I decided to try a new route for my evening ride the other day. I ended up with the choice of riding on a very busy road with no shoulder or bike lane, or on the ample and well paved sidewalk. I chose the latter.
Forgetting that I was on a sidewalk, and on a slight descent, my speed was a bit excessive for the conditions. Sure enough, at a blind corner about 20 feet ahead of me, a little kid on a BMX came round and a collision was imminent. I slammed on the brakes and veered to the right, but there wasn’t enough time or room, and I went down.
I ended up flat on my back, looking up at the kid, still standing astride his BMX, unharmed, with a surprised look on his face. He asked if I was OK, and I said I was, then returned the query. He was fine. I admitted to going too fast, but told him he ought to be more careful going around corners. Then he took off and I inspected my bike for damage.
Both wheels spun fine, and I didn’t see anything broken or hanging off, so I jumped on and continued my ride. About a mile later I was starting a big hill and need to downshift, and finally noticed that my left shift cable had been yanked almost completely out of the shifter. On further inspection, it seemed it was actually the cable housing (the black casing) that was damaged, exposing the coaxial wires within (full disclosure: I looked a lot of the terms up later. At the time it was just “uh oh, that doesn’t look right…”).
Still, it seemed to shift alright, so I continued on my way, thinking of how and when I was going to get it repaired. This was Thursday evening, and I had a big ride planned for Saturday morning, and of course it was one of the very few times I was riding with other people. I had no idea how long of a repair this would be, or if the shop would be able to fit me in on a Friday afternoon, or if I’d be able to get out of work in time, or, or, or…
While still concocting plans for the repair, I happened to go past my local bike shop, Hello Bicycle. It was 2 hours past their supposed closing time, but the owner and one of the employees were still around, hanging out, letting people (friends? customers from the restaurant next door?) take bikes out for quick test rides. I rode up and put my best ‘please help me’ smile on my face.
And they did! I didn’t have any cash, but I’d been there a few times already this summer for tune-ups between races, and they remembered me. They very quickly hooked me up with a new shift cable and housing, agreeing that I could pay for it when I brought the bike in for servicing Saturday afternoon (which I’d already planned on doing before the crash happened).
Even better, we got to chatting about what races I was doing this year, and how I was going to shoot for Ironman CDA next year. The owner very casually said, “Oh, you’re a triathlete? I have a CompuTrainer I’m not using, if you’d like to borrow it to practice on the Coeur d’Alene course.” Whaaaatttt????!?? My eyes nearly popped out of my skull.
The CompuTrainer is a simulation system that lets you watch a video of a given course while a trainer hooked up to the rear wheel provides resistance to simulate hills. It’s pretty awesome, and very, very expensive. I’d already been planning on saving up to get a basic trainer for the winter months, but this was WAY beyond anything I could hope to afford.
So, I guess the take-away here is that, if you have the opportunity to run over a kid on a BMX, you should definitely do so.