Thursday, April 29, 2010

VE's Fantastical Bicycle Tales

Today’s Theme Thursday is BICYCLE. I can do that in my sleep. I have enough bicycle tales to last for a week of posts. Some are grizzly, some are ridiculous and some are awe inspiring. You see, I’ve been a bicycle fanatic most of my life. I did an 800 mile tour back when I was only 17. I’ve ridden 200 miles in 12 hours. I did a solo 140 mile bike trip in one day around Mt. Hood in 90 degree weather (there was 40 miles of continuous uphill). I commuted 34 miles back and forth to work every day by bike for two and a half years in every type of weather. I’d sometimes have to wear my ski goggles for my hill decent it was so cold. I even took the city map and biked every single road in a 30 mile diameter from my workplace over a period of six months so that I could say I’d ridden everything on one side of Portland. It’s a good way to learn your city.

But here are a few stories…

SPROCKET MAN


The backstory: I cycled up to a place called the Astoria Column in Astoria, Oregon. It’s a really steep ascent to the top and I was in the low front sprocket going up but didn’t bother to shift to the upper one going down. Part way down my breaks weren’t working and I picked up enough speed that I was out of control. To save myself from death I steered the bike off the side of the road and toward the hillside. What I didn’t know was that there was a drainage ditch right where I’d chosen to veer off. What I further didn’t know is that while trapped in toe clips, the front sprocket worked just like a circular saw and ripped into my ankle. With blood all over I made my way down the hill and into a neighbor’s yard. They got me to emergency and 15 stitches later I was good to go. The ankle doesn’t have a lot of meat to it so to this day I’ve got a pretty obvious scar from that incident and I ALWAYS remember to shift to the upper sprocket now.

CRASH ME ONCE…SHAME ON YOU. CRASH ME TWICE…SHAME ON ME

I’d just come off being hit twice in the same year and I was commuting back home on the bike again when this lady decides to turn right while I’m next to her. She caught me unaware and all I could do was lean. I was leaning out of balance against her car as she proceeded forward. I’m screaming at her to stop and of course she can’t hear me and finally I run out of car and tumble out onto the pavement…still in my toe clips. Amazingly I wasn’t hurt and the bike wasn’t damaged so I let her go. I proceeded home and about two miles later I’m just cruising along a neighborhood road when my handlebars suddenly drop and I crash…messing up my thumb. Apparently the bike wasn’t completely undamaged…

WHY I NEVER TRY A WHEELIE

During my bike tour we had to go down about 40 miles of steep winding descent through the forest with drop-offs here and there to add to the atmosphere. As a teen, I had no fear and tore down that barely within my control the entire way. At the bottom I stopped to talk with another bike tour member and moved my bike off the road and the front wheel fell off. Apparently it had loosened up so much during the tour it was just ready to fall off at a single chance. Had I hit even a stick or rock going down…I probably would have crashed badly…


And these stories are just the beginning...but I'll save some of the others for another time...

47 comments:

Mrsupole said...

Fear of heights would keep me off that bike in the last pic. Love the bike stories.

God bless.

Tom said...

wow...you practically lived your life on a bicycle...but what's your brand? Huffy or Schwinn?

nursemyra said...

how does that guy in the pic get on and off his bike?

Ziva said...

If these were just a few of your bicycle stories, I'm not sure I want to hear the rest. For me, this would have been enough excitement for an entire lifetime of riding a bike.

Brian Miller said...

dude, you had it rough on the bike...that quad bike...no way...lol.

sharonheg said...

All those accidents...did you ever think the bikes were trying to tell you something? Like, oh I dunno....WALK?!?!?!?!

Subby said...

Been looking at gettin' a new touring bike, meself. Not into extreme biking tho' ( at least not any more...um... )

And what? You've not done the Tour de France yet? C'mon!!!

Roy said...

VE, I think the bike is trying to tell you something (like maybe GET OFF BEFORE I KILL YOU!).

