Mr. CiclaValley Goes Down!

Invulnerable. Ethereal. Superhuman.

These are all words we associate with ourselves when we are on our bikes. Crashes don’t happen to us, only other people. Like, them.CVCrash

The reality is it happens to us all. You may be well prepared and so may the ones around you, but precisely predicting each other’s actions at a very moment takes a Matrix like ability.

In other words, we all crash.

During our marshal training ride on Sunday, we were testing an alternative road to help resolve another safety issue, but we served as the guinea pigs, so you don’t have to be.

We were riding on a quiet street that was cursed with a channelized rut running down the center of each lane. There was enough space to ride two abreast on this empty road, but I’m always wary of these hazards after going down into one of these on the old Figueroa bridge.

We were riding steady enough until the surface started adding potholes to the mix. From that point, the road was a bit of a minefield and I thought it best to bring it back to live another day.

Of course, at that moment, the rider in front started to swerve around a pothole as another person moved into his blind spot.

Conclusion: someone is going down.

It happened to be the cyclist who made the initial move, leaving me with partial time to react.

Fortunately, I was able to break and maneuver correctly to avoid a speedy collision, but it was still metal on metal.

My manicurist will be pissed!

I landed on my left handlebars scraping two of my fingers and bruising my quad along my frame. No major damage, but still, I took a second to let things breathe.

The fellow in front of me got off easy relative to how hard he went down. He had some major scrapes on his legs and elbow, but most importantly, the bike was okay.

Ride leader extraordinaire Wayne Howard, also known as “Ride Time” in the cycling underground, brought up a point that if you’re not sure of your surroundings, you may have to take one for the team and go straight through that pothole.

It’s a rule I try to stay true to, but it’s always hard in practice. The funny thing for me is, when I’m on my cyclocross or the CV2000, I don’t think twice about it, but when I’m on my road bike with 23mm tires, I can’t say I’ve always been as resolute.

Strangely, I’ve stayed true cycling in larger groups pushing the 30 mph envelope more than on smaller, more casual rides.

There’s something about riding on high alert when actions are more tense versus a comfortable pace when you least expect it.

Which do you think is more dangerous?