Friday, December 04, 2009

It's not a matter of "if", but "when"

Rain or shine, I bike to work. I bike to the boathouse for Crossfit, I bike a mile across town to physical therapy. I bike the 3 miles home. I don my cold gear, my rain gear, my helmet, my red and white lights. Good to go.

My route doesn't change. Creature of habit. I know the lights at rush hour and cross on red if I have an opening. Keep to the right and very rarely weave in and out of cars; around stopped buses and taxis, yes. Signalling my move with a point of a hand and a polite little wave of acknowledgement.

Smooth sailing. A 10 minute jaunt to and from work if I catch my green lights. Not if I do, but WHEN.

Occasionally I'll push my luck. I'll weave a little more than I should, or feel comfortable doing, but I want to get to the front of the line of cars. If I miss a light, my timing is off the rest of the way home. It's a slight irritation. My goal is to catch all my lights without having to stop.

I was in my cold gear, protective, single speed commuting glory yesterday when the "when" happened.

Car, meet bike.. bike, meet car. Now that you've met, pull over and assess the damage.

Doing so was a bit difficult as the driver (who I fully admit did have the green as I was 1/4 through my yellow/red, but didn't bother to slow down and realize.. 'hey, there is someone in front of me.. I should maybe slow or stop and let them pass, or maybe even honk my horn') barely spoke English. I'm sure her English is better than my Spanish, but she called her daughter to translate.

My rear wheel is tacoed - bent and unrideable. My bike is visually okay, but after a little closer inspection last night, there looks to be some small dents in the chain stay and seat stay. Her car is visually fine. She said it's making a noise and doing something funny when she turns the wheel, but I never heard her car running before rear wheel met front right bumper, so I couldn't tell you. I passed on my name, number, and email and will deal with it if anything is wrong.

It could've been worse for both parties. I was fortunate to stay upright on the bike and not have to test out my helmets noggin protection capabilities. She's fortunate to have a van fully intact. We're both fortunate to have insurance.. (I'm assuming she does).

Lesson learned. Slow the eff down. It's not a 10 minute commute home if I'm sprawled out on the hood of a car, in the middle of the road, or under a bus.


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