Riding home from my Sunday ride, on my 43rd mile of the day, I got boxed in on the side of the road – pretty gassed after a decent day on the bike, I had a car coming towards me in the far lane and I could hear one coming up behind me… I had lowered my head for just a second and I brought it up when I heard the car behind me… there it was – a 2′ x 2′ x 5″ deep pothole in my path. At more than 20 mph with the wind at my back, I had maybe a second to react and there was no going around it without becoming a pizza.
Now, there’s no doubt this was just a few seconds worth of a lapse in judgment – when I checked the road before I lowered my head, I thought I was clear for at least the 100 feet I’d have my head down for. I was on an exceptionally smooth patch of road that was resurfaced just two years ago. I messed up, but when I’m looking at the mouth of a chasm that will have me stopping my bike with my face, it really doesn’t matter.
From a seated position, hands in the drops, in one swift move, I pulled up evenly on the bar and with my feet at the same time and executed a perfect bunny hop over the pothole.
Without that move my spring would have been spent in a hospital, recovering from broken bones and a mushed face – possibly worse. Instead, I simply got a nice wakeup and the chance to learn from my mistake.
A bunny hop at 20 mph, on 23 mm wide tires, with a total surface contact area of maybe 15 mm, might seem a little daunting, but it’s not. With the proper balance and a little “hop”, I can clear a pretty decent distance, easily. I don’t recall why I started hopping my road bikes, it just seemed like a wise thing to have in the quiver in case I needed it. Oh how right I was. Two years ago I started practicing until I could clear a manhole cover at speed without killing my wheels or me. This means coming down lightly after the hop.
Now to be sure, I’m not a heavy fellow – currently 170 pounds give or take, and I’m riding on aluminum rims (I don’t know how carbon would handle a hop). I can hop my 27 pound mountain bike just the same, but I can get some pretty good air with my 16 pound Venge. Just a few clarifications because this is an inherently dangerous little trick – come down the wrong way, on the back side of a pot hole or too heavy and you’re pooched. On the other hand, for me, the risk is and was worth it. You’ll have to use your own judgment and consider the risks.
Now, if you’re using platform pedals the act of bunny hopping is a lot more difficult, though possible. Road cyclists, however, are fortunate in that we wear shoes that clip into our pedals because this makes a bunny hop child’s play. Now, I have to interject one fair warning – make sure your pedals and cleats are in good working order before trying this for the first time because I’ve had my SPD cleats pull out on me a time or ten (no, I never crashed because of this, not even close – and I’ve never had my Look Keo’s pull out). That said, at speed with your feet clipped in, all that is necessary is to “hop”, but do so evenly lifting with your arms and feet so that the bike stays straight and flat. I coil my legs first, pedals perpendicular to the ground and then pull up with my legs and arms at the same time.
I started out small, hopping cracks in the pavement at first and that as I grew more comfortable with the process I eventually graduated to manhole covers and potholes. I have done train tracks a few times but I have a tough time making it all the way to the other side and jumping that far means I’m coming down with some force. One misplaced wheel and I have a pretty good chance at popping a tire or planting my wheel incorrectly on the tracks, either of which could be catastrophic so I generally don’t mess with that too much.
Finally, this post mostly concerns solo training. While you wouldn’t want to crash yourself, you’ve gotta keep an eye out for the cyclists behind you. Simply stated, you aren’t allowed momentary lapses of judgment in a bunch.
I don’t care if you can’t eat a cookie without pigging out on the whole box. I don’t care that you have to avoid them like the plague to stay true to your diet. I can’t drink successfully so I don’t freaking drink – I don’t run around saying the world shouldn’t consume alcohol because I can’t. To do so would mean I was an idiot.
We’ve had our run at prohibition and it didn’t turn out too well – though it was good for organized crime, you know, machine guns in the streets and all.
So what’s got my undies in a bunch this morning?
A writer, Diane Hartman, for the Denver Post attacked Girl Scouts and Girl Scout cookies… It’s the way she does it that’s got me all kinds of fired up:
“I will try to make a logical case here and ask readers to stop biting themselves and pretend they can be logical, too.”
