I’m Hard on Bikes

I didn’t ride at all yesterday due to oversleeping, and not feeling well.  I did go to work, but I drove the truck.  I hate paying for parking.

To make up for it, I rode the full commute today, even with the sketchy weather forecast.  I’ll get back to the weather….

The Crash

I rode my alternate route again, which I really like.  There was a bit of a headwind most of the way in to work this morning, but I was enjoying the nicer weather and the nicer route.

Near this intersection, traffic was heavy, there was an upcoming right-turn lane, and some very rough pavement.  I was so busy checking traffic to move left and get out of what would become the right-turn lane, that I didn’t notice the rough pavement.

One moment I was looking behind me for traffic.  The next moment I was sliding on my back across the road, watching the car behind me come to a stop.  The driver of the car got out, and asked if I was alright as I pulled myself up.  Noting no real injury, just a couple of scrapes and a sore wrist, I said, “Thanks, I’m fine”.  I picked up my bike and attempted to walk it off the road.

It was then I noticed the handlebars were completely askew.  A closer look revealed my right bar-end was broken, and the bars had also rotated forward.  My handlebar mirror had also cracked, but my helmet mirror was fine.

Luckily the bike had fallen to the right, as the left pannier had my laptop in it.  The laptop was undamaged.

I was able to straighten the bars and continue on to work.

During a break at work I rode down to Bike Couriers to have them look at the bike and install new bar-ends.  The mechanic re-adjusted the bars properly, and installed the bar-ends, and I returned to work.

More Damage

I left work in the afternoon and was headed home.  I didn’t make it far when my left pannier (with the laptop!)  caught in the wheel and destroyed the rear fender.  Although the pannier fell in the road the laptop came away unscathed.

The rear fender had folded back on itself, and I thought it would be salvageable.  I got out my tools and removed the rack.  The mounting hardware was ripped completely off of the fender, so I no longer have a rear fender.

I took a closer look at the pannier that fell off, and the clips that hold it to the rack are bent up badly (probably from the crash in the morning).  I was able to get it to stay securely by moving it to the right side of the bike (the wrong side).

The Weather

I was expecting a cool morning commute with a headwind, and mother nature did not disappoint.  I was dressed properly, and slogged through the headwind.

I expected slightly warmer temperatures and rain for the afternoon commute and a tailwind.  I got the tailwind, but the forecast was wrong on every other count.  It actually exceeded 80 degrees this afternoon.  When I left work it was only overcast.  I was wearing cycling tights and a long-sleeve thermal compression shirt.  It was a bit warm for that.

I would have made it home in record time had it no been for the fender incident.  My bike computer showed 61 minutes of riding time, but clock time was over 90 minutes.  On the 2nd Street Bridge, I was approaching the 35 MPH speed limit on the second half of the bridge.  Cars were still passing me.  During much of my commute home my speed was above 20 MPH.  Having a strong tailwind is like having an electric motor helping you along.

Previous Incidents

This is the third set of fenders I’ve been through on that bike.  I’ve destroyed several wheels.  I replaced the chain and cassette on my recumbent (just wore the darn thing out!).  The gravel ride I did in July went through three tubes, and caused me to replace tires.  I’m doing another gravel ride on Sunday.

I’ve crashed twice before todays incident, not counting the many times when I was a kid.  I crashed on my recumbent earlier this year, which led to me sliding across the road on my butt.  No real injury then either, just a little sore.  There were some minor scuffs on the bike.  I had fallen on gravel during a low-speed turn once on Nermal before, but there was no injury, and no damage.

Today’s incident was the first time I crashed in traffic.  It was surreal to have a view of moving cars from ground level, especially while I was still sliding along the road.  I’m glad I wasn’t hurt, and I’ll be paying closer attention to rough pavement.

9 thoughts on “I’m Hard on Bikes”

  1. I actually violated my no-spending policy I have right now when I bought new bar-ends… but I really like the bar-ends!

    Now I don’t have a rear fender and I need to decide if/when to replace it.

  2. Good grief! That was a very dramatic post, I’m so glad that you are ok (and that your laptop is ok!) I’m really glad to see from pictures that you do wear a helmet.

    I hope you have now been disaster-proofed, and will not have any more crashes.

  3. might want to google home-made fender ideas. There are several ideas out there for chloroplast fenders which are supercheap if you can find the material.

    And I echo the others, better to break something than break yourself.

  4. Mark,
    I’m glad I wasn’t hurt too! Thanks. I’m probably more visible at night than during the day. I have extremely bright lights, reflective tape on the bike, and a reflective vest.

    Thanks. I was able to ride the bike in Sunday’s RCCS ride. I probably did more damage to the bike on Sunday’s ride than I did in the crash. I stretched a derailleur cable when it caught on a log. Everything on the bike is coated in mud. Yech!

  5. BTW: I missed you two year anniversary of the start of your journey. I’m glad to see you’re still at it… CONGRATS my friend!!!

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