Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The curse of three.., sort of

There is this quartet of, umm, let's say connoisseurs of brewed alcoholic beverages, all of us (in theory) cyclists. In the recent past, we have suffered 50% casualties, and the question has been who would be the unlucky third?

Casualty #1 occurred on a Metro area bike path. The cause is unclear, as the vic suffered a concussion, despite wearing a helmet, and can remember nothing before coming to on the ground.

Casualty #2 took place on a Boston street. The culprit is believed to be an oil slick. In this case, the vic broke his clavicle and an unspecified number of ribs.

Of the remaining candidates, one is sunning himself in Florida, and his bike is presumably still doubling as a laundry rack at home. I, on the other hand, have begun commuting by bike two days a week. Despite today's events, I will continue to ride.

There is a bicycle path between the Salem State campus and Marblehead. The Salem end is chastely paved, short, and a fraction of its potential. The Marblehead end is gravelled and negotiable even on skinny tyres. The junction between the two ends leaves much to be desired.

Salem's path meets Route 114 near the harbour, on the oblique, as the original railbed did. Continuing the oblique evidently struck Salem's crack highway engineers as untidy, so they supplied a standard crosswalk at right angles to the road. To hit off the Marblehead path, the cyclist must make a slight left, cross the road, and reach the far side to the right of the path. That's right: the cyclist is obliged to cross the road, take a sharp right, and ride against traffic for 50 yards or so: so much for the rule of law. This doesn't even take into account the barriers at the two bridges just beyond the entrance. Anyone who can get through the barrier much above walking speed is ready for the Tour de France.

One can do all this--just--if there are no distractions. Today, leaving aside the usual traffic, there was a motor scooter. The operator seemed a bit new to the machine, and was piddling down the road in a shaky and indecisive manner. he had clearly not discovered his turn signals, because he never used them. This made yours truly a little confused about Scooterman's intentions. At the last minute I decided to make for the sidewalk instead of the shoulder, since I was on a collision bearing with the scooter.

With my eye on the scooter, I failed to allow for two things: that the soil between shoulder and sidewalk was an unknown quantity, and that there was a sizeable tree inside the arc of my turn. (You see where this is going.) The soil was too soft to support a skinny tyred bike making a tight turn, and neatly pitched me into a turn with the tree as axle and my right arm and leg as bearings. Bare skin doesn't make a good bearing surface.

Meanwhile Scooterman had pulled up next the path entrance, and continued to show no sign of normal awareness, not even to look up and say "you all right?"

These are the sort of extensive abrasion that are not so bad now, but likely to be uncomfortable tomorrow. Considering the relative scale of injury, I ought to count this as 2 1/2, not 3. Meanwhile, I'm adding motor scooters to my cycling Enemies List. One ought to expect a shred of fellow feeling from someone else on two wheels, and that may happen with others. This scooterist had left his clue at home.



Blogger massmarrier said...

Lackaday. Even my sister, still elder after all these years, could only ask me after my recent wreck, "Does this mean you'll stop riding Boston streets on your bike?...I thought not." Surely health and rampant endorphins more than compensate for the occasional comminuted bone.

12:35 am  

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