The Incredible Woody said...

I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike.

järnebrand said...

After a crash you want to check your bike for damages, I mean really check it... I know. I have been there. :) Loved your bicycle post! Happy TT! Love/ Jo.

nanny said...

Great post....tell us more!!!!

PattiKen said...

Ouch! Ouch! And OUCH! You may have just summed up why I seldom get on a bike.

Roy Scribner said...

I bet you shaved your legs, didn't you?

AngelMay said...

Fun stories. No way I could ride so far. I'm a wimp-ess when it comes to exertion. ;o)

anthonynorth said...

I had a fair few accidents in my bike days, too.
Enjoyed this post - between the winces :-)

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Toe clips have lead to my downfall many a times.

Quirkyloon said...

Wow. I once was standing up holding my banana seat bike (I was 6 yrs old) and somebody bumped into us and the bike slid down my leg and cut deep.

38 stitches later it was pronounced that I would live.

I live.

lime said...

i can believe everyone one of these. husband and i did a bicycle trip from PA to CA summer of 87. quite a few stories from that adventure too. Oh, to be clear. he biked, i drove the support car, cooked, laundered for all and set up and broke down camp each day.

Harnett-Hargrove said...

Hello Veteran of the Bike! Great stories, glad you are still in one piece. Umm, right? -J

Jill said...

Well, if you haven't had a rich amount of experiences! Whoa!

Write another bicycle story soon huh?

Tammy said...

An interesting love story: A man and his bike. It's gotta be love to keep going back.

Monkey Man said...

P-town!?! Mt. Hood!?! You're talking my neighborhood. Still in the area?

I too have done many a ride and have ad my share of tumbles, but nothing serious. Even when I road STP. I have been lucky, but I have been witness to some nasties.

Great stories.

Baino said...

I was exhausted after the first paragraph!

VE said...

Mrsupole – It is way up there isn’t it?

Tom – I wore out a Raliegh Professional and then got a Bianchi but it’s a red one, not the typical green. Weighs practically nothing and is very fast. I avoid the rain with it though…

Nursemyra – Helicopter?

Siva – I have many lifetimes of bike stories…

Brian – Even I would avoid the quad bike these days…

Sharonheg – It’s like this with everything…I once ran into a deer while running at night…

Subby – A nice touring bike would be my next bike…

Roy – It keeps trying…

Incredible woody – I am the epitome of the Queen song…

Jarnebrand – I knew better than to trust it but I was in a hurry to get home of course…

Nanny – In a future installment…

Pattiken – Once must risk in order for one to live…

Roy – Never! I wasn’t that fanatic…

Angelmay – And that’s ok…to each their own…

Anthonynorth – There much funner to tell long after the pain is gone…

Perpetual chocoholic – Oddly I’ve never just fallen over like so many I know…

Quirkyloon – That’s a LOT of stitches…are you sure you didn’t die and come back as a zombie?

Lime – That sounds like fun! I designed a course to go through all 48 during optimal weather everywhere. It was tricky. I watched the weather every day for three years to test my design and it essentially worked. Now just to ride it. I need 15 months to do it though…

Harnett-hargrove – Yes…still one piece…

Jill – I shall…

Tammy – Or…stupid is as stupid does…

Monkey man – Oh yes…over on the west side of town still…I did the one day STP back in 93.

Baino – Mix a fruity rum drink and you’ll feel better…

ReformingGeek said...

Good Gracious Almighty!

No, I will not cycle with you. Ever.

Betsy said...

Wow..you really do need to start a weekly series..the Bicycle Series! Wonder how many miles you've gone in total?

Elizabeth said...

Did you ever race??

Janna said...

Wow. (!!!)

You might want to look into this new thing I've heard about.
It's called "Being A Couch Potato" and it's a lot safer.

Hardly any broken bones at all, and usually no stitches.

Except for the ones holding the sofa together.

Changnoi said...

Wow what a cool bike in the picture!

Stan Ski said...

