June 02, 2004

The Perils of Cycling

I left work early today - beautiful day, but a bit windy. Creve Coeur Park opened up its trail that connects to the Katy trail on Friday, and I wanted to take a look.

After about 14 miles, I decided to head the 2 miles back to my car and call it a good after-work ride.

If I were to describe the trail at between 3 and 5 in the afternoon on a weekday, the first word would be "empty." And we cyclists like it that way - means we have fewer worries when we get up to or near training speeds. There's one stretch, though - the "feeder" part of the trail...the part where most of the parking lots (and my car) reside. I actually thought this over. It's so true.

I'm about 1/4 mile from my car, when I notice two little girls riding really near each other on their kiddie bikes - don't think much of it. They're heading out to the main part of the trail, and I'm heading back to my car, so we're traffic in opposite directions. I'm going about 17 - 18 mph. When I reach them, the smaller of the two girls, who (by this time I've finally noticed is not looking anywhere but down) cycles into my lane. She doesn't swerve - she RIDES. Her whole bike is there, almost perpendicular. And I just couldn't stop that quickly. Other girl is in proper lane, can't fall that way (didn't even have time to process this). Sand to the right (would've been the better decision). No, I try to stop. I fail.

I smashed into her. My 150+ pounds of self and bike collide with maybe 50 pounds of girl. And not lightly, either. I'm so shocked, though, that I don't tense up at all, and my first thought of myself (sprawled on girl on trail) was, "wow, that could've been worse."

Her sister, who's probably 10, untangles our bikes and starts to scold the little one (who's wailing up a storm, and, amazingly, only a small scratch on her). I help calm down the little one by pointing at my oozing elbow and cracking jokes about how fine I am (probably because of shock or what have you...because about 5 mins later, zow, that hurt). She finally calms down, and I (after looking both ways to ensure cyclistwalkerrollerblader traffic is not going to be impacted) move her across the trail into the grass.

The girls' father (who was for some reason not with them at collison time) finally approaches on bike. And apologizes. It's pretty clear older sister has filled him in on the details. I point out the young girl's cracked helmet and remind him to replace it. It's "used." The older sister picks up my sunglasses and looks strangely at my mirror. I say to all in earshot, "that's so I can see behind me and pay attention to everything."

When all's said and done, my derailleur is a bit beat up, and my handlebars are all off, and, of course, I did just get this bike a tune-up. But a kind guy who sees or hears me clopping (my clips make noise) back to the car gives me a hand with it and says it won't need another tune-up. So, that's good.

When I got home, I surveyed the damage. Elbow - wow, oozing, bleeding, ugly, and bruised. But that's all. Left quad and thigh took a pretty bad beating. I iced them and will hopefully be ready to ride again by the weekend, but probably not tomorrow.

Any good come from this? Hopefully that father won't leave his children unattended. It's a good lesson in wearing your helmet, too (comment directed at everyone). You never know when a non-attentive kid will suddenly ride into you for no reason. And for the girl - I'm very glad she had hers on. I could've done her some serious damage.

St. Louis people - Creve Coeur trail's great. I didn't actually ride on the Katy - figured I wanted to get home in time for dinner, so I'll check that out next week. Looks to be stable enough for a road bike. Never been on it.

Good night. I'm going to go ooze elsewhere.


Posted by hln at June 2, 2004 09:52 PM | Cycling | TrackBack

Just glad everyone's ok.

Posted by: Harvey at June 3, 2004 09:04 AM

Do you have a good idea of where to get a bikie for around $200? Thew girlfirend and I are starting up.

Posted by: Jim Durbin at June 3, 2004 11:08 AM

Do you have a good idea of where to get a bike for around $200? Thew girlfirend and I are starting up.

Posted by: Jim Durbin at June 3, 2004 11:08 AM

Yeow! My husband had a similar experience on a bike trail - bent the front wheel. Now he prefers to take his chances with cars instead. *sigh* I'm glad you weren't badly hurt! For those bruised muscles - hit Whole Foods or one of your local natural health stores and pick up some Arniflora gel. Good for bruises and sore muscles, doesn't smell!

Posted by: Teresa at June 3, 2004 03:41 PM

On the other hand, the little black decal of the little child on her bike looks really cool.

How many more until she's an ace?

Posted by: Brian J. at June 3, 2004 07:24 PM


Assuming, of course, that this is her first confirmed kill ;-)

Posted by: Harvey at June 4, 2004 06:42 AM

Glad you're OK. My black decal collection consists of: 1. a very large jogger who asborbed the impact nicely, 2. a car door that broke a rib cleanly 3. two small trees that exhibited surprising mobility in jumping right out in front of me, and 4.(in an encounter which was immediately preceded by the thought, 'Now who put that there?', Lake Michigan.

Posted by: Scott at June 4, 2004 09:08 AM

After surviving car vs. bike and me accident, I am a staunch supporter and pusher of helmets while riding ANYWHERE. Due to my fear of another car hit, we now do most of our riding on the bike paths in Sacramento.

We have noticed, though, that little kids, when you are going by them, look at you and when they do, they aim right for you. They go where they look. They scare the heck out of me. Them and the suicidal squirrels that constantly dart in front of me.

Glad you are okay. Even though you are oozing, at least it's not brain fluid.

Posted by: Bonfire7 at June 5, 2004 10:32 PM

Mucho relieved only parts injured are those that regenerate. I'm 100% with ya on the helmet thing.

Take care of the appendages... hope you're comfortably back up to speed.

Posted by: Light & Dark at June 6, 2004 09:05 PM

Off topic: I'm getting twitchy without my Angelweave fix. Can I expect a hit soon?

Posted by: Harvey at June 7, 2004 09:22 AM