“I hope I don’t regret this”

img_1787That’s the last thing  I said as I removed my Nokian Extreme front tire from my winter bike.  The Nokian has 294 steel carbide studs and hooks up on ice like nothing else.  But, on dry pavement, it’s a noisy drag.

The road conditions were pretty decent, so I switched to a non-studded tire.

Six tenths of a mile later I was layed out on the ground.    I hadn’t been looking ahead and found myself going fast on a 100 foot stretch of smooth ice.  The crash was inevitable.

The bike was fine.  I ended up with a crab nebula bruise.

A lifetime of cycling and still learning…

A New #1 on my 2008 Bike Crash List

The Rouge flows through its concrete trough

The Rouge flows through its concrete trough

I think I’ve only crashed two or three times this year.

One was in Birmingham.  There was slick ice on the roads and a thick layer of loose snow on top.  I was running studded Nokian tires, but the snow kept them from hooking up on the ice.  It wasn’t that bad of a crash since you can’t go too fast in these conditions and snow is fluffy.  My riding partners even noted that I was laughing as I fell.

So that wasn’t my number one crash.

It was in the middle of summer and I was on a long ride.  My purpose was to scout the planned Rouge Gateway trail extension along the Rouge River from Michigan Avenue to the Fort Street Bridge.

This segment of the Rouge River had been heavily modified through the years in order to accommodate large Great Lakes ore vessels on their way to Ford’s Rouge Plant.

Keeping the river in a more natural state was clearly not a priority. It had been dredged, straightened, and eventually placed in a concrete trough.

More scratches on glasses = less scratches on face

More scratches on glasses = less abrasions on face

On the bright side, that concrete is somewhat fun to ride.  It gently slopes towards the river and you just need to avoid the occasional dead wood.  It’s like the Dorais Velodrome with any turns.

My scouting ride was following some recent rains, so there were some wet spots where water was flowing over the concrete to the river.  It was no biggie — or so I thought.

One time it wasn’t just water.  It was a slimy, wet algae mix.  I was riding about 15 MPH when my front wheel hit that slick concoction and slipped sideways down the concrete slope.  My handlebar end was the primary contact point with the concrete and a quarter-inch of metal was quickly ground off.  My knees, hands, and face eventually hit the hard surface as well and I quickly slid to a stop.

I took inventory, swore, flushed the blood off my face with my water bottle and got back on the bike.  I really thought about continuing my ride, but all my cleanup meant I was nearly out of water.  Oh, and everything hurt, too.

I rode 15 miles home, cleaned up my wounds, and bandaged my knees and face.  My cut above my eye got a butterfly bandage and didn’t require stitches.  I got a tetanus shot just in case.

Yes, it’s premature to blog about your year’s biggest crash with three months remaining, but I’m an optimist.

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