I’m going to wait until tomorrow’s blog to get into the latest about my Madone’s ongoing bottom bracket issues. This morning I want to talk about something that happened on Sunday’s ride.
On Sunday’s 84 kilometer (52.2 mile) ride I made a mistake that almost resulted in an accident. I hadn’t mentioned what happened to anyone but Lisa (to be honest, I was embarrassed by my error), but this is probably a good opportunity to remind everyone to ride safe.
Like I said, I’d not mentioned the incident to anyone but Lisa, so I was surprised when a friend of mine, Andrew Tinny, replied (on Facebook) to yesterday’s blog:
So here’s what happened. I was on the South Lake trail (which is a “closed” paved trail system), and coming down a hill at a fairly high rate of speed. Along the trail are numerous traffic crossings. I’m very careful when it comes to checking for, and yielding to, traffic. In this particular case I made a mistake–probably due to a combination of fatigue and speed. As I approached the crossing I thought I was clear, but a van that appeared to be going straight (the driver either did not use his turn signal, or I simply did not see it) suddenly turned in front of me.
I suppose I was doing in excess of 30 MPH when the van turned in front of me, and I locked up the rear brake. My bike’s rear end fishtailed as I skidded, but I was able to recover and straighten up, avoiding the wipe out (and the van).
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. This was 100% my fault, as it’s my responsibility to watch for traffic.
So check out my rear tire after the skid. That picture pretty much says it all. I’ve got to hand it to the Continental Gatorskin tires (700×23): they are awesome training tires! I had 2,500 miles on this set, and I never once flatted. Even after that skid I didn’t flat! When I first got the Madone I flatted three times in less than 600 miles on the stock Bontrager tires. The Gatorskins are a little on the heavy side at 280g, but I think they are fantastic general purpose training tires. I am replacing the current set of Gatorskins with another set.
Closed paved trail systems like the West Orange Trail and the Seminole-Wekiva trail may seem like they are safer than riding on the roads with cars, but I don’t necessarily believe that’s true. There are countless automobile crossings along these trails, not to mention kids, dogs, skaters, runners and walkers. That’s a lot to watch out for, and all of those things break up the flow of the ride. Despite all of that, I do feel safer on these closed trails when I’m riding solo.
I consider what happened on Sunday (or, more precisely, what didn’t happen) a gift and an important reminder. Please ride safe out there, and always err on the side of caution.