear that you rode it out and stayed upright.

Any time someone rolls up next to me slowly or is traveling slower than normal, I'm on high alert. If they get in front of you and hit the brake...look for the hook.

When approaching spots where a right hook seems likely, I will move a little to the left. This helps motorists to see me and discourages them from trying to zip around me. Being Defensive is safe but a little offense doesn't hurt. :getsome:

Once again, glad you didn't get hurt..or hurt anyone! ;)
 

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
Sorry to hear about the run in, and just as you're coming back. I have had that happen before also, and in winter too. It is a jungle out there. I follow Ben's advise about being seen and being on the defense. ......Glad you are OK.
 

jimvreeland

Endurance Guy: Tolerates most of us.
Basically until about May you have to assume that NO one sees you. After that you can only assume that drivers who are cyclist see you.

I assume nobody ever sees me, even if they're looking and waving me to go. Assume everyone in a car is trying to kill you. Also assume that when you come up on a club/disease ride, that they're all trying to kill you. I may even go so far as to say while riding in a paceline with your friends, assume they're trying to kill you. Stay safe on the roads, get hurt in the woods:D

-Jim.
 

Fogerson

Former Resident Nerd
I may even go so far as to say while riding in a paceline with your friends, assume they're trying to kill you.

Word...

'Worst road bike crash of my life was when the last guy in the line "hiccuped" and slowed just as I was tucking back into the rear of the line. My chest and belly looked like hamburger afterwords...and it destroyed my favorite jersey :mad:
 

TommyCrash

Member
I'm with MIG! Trees don't move. I ususally have to go out of my way to hit one. Just when I was going to take the road bike down from the garage rafters, I see/hear/read stories like this and now its going to stay up there.
I really like that picture:eek:
 

Wobbegong

Well-Known Member
I'm with MIG! Trees don't move. I ususally have to go out of my way to hit one. Just when I was going to take the road bike down from the garage rafters, I see/hear/read stories like this and now its going to stay up there.
I really like that picture:eek:

OH stop it!! :getsome:

How many accidents do we pass on the roads? Yet we continue to drive without a thought.

Get that bike down and ride it!
 

Cyclopath

Shop Owner / Employee
Shop Keep
Thanks for the nods, gang.

All good advice and the same that I give to people that ride with me. I always say Be big, be bold, be loud. Never assume ANYONE sees you, even when they're looking at you. There's not much that's subtle about me and while it's amazing that even I can be invisible, I never forget it.

The woman clearly was not fully aware of me, she was looking for street signs and her 20-ish son was co-pilot. She was probably doing 30 in a 35 zone, and I was only about 5mph off her speed on a straightaway when she turned into a small side street. Not that it matters why she made the error, that error was nearly deadly. But after our little chat, I bet she'll never forget to look twice for cyclists again. ;)

I still don't know how I managed that turn, but my shoulder is barking about it today. Ah, well.

Most importantly, don't let my rare incident keep you off the roads. It happened on the first mile of the 30 I did yesterday and it certainly didn't send me home. Just use it as a reminder to be diligent and keep your eyes and ears open.

Stay safe on the roads, get hurt in the woods:D
-Jim.

Nice, Jim. So far, I got my priorities straight.:rofl:
 

TommyCrash

Member
OH stop it!! :getsome:

How many accidents do we pass on the roads? Yet we continue to drive without a thought.

Get that bike down and ride it!

I've been trying to use an argument like that for 9 years to get my motorcycle back. I'm going to win the 'get hit by a car lottery' Not the money lottery, but the car lottery. Seriously, you haven't had any close calls and then ask yourself, 'is this really worth it?' I'm glad the original poster is ok but after an incident like that, the bike would have been on craigslist. I'm really surprised and hats off that he composed himself enough not to do any damage to the van or the occupents inside. My adrenaline was pumping and I wanted to hurt those people. Nicely done?
 

Wobbegong

Well-Known Member
Seriously, you haven't had any close calls and then ask yourself, 'is this really worth it?'

I've had many close calls in lots of different ways. I think we all have. But I'm not going to sit home wrapped in bubble wrap.

Be cautious, be smart, keep your head up, but don't throw in the towel. "There are a million ways to die, choose one..." :)
 

stb222

Love Drunk
Jerk Squad
I've had many close calls in lots of different ways. I think we all have. But I'm not going to sit home wrapped in bubble wrap.

Be cautious, be smart, keep your head up, but don't throw in the towel. "There are a million ways to die, choose one..." :)

well put, traffic is a lame excuse to not ride road. If the roads are too busy, find ones that aren't. with the exception of the really urban areas, most of us can get to quiet roads within a few miles.

glad you are ok. like ben said, if cars are slowing down, beware and make offensive moves before you need to be defensive. take that f-ing lane!
 

Cyclopath

Shop Owner / Employee
Shop Keep
Chips , Dips, Chains, Whips!

I don't know about chips and dips, but today I got whipped by four guys with chains and sprockets. :drooling:

We passed the spot where I was nearly taken out... it was uglier than I remembered. I can't imagine ever taking that turn with speed, much less battling a car. And here I am.:)
 

cjbiiv

New Member
I think survival instinct takes over when "exciting" conditions present themselves. You're able to do more than you ever could under normal circumstances. Glad you're fine.

Sorry to hear about the shoulder...from what I'm told and from what I'm experiencing, healing takes a looooong time. I'm having mine MRI'ed on Tuesday, a little over 3 months and 30 days of therapy later.

Be well and see you in the woods soon...the roads too, perhaps, if you're ever up New Paltz way...
 
Top Bottom