Oh, this is a brilliant way to start a conversation – insult the people you want to converse logically with before we’ve even left the gate. Stop biting myself and pretend I can be logical? Go to hell, you dumbass. See, now it’s on so I’m going to have some fun with “logical”:
In fact, let’s take this GS cookie notion a step further and play this out… Pizzas, that she referenced in her article, aren’t what the kooks call healthy, so maybe they should be banned as well. In fact, pasta is overeaten too, so maybe we should round the Italians up, they are the source of both after all, and send them to re-education camps run by Veganazis.
“America is drowning in obesity. Nobody wants to talk about this part of the Girl Scout cookie craze. Take Thin Mints, which account for 25 percent of the sales (and those sales are over $200 million). If you eat four of the tiny things, which no human has ever done, you get 160 calories. The saturated fat in them is 25 percent. They have some trans fat, some palm oil and are high carb … all those things you’ve probably been trying to avoid.”
Well Diane, my girls and I eat Samoas three at a time – yeah, those are the caramel, chocolate and coconut cookies, far better than mere Thin Mints (though that is fairly debatable)… And 160 calories? That’s nothing. I burn that off in exactly ten minutes on my bike. Ten minutes – LESS THAN FOUR MILES.
“Maybe you think by saying, “Well, they’re Girl Scout cookies,” takes all the bad out of them? Everyone has apparently agreed that they are exempt from the list of things that make you fat. They’re soaked in chocolate, of course, and all of us know chocolate has addictive ingredients in it and transforms your brain so you can’t stop eating it.”
Got that ladies? She’s advocating the banning of chocolate as well. And what’s that bit about a “list of things that make you fat”? Nothing makes me fat because I am physically active and I don’t overeat. So this dope is suggesting that because a certain segment of the population chooses overindulgence, we normal folk (and the Girl Scouts) should suffer the loss and turn to broccoli for the greater good… How about this, you nags: Piss off. Here’s my favorite part:
“Another pseudo-reason for Girl Scout cookies is to help Girl Scouts learn responsibility and the business of selling. When the idea first started, the Scouts had a recipe sent out by the main office, so the girls could make them to sell to friends and relatives. Now they get shipped by the case…”
So what!? This discussion would be different somehow if the girls made the cookies themselves? How stupid does this woman think you are?
Oh wait, that last bit wasn’t my favorite part, this is:
“There are clouds on the horizon. We’ve all heard about climate change and it’s hard to dispute it, no matter how it came about. Some people think humans should try to change the scary course of the world. One idea is to use energy-efficient light bulbs. How hard would it be for the squads of energetic, idealistic Girl Scouts to switch from cookies to light bulbs that are good for our planet?”
Now there’s logic for you! Have little seven to twelve-year-old girls sell mercury filled light bulbs that require just short of an immediate evacuation and a hazmat suit should one accidentally break one. Yes, that’s just freaking brilliant – and that dumbass is questioning my ability to be logical? Never mind the idiocy involved in believing that this is actually a viable fundraising idea. I’m going to let the whole global warming thing go – that’s another post all on its own – just take note of the “some people think humans should try to change the scary course of the world”… Yeah, and “some people” believe screwing animals is awesome. I’m not going to pay those idiots any attention either.
To bring this to its humorous close, we get to the bottom of Diane’s lapse of sanity:
“I don’t think my daughter enjoyed pushing those cookies and I didn’t like taking them to my office, hoping someone would buy some so my daughter wouldn’t be humiliated in her troop.”
She’s not even sure whether or not her daughter “enjoyed pushing those cookies” – but Diane obviously didn’t appreciate it, lest her little girl be humiliated by her mom for not selling cookies to people who look forward to this time of year. I wonder how wonderful she would feel showing up with a box of light bulbs, trying to hock those to someone like me – who would absolutely humiliate her. Remember that part in my post yesterday, where I wrote: “The important fact here is that I choose to be the guy who people want to have around – not the guy that causes eyes to roll when they see me heading up the road to the parking lot”? Irony is awesome:
“Even my closest friends get really annoyed when I talk about this.”
No shit lady, it’s because you’re an asshole. Knock it off.