Glorious weekend. Absolutely glorious weekend. Crisp, dark nights, bright pleasant days – just doesn’t get any better than this.
Of course, I worked Friday and Saturday, but still managed to get in a great run Friday evening, and a good run and bike* on Saturday afternoon, followed with some beers with friends in Newport before heading home.
This morning, I woke up early, strapped on the sneakers, and headed out for a run. Three miles in, felt like absolute and complete dog meat. Couldn’t breathe, couldn’t turn over the legs – nothing. Which was very odd, considering A) I’d had a great weekend running last weekend at New Haven 20k, and B) I’d had great but not terribly draining runs the previous two days.
I cut the run a little short, slowed way, way down, and suffered through. Got home, made breakfast, went to church…
About halfway through church, it hit me – my government-provided health care (Navy Medical) had given me a flu vaccine on Saturday afternoon. Me, being the brilliant guy I am, had gotten the spray up the nose, and then immediately proceeded to do 2 hours of pretty solid workout making sure I was sucking that virus down into my lungs. BRILLIANT!
Napped instead of having lunch, still feeling about 50%.
*So, the bike ride, as always, was awesome. Riding Ocean Drive never, ever, fails to bring a smile to my face. There was a little bit of breeze out of the southwest on Saturday – not so much that heading south to the point was super tough, but enough so that the ride from the Southwest corner of Aquidneck Island over to the mansions had a sweet tailwind the whole way. 20 MPH without breaking a sweat is always fun.
Anyway, we’re heading down Bellevue Ave back towards downtown, and there’s bumper-to-bumper tourists trying to find parking for supper in a town that was laid out in the 17th century, instead of just walking or riding. Bellevue’s pretty wide, and there’s usually plenty of “Bike Lane” between the cars and the curb – very pleasant place to ride, even in traffic.
Saturday afternoon in high tourist season – not so much. Drivers are pretty happy to give you the gutter when they’re passing you, but when you pass them …
We’re about two blocks from the stoplight on Memorial when all of a sudden a BMW SUV executes a perfect “Right Hook” in front of me. Traffic wasn’t moving, and the driver, I’m sure, figured they could take the side street around the light. Good plan, except he didn’t signal, just threw over the wheel and hit the gas.
I grabbed two fistfulls of brakes, heard the pleasant screech of Contis on concrete, and simultaneously put my left shoulder into the Beemer and unclipped both feet. I hit the car decently hard – good solid “Thunk”, bounced off, and managed to stay upright with my feet on the ground.
To their credit, the occupants of the car stopped, rolled down the windows, and asked if I was OK. Quick check of me (Nothing in pain, a decent amount of adrenaline, no blood) and the bike (No wobble in the wheels, handlebars still aligned), and I said “Yeah, I’m OK – didn’t see you signal the turn” with the “Jerk” left implied.
They asked again, I said “No I’m fine, please signal next time”, clipped back in and rode off.
- Be Alert – can’t be said enough to both cyclists and drivers. Signal turns, know where you’re going to bailout, make eye-contact, check 6.
- Practice – Bike handling needs to be learned. Go to a parking lot or field and practice grabbing brakes and unclipping at the same time. Play some hoops or soccer, and practice making contact and staying upright. Jump curbs.
It didn’t make me feel lucky to be alive or anything – ultimately, it was a slow speed bump, not an “accident” or anything. Preventable, sure, probably by both me and the driver, or by better construction of roads – a painted bike lane would at least remind drivers that there may be cyclists cruising past when traffic backs up.
Good to get shaken up occasionally; but also a chance to think about the riders who don’t bounce off the car that hits them.