Wednesday, July 27

Reflection in the Rails

I'm going to call July at 303 miles. That's where I stood when I rolled into the Bikeport last Tuesday evening with a freshly separated shoulder. I won't be back on the bike before August 1st unless the zombie apocalypse occurs and we have to flee the city, but in that event I don't plan to keep noting my miles on MapMyRide. My recovery will just have to wait as well.

303 miles with five days off of work before my injury-resulting crash...not too bad. I would have been close to 500 with my normal commutes had I listened to the voice in my head that was screaming "TAKE 32nd!" last Tuesday.

The stress-related weight gain is back on as I resume my birthright sedentary lifestyle. I'm gonna have to start taking walks around the neighborhood until I am back on the wheel. Otherwise I may risk buckling a bike frame.

Stuff like this hits you out of the blue and takes you down a notch. I was riding pretty high with confidence before the crash. Maybe at this point I should be referring to it as The Crash for dramatic effect. Anyway, nothing was slowing me down. The day I wrecked I left work in the face of a thunderstorm...undeterred, unflinchingly confident that I'd be fine through whatever nature could throw at me. But it wasn't nature was it?

Well, I've done fairly well at staving off depression that would have plagued me in my younger years. Other than the physical discomfort I must admit that my convalescence has afforded me much relaxation of mind and body. I can't say a rest from pedaling everyday is a bad things. My legs should be fresh, if a bit weak, once I sit astride the saddle again in the near future. Unfortunately any boost in my endurance and strength gained from a June of intensive riding and hauling nearly a 100 pounds nearly a hundred miles over 4th of July weekend may be lost. Oh well...

I may never cross those railroad tracks on 10th Ave again. I can't decide. They ARE dangerous. I will write a letter to the City of Golden regarding the conditions there. I will also write the guys down the hall and implore them to do something about the drastic narrowing of the road at the railroad tracks. West of the tracks = City, east = County. The City has put in nice bike lanes along wide lanes right up to the tracks and then beyond there is not even a shoulder and the drive lanes themselves narrow. Bottleneck extraordinaire.


Blue was my direction of travel. Red "X" marks the spot.

Nearby on 44th where the RR tracks cross again (10th turns into 44th east of town) there is a bike-specific crossing which forces cyclists to cross at a 90° angle.


The difference in the two crossings is clear.

Water under the bridge, right? Not really, especially if it happens to me again or to someone else. Maybe at least signs? Do signs make a difference to me? Typically not.

What's really shaken me, down to my bones, is that a similar crash with one of my children on the bike would have been catastrophic. I would have never forgiven myself. And I think that may be where the true psychological damage is done. We'll see, when I get back on the bike, if I can transport them and still feel safe and responsible.

Ideologically nothing has changed. I still believe in the power of the bike for families with children. I still see the bike as a viable alternative to the automobile. But in practice how am I going to feel about it as I plan and execute trips on the bike with my family?

ADDENDUM:

When I look long and hard at the aerial image of the RR xing where I crashed I can see there is no safe way to cross them at a 90° angle. To do so would put the cyclist all the way across the lane of traffic and possibly into oncoming traffic. Without stopping and walking the bike across the tracks and then remounting IN the lane of traffic there is no safe option.

ADD-ADDENDUM:

At the end of June I had surpassed 2010 in mileage (2,480). I'm still on track to break 5,000 miles in 2011 despite the low mileage in July.

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