I've had my share of scrapes on bicycles too.

Tracy said...

Wow, you really are a bicycle fanatic! I have a secret life in which I am a bike fanatic, too. :-) Happy TT.

Kris said...

Is that a Spacely Sprocket?

Jingle said...

http://itistimetothinkformyself.blogspot.com/2010/04/from-friends-to-friends-awards.html

Happy Thursday!

CatLadyLarew said...

After reading about these disasters, I think I'll just keep my bike in the basement from here on out!

lime said...

we took 65 days and went in this order
Pennsylvania
New York
Ontario
Michigan
Wisconsin
Minnesota
South Dakota
Wyoming
Montana
Idaho
Oregon
California

driving home was 3.5 days though
California
Arizona
Utah
New Mexico
Texas
Oklahoma
Arkansas
Tennessee
North Carolina

We saw the Grand canyon and Zion National park in the same day. Yeesh.

VE said...

Reforminggeek – Wise decision!

Betsy – I’ll bet I’m close to 100,000…

Elizabeth – No. I kind of wish I’d tried…I think I would have done good; I do well uphill. I’ve done some duathlons before. I once did a team one where I took back to back uphill bike segments through the mountains. I was in really good shape at the time and the guy on our team that rode before me wasn’t a very good bicyclist so nearly the whole field had passed him by the time I got on my bike. I tore up the mountain at about 17mph average and passed virtually everyone in the field. That was a good day…

Janna – I do some of that too but I’m far too hyper to stay in one place for too long. I’d be blogging, writing a post and watching a movie while I eat…

Changoi – There are a lot of those odd custom bikes around Portland. People like to be different here…

Stan – They’re good for telling the grandchildren years later…

Tracy – Secret lives are fun too…

Kris – I believe it is!

Jingle – Thanks

Catladylarew – You can ride in spirit…

Lime – Interesting. You really took a Northern route. Was that the bicentential bike route? I’ll bet you biked the Oregon coastline, didn’t you? It’s clogged with trailers and retirees. The terrain is beautiful if you ever get a sunny non-windy day…which is like 10 days a year. But, by bike you see so much more than by car…which I see from your duration back…was true.

Dreamhaven said...

Love those stories, not the pain. Glad you're still here with us.
That guy on top of the bikes is a lot braver than I'd ever be

Megan said...

A paraphrase for you:

"I will never...get on...a bicycle...ever...again. Please god, don't let me die!"

Leslie said...

Ain't life a bike....

Love your stories

Moondustwriter

Marina said...

what? you ran into a deer?
you should be a cartoon... hahahahaha [sorry I can't stop laughing]. i'm sorry if you hurt yourself, but it's funny to picture....

what happened next?

http://nprimopiano.wordpress.com/2009/07/10/tired-bike/

lettuce said...

ouch! i shall be more careful with my sprockets from now on

Jaime said...

i definitely think i'm safer not riding a bike than riding one with you... no offense, of course :)

VE said...

Dreamhaven – I endure the pain to prove all of you with good entertainment…

Megan – You have chosen wisely…

Leslie – Apparently more bike than not for some of us…

Marina – The deer episode was kinda weird. I thought they could see in the night. Perhaps it was just bigger and didn’t care and wanted to see if I could see in the dark…which I couldn’t…

Lettuce – That’s good advice; you can thank me later…

Jaime – None taken. I try and avoid human contact whenever I go anywhere to reduce the collateral damages…

The Silver Fox said...

If God had wanted Man to ride two-wheeled contraptions, he never would have invented Henry Ford. Or something.

VE said...

silver - I love the "if God had wanted" argument thesis. If God had not wanted me to rob the bank he wouldn't have invented guns and put a welcome mat in front of the bank!

The Silver Fox said...

Or this one, from some comedian whose name I can't recall, "If God had wanted men to fly, men would have been born with airline tickets!"

VE said...

silver fox - That doesn't necessarily mean you'll get to fly...