Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On getting a new bike and then getting hit by a car

I've been looking at new bikes for awhile.  I wanted a road bike to use in my triathlon and to ride around.  I was using a crappy, too small, rusty mountain bike.  But for the $20 I paid for it, it got me around Iowa City just fine.  For the Camp Courageous Tri, I used Matt's hybrid bike and it was so much faster than the mountain bike.  During training, I averaged only about 11-12 mph but during the race I managed a 17 mph pace.  Big difference!
Road bikes can be very pricey, think $700 minimum for an entry bike.  I spent some time on Craig's List, but couldn't find anything that looked good in my size.  And I was really confused on what to look for in a bike and what's a good bike.  So I just bit the bullet and bought a new one at a local bike store.  
Turns out they kind of sell bikes just like cars.  Model years, letters to denote additional features (S, SL, SLX, etc.), and sales to get rid of old models when new models are coming in.  Since they are at a turnover point in model year, they had some great deals on 2011 bikes.  After some debate I ended up buying the Trek Lexa SL, it's a WSD or women's specific design, which basically means it's more compact than a men's bike.  It's so pretty.  

I'm pretty much in love with it.  

The shifters are pretty cool too.  They are incorporated right into the brakes.


Matt likes my bike a lot too.  And much to my dismay rode it around my apartment this weekend.  
I don't mean outside. 
I mean inside, he rode my bike on the carpet of my apartment.
Bad boy.

Back to the second part of my blog title.  
After work I went out for a ride to do some more training for the triathlon (that's this weekend, ahh!) and to get used to my bike.  I found a nice little bike path to ride on for awhile and then I ended back up on the sidewalk.  I was trying to get further away from town where I thought there would be less traffic and fewer stop lights to contend with.  I was minding my own business on the left side of the road on the sidewalk.  I was pedaling at a pretty quick clip and approaching a stoplight.  The light was green my way so I figured it was safe to cross.  Turns out I was wrong.  Very, very wrong.  As soon as I entered the crosswalk the car stopped at the light decided to make a turn on red, without realizing I was there.  I noticed what was happening a split second too late.  The car was moving forward and I had nowhere to go but down.  The car ran into me and my bike.  Not really sure entirely what happened next, it was kind of a blur.  Let's just say I'm glad I always ride with a bike helmet.  I ended up on the ground in front of the car and the chain was knocked of my bike.  
I think I and my bike are mostly okay.  A few minor scratches to the bike, but I am going to get it checked out tomorrow. I think I may have a few minor bruises to my legs tomorrow but we shall see.  
It was a big reality check for me.  Reality: in car vs. bike, the car will always win.  It's a law of physics.  It's much better to ride on the defensive as cars and drivers are unpredictable.  It's up to me to keep me safe.  And also I must always remember the cardinal rule: People in Illinois and/or with Illinois license plates drive like crazy, stupid idiots.  Actually that's a topic for a whole other blog post.
In the end, I think I am going to be okay, but it was quite scary and could have easily gone another way.  
Always wear a helmet kiddos! and adultos!

Have you ever had any scary bike accidents?

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