7.26.2005

Tour Fever and the Bike Path
and a good ride for someone getting ready for the Shenandoah Mountain 100
this Sunday past I took the boys out in the Burley Trailer for a long ride
attached the trailer to the geared Surly Karate Monkey and pedaled away
it was Grant's first ride in the trailer
which would make it Dean's first ride sharing the trailer
Grant was alseep before my house was out of sight
Dean was not pleased with how little space he had when he was sharing the trailer
yet he was quite accomodating to his younger brother
at this moment he was playing the role of good big brother
a role that can go the way of Jeckyl or Hyde

it was a long hot pedal
did I mention slow
it was a long hot slow pedal with 70 pounds od kie and 30 pounds of trailer
the boys both slept for most of the ride and complained for the rest of the ride
it was hot
it was dam hot

we rode across the river and then out past the Airport a little bit past Old Town Alexandria
the boys woke in Old Town so we stopped in at Big Wheel Bikes for a few minutes
the kids love to wander around bike shops
it was good to catch up with the manager Bennet for a few minutes
after a little stretch of the legs it was back in the trailer pointed to Bethesda
more specifically.... pointed to the pool at my dad's house
days like this are for the pool
only a fool would be out on the bike in this heat and humidity

the kids were both asleep before we were out of Old Town and back on the bike path
we passed the airport which had been selected as a fun destination
planes landing and taking off entertain children of all ages
with both of the kids asleep there was no reason to stop and wake them
so we rolled forward and further
once on the Capitol Crescent trail Dean was awake again
he was hot, sweaty, and complaining
I tried to get him to mellow out
he wanted out of the trailer
so we pulled into Fletcher's Boat House so dean could strtch and I could grab a Gatorade
with the trailer stopped Dean then corrected my actions... he wanted to stop at grandpa's not here
I got a couple of Gatorades just the same
Dean and I refueled while Grant continued to sleep

ready to continue my ride I went up a wooden boardwalk ramp back up to the Capitol Crescent Trail
atop the ramp I looked one way then the other to see if things were clear
unable to see past the couple with a stroller to my left
I had to take a step forward to see if it was safe to pull out
it was not clear
so I stepped back
while stepping back I saw the on coming cyclist brake hard with a look of panic in her eyes
behind her so close that I thought it was a tandem was another cyclist
at first I thought a tandem bicycle frame was cracking in half
then I realized that the following cyclist's front wheel had collided with the rear wheel of the bike he was drafting off of
the first cyclist was able to recover
the second cyclist went down, but not too hard
the water bottle from the second bike rolled up to my feet

I picked it up and handed off to the rider who had fallen

at this point the cyclist in the lead was yelling at me
I accepted the words and agreed that I should be more careful
she continued to yell
I agreed that I should be more careful and listened on
then having heard enough I moved on my way
it was a quick exchange

certainly I had contributed to this incident
but
by no means had I caused this accident
the accident was caused by two cyclist going too fast through a heavily trafficked section of trail
drafting and pace lines have there place
yet there place is not on the multi-use bike path

it seems that these folks had TOUR FEVER
but they were not a break away group
they were on the bike path
the multi-use bike path should be seen as an individual time trial
in this event drafting is forbidden

actually....
the bike path is not the place for training or racing
but
we all often feel the urge to ride fast and hard on shared trails
it is important for all trail users to be familiar with their bikes and their bodies
be familiar with stopping distance and control
always anticipating the worst
and
always slowing for certain variables

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