Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day Ridin' - South Lake Washington on a balmy Sunday

This is Tom. He said he was on his way to work, and decided to sit on this bench, on the Mercer Island bike trail, and play his concertina. He was very nice and let me take his picture. Thanks, Tom!

It's no secret, Mr. Q is pretty bad ass.

Watching him ride, it's easy to be captivated by him, the way he handles the aluminum and carbon fiber rails between his legs, it has almost gotten me in wrecks.

Last Sunday, my card was finally pulled and I wrecked, went over my handlebars. The wreck was caused by inattention. This is because my attention was focused on Mr. Q, who at the time was looking totally bad ass.

Here is my shameful story.

I had seen a few minutes of road racing on TV, and marveled at the stunts pulled by riders and crew alike. At one point, a rider's chain had shaken loose from the smallest chain ring. Instead of slowing down and pulling over and getting his fingers all dirty and nasty with black tar chain gunk, this rider starting bunny hopping, just like when we were kids, jumping the high-end, carbon fiber road bike worth $10,000 to jolt the chain back on the chain ring.

It worked, and it was totally bad ass.

I had told Mr. Q about it, and he decided he would try it.

So on Sunday we were pedaling along Rainer Avenue, between Renton and Rainer Beach, when Mr. Q popped his chain. The ride was a day ride -- a novelty -- around the south end of Lake Washington, about 27 miles.

Lo and behold, he started bunny hopping.

"I'm going to try and do that thing," he said.

Mr. Q's isn't a high end racing bike, but it is a nice bike. Too nice to treat that way, like a younger brother's Huffy. That didn't stop him. I tell him, I warn him, but does he listen? I'm satisfied that he started wearing a helmet.

We were pedaling along, him bunny hopping, me watching. He looked totally bad ass, as usual.

Since I was watching Mr. Q, I wasn't watching the road, and I had begun to drift toward the curb. I didn't realize this until I saw that I was about the hit the curb.

I broke, hard. My momentum was shifting to the right, so it wasn't a simple maneuver, I couldn't just turn away.

My bike slowed down, fast, and just before my front wheel struck the curb, my feet popped off the pedals. I tried to plant them on the ground, but I had too much steam. As soon as my feet hit the ground I launched upward, into the air, and I flew over the handlbars, landing on my shoulder and hip.

It hurt, I got good bruises on my hip and shoulder. But what really sucks is that I gouged up one of my brand new Shimano Tiagra 9-speed shifters and tore back my saddle, leaving gravel embedded in the exposed gel like debris in flesh. Luckily only a couple cars saw me eat it, and I wasn't seriously hurt. My cousin's boyfriend Justin got seriously messed up -- broke his hip -- at a much slower speed.

The thing is, Mr. Q got it to work. The chain popped back on the chain ring. He turned to see where I went and saw me tumbling to the ground.

While watching me look entirely un-badass, Mr. Q almost ran into a parked car.

We agreed that beside the wreck it was a good ride. Saw a bald eagle and a beaver. Met a man on Mercer Island playing a strange accordion-type instrument, smoked a grape Swisher at Porno Bridge. It didn't rain and the temperature didn't dip too deep into the 30s.

Still, day riding is a different experience. More cars, more people.

"Sweating all the bitches in the biker shorts."
-Ice Cube

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