What Did Not Happen?
Sometimes the idiot rider in front of you stops suddenly, without calling it out.
Sometimes the inexperienced group rider passes on your right side, without calling it out.
Sometimes its a crossed wheel, in-attentiveness or one of a myriad of instances that cause bicycling accidents.
BUT SOMETIMES 13 people are riding and behaving in a pace line, on a flat smooth road and horrible things still happen.
No one crossed wheels. No one slowed down. No one hit a bump or pot hole.
But three people got seriously hurt.
What Did Happen?
Rider one went down and broke his jaw and several of his teeth.
Rider two went down and broke his clavicle severely enough so that surgery is recommended if he wants to ride again.
Rider three went down after almost avoiding it all, every so slowly but landed wrong and broke her elbow.
Rider four went down but was not seriously hurt and rode back to start.
Rider one’s wheel failed. It literally cracked. At this point we do not know why.
What Did I Learn From This?
- Accidents can happen at any time for any reason. All the more reason for riders to deal actively with the controllable parts of group riding.
- As much fun as a pace line is, the closer I ride to other people the greater my chance of being in a crash of some kind.
- A slower pace, some hill climbing and keeping my distance will still result in a nice ride.
- I will, at sometime, probably ride in a pace line again, but I do not when or the circumstances.
- If I ride my bicycle the way I do, no matter how safe I am, there is no guarantee that I will never be in an accident.
The best we can all do is to be on our best bicycle behavior when we ride.