Another Day in the Park

This blog entry was going to be about the pictures from Italy that I uploaded to flickr, but that will need to wait while I vent.

Sherie today was a bit under the weather, although we started out on a short afternoon ride together. But it became clear she was going slow and short, so Ben decided to go faster and a bit longer by himself. I did the Bears loop, after the climb up Spruce and through Tilden. Fast pace for me, but with the strong winds it was hard to stay over 20 MPH down SPDR. The climbs felt slow, although the speedometer seemed to say I was keeping it over 7 MPH up Mama and Papa Bear. About 1hr 8 minutes for the loop, well over my best times.

Anyway, going up Wildcat back toward home, I was riding steady but not hard. Even after El Toyonal where it flattens a bit, I shifted up but did not really push. It is still uphill, maybe a few percent, and I am going just over 10 MPH. Then suddenly, in a corner, a larger American pickup truck (I think a silver/gray Ford F150) is beside me as a small car is coming down. The truck swerves toward me, and I stay just off its rear panel as I ride into the dirt beside the road. There is maybe a foot of dirt that is flat before the hillside drops away here, no shoulder and no curb. Of course my adrenaline is pumping, and I yell loudly “what the hell are you doing?” Realize we are both going 10-12 MPH here, and with the windows open the driver hears me. He is now about five feet in front of me, still no shoulder on the road. I am a foot or so back onto the pavement, which I had just regained. The driver slams on the brakes, and the truck is stopped just in front of me. I am moving my hands onto the brake levers, and just as I begin to squeeze I hit the rear of the truck.

My left hand, on the hood and reaching for the brakes, strikes the pickup as my front wheel passes just to the right of the truck. My right leg comes up and my right thigh hits the bottom of the handlebars, on the flats, as my right foot comes out of the pedal. I am standing upright, astride the bike, stopped, amazed. So I walk, still astride my bike, on the dirt shoulder around the pickup and stop in front of his right headlight. I told the driver, an older (than me) gray haired white man sitting beside a graying woman, that he ran me off the road. And that when he slammed on the brakes just a few feet in front of me, I hit his truck.

I am reaching into my jersey pocket, feeling around for my phone so I can take a picture of the truck, the plates, and the driver. Then I notice that he has the car in gear, is driving forward, and swerving around me to drive away. As I shout to him that he hit me, and that he is leaving the scene of an accident, he just drives away. I never got the phone into my hand quickly enough to get the pictures.

Just then a young strong cyclist stops to help. I am trying to repeat the number from the car plates so I can type it into my phone. The best I can remember, which I know is not correct as there was at least one alpha character, is 652988.

I tell him I am only hurt in minor ways, and we see that my left brifter is bent inward. I am still excited and pumped with adrenaline, but we inspect the bike. With some brake adjustment I can spin the front wheel, it is close to true. And a bit more adjustment and I find I can use the front brake (the rear brifter was not affected, and works fine). My left knuckles are bleeding into my glove; there are three good gashes that are sore as I type this, still oozing after the shower and antibiotic cream. We get on our bikes and ride together a bit; he is going slowly to check me out, and I stand to try to stand with him a moment. When it is apparent that my body is fine to ride, and my bike functions well enough to get home, I drop behind and tell him to go ahead as I want to relax a bit before I get home.

I look for the pickup at Inspiration Point; not in the lot. I look at the lots at the picnic spots between there and South Park Drive; don’t see it, although I did not leave the road to look. When I get just beyond South Park, there is a park cop SUV parked in the botanical gardens lot. He is giving directions to a woman, but I butt in when I pull up and tell him that a truck hit me and left; that it is a hit and run. I relate the story as described above; he asked if I want medical attention at the fire station just up the hill. I thank him, say no, that I will clean the wounds at home after my shower. He radios in the vehicle description, but doesn’t take a formal report as it happened outside the park on county land. The CHP has jurisdiction; he tells me there is no CHP car close by to take the report so I would need to wait a long while. I thank him, but am already chilling as the evening fog is closing in, and ride home.

So the bike needs some work, perhaps just labor and bar tape. We will see if the shifters still work OK. And I am coming down a bit, needing to eat the dinner that is now in the oven.

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One Response to Another Day in the Park

  1. lindaolsen says:

    Wow, that sucks. Nelson was hit 2 years ago but the driver was also a cyclist and felt really bad. The bike was toast really so the man bought Nelson a nice new bike. His wounds healed. He was lucky.

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