Friday, July 25, 2008

A cautionary tale

File under some category like "Damned if you do . . . " or "Stuff happens" or "Be sure to wear your helmet" or some such:

Yesterday I went to Brownie's for my first haircut there, and was made to feel right at home (thanks, Ronnie!). When I told Ronnie I was a cyclist, he told me that two of his regulars are as well, then told me a story about one of them.

This fellow, a lawyer who bike-commutes to his office daily, approached the intersection of Hydraulic and Douglas(?--I know Hydraulic is right) recently, where he found some street construction that caused him to think that it would not be safe for him to be on the street with cars as well. He decided to get to the corner and cross at the crosswalk. While he waited for the light to change, a car, approaching the intersection too fast, swerved to miss the road equipment and ended up jumping the curb at the corner, hitting the cyclist and knocking him into the air. He had trouble catching his breath; the motorist who struck him thought at first that he was having a heart attack when she came over to check on him. She called 911. Ronnie jokingly asked him if she had a heart attack when she learned that she'd just hit a lawyer.

The cyclist ended up with a couple of broken ribs and a crushed helmet that very likely spared him a serious head injury. I suppose that that's the real take-away from this story; I mean, aside from just not having been at that particular place at that particular time, what else could this man have done to keep this from happening to him?

On the other hand, I don't think Ronnie was trying to dissuade me from this cycling stuff. After all, he told me that I and my bike are welcome there any time.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I just found your blog and read most of the back posts. I started biking to work in Wichita in May. My ride is from Twin Lakes area (21st & Amidon) to downtown. I ride the river trail to the Hyatt basically. I think that's about 6 miles one way. I bike on days that I don't have appointments outside the office and when it's not raining. That's worked out to be 2 days a week though I hope to improve that average. I've been using a back pack to bring a change of clothes and my lunch to work. These past few days have been excruciating because of the heat. You mention panniers in a few of your posts. Just wondering what type you have. I've not found any cheaper than $65-$70. Is that pretty average? I thought maybe a nice set of panniers might get me through some of the hotter days. How do you deal with the heat?

John B. said...

Hello, csim. Thanks for reading and for commenting.

You ask about the heat. Today was especially hard for me this morning as I returned from McConnell back to my place. I sweat profusely (TMI, I know), and so hydration is what I have to be careful about. All the advice I've read about hydration advises you to drink before you feel thirsty, and that seems to work for me. The nights before I know I'll be riding out to the base, I drink a little extra water, too. I also took some Gatorade with me this morning in addition to the two water bottles I usually take, just to be sure. Even so--today, even after drinking somewhere around a gallon of fluids this morning, it didn't seem like enough. I made it back okay, but I felt pretty rough there for a while. So in answer to your question . . . I just suck it up, try not to push too hard, and just do it.

Panniers: Yeah, they're expensive. I've not had the money to get any yet--next payday, perhaps. If anybody reading this can offer some advise on this, let us know.