It had been raining all morning long and I’d resigned myself to a day off. My daughter was diving in County’s so the rain day was probably for the best. Then it cleared up.
I headed home – immediately, if not sooner.
I prepped my bike and rolled, finding that I was going to have a tailwind heading out. The sun was shining between the clouds and it was mercifully mild in temperature.
A guy on a motorcycle passed opposite me so I gave him the international two-wheeled vehicle salute (peace sign, pointing with the left hand and down at about 20°). He saluted back.
I rolled up to an intersection and another fella on a motorcycle went straight through and I followed behind him.
I tucked down in the drops and enjoyed the sunshine and the crosswind. A right with a tailwind, another left and I was into city streets. 25-mph speed limits and relatively safe. Three-quarters of a mile later and I was on city neighborhood streets.
A quick trip through the subdivision and I was thinking about how good it was to be me. There are two banking lefthand corners that are only lefts (or rights coming the other way), so we always hit them fast and lean in hard. They’re why adults ride bicycles, not to put too fine a point on it. I hit the first corner at 25, leaning hard into the corner, looking left through to the straightaway. I felt like an older, slower, fatter Peter Sagan.
Don’t get too cocky on me, you know exactly what I mean.
The second was a carbon copy, only fueled by some tailwind. Through the subdivision to a protected right turn. The cool thing is, that turn banks a little on the inside so if you hit it right, you feel like you’re riding on a rail. I nailed it.
Next up is an ugly intersection. There’s no cheating it, no cutting it short, and no messing around. Traffic comes down that road blind and cars often turn trying to short the corner. I almost got drilled there last summer, a car tried to cheat the corner. If I’d been stopped, one foot down, I wouldn’t be writing this post right now.
The intersection was clear, so up the little hill I went. Into the wind.
Cresting the hill, I saw something on the side of the road that didn’t look right. A heap of something on the side of the road and a woman walking frantically in the street.
That’s when I recognized the motorcyclist from earlier. He was laying back down on the asphalt. I asked the woman if the police had been called as I put my bike in the ditch and kneeled down next to the man who’d beaten me through the intersection five miles before.
He was bleeding slighly from the back of his head and his melon lay unnaturally flat against the road. He was awake, but not what you could call “alert”. He was moving, but couldn’t talk. More of a mumble mixed with a moan.
There were pieces of his leather vest, buttons, and trinkets scattered on the road. His front fender was smashed, and his leg was laying over the seat. The other bent beneath the other. That’s when I heard the sirens. They were fairly close.
I touched the top of his hand and said to hold on, that help was on the way. His arm reached out a bit, but his wrist and fingers were bent in – not unnaturally, but as if he had mild arthritis. Then his other arm, but closer to his chest.
A State Police SUV pulled up and the trooper stepped out. He walked over, so I backed away. Another State Police cruiser, then an unmarked. Another officer came over, looked at the other trooper and said, “He’s posturing”.
I didn’t know what that was until I Googled it after I got home. It’s not good.
The guy who’d hit him, driving a pickup truck with a 16′ covered trailer, put his head in his hands and said, “I didn’t even see him”.
Isn’t that how it usually goes. That’s not a question.
I asked the trooper if he needed me to stick around. He asked if I actually saw the accident and said in could go when I indicated I hadn’t.
I got back on my bike and rolled on, trying to hold it together as I passed a fire truck rolling toward me. A mile later, on a main road again, I saw a cyclist coming at me, one of my friends. He turned around and rode back with me, having just been caught in the rain a couple of miles north of our current position.
I couldn’t shake the look on the guy’s face and the blood pooling up under his head. His praying mantis arms and hands… I said a prayer for him.
I told McMike the story at stop light because I just needed to share it.
I shared it again with my wife when I got home. I Googled “posturing” related to traumatic accidents. It signifies severe brain damage.
Folks, if that motorist had turned in front of me, theres no knowing if I’d survive it. I just know I would have a better chance wearing a helmet. I saw what no helmet looks like, and I don’t want it. Not even a little bit.