Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

There's No Escape...

My parents always thought it was simple carelessness on my part. I'll admit that sometimes that might have been true, but I have had numerous examples since the early days to make me wonder: are bicycles out to get me? Are they some form of alien life sent here to drive me (somewhat) into an early demise?
I've never been hit by a car, although I have run INTO cars twice. Fortunately, neither of them was moving at the time. Put those down to carelessness on my part. I ran into a swinging sign at a gas station once while waving to a girl across the street; mark that down to the love vapors swirling around me. In addition, I have run inadvertently into the back wheel of another rider in a paceline (now THAT will stop anyone on a dime) and had any number of other accidents caused by muddy/icy conditions, but those were not my fault. Nor was the latest incident to be laid on my shoulders.
Our hotel-not-to-be-named (Marriott) in Key West rented bikes for the day as most hotels do. They were, of course, the infamous beach cruiser type of bike made for people three feet tall so that no matter how high one jacks up the seat, the pressure on a normal-sized person's knees is painful. Also, since there are no gears on these things, it is impossible to spin the crank backwards while idly cruising along without engaging the brake...another pain-inducing possibility. The high-rise handlebars are designed to be as unattractive as possible on a geek factor of 10+, but at least they stayed attached to the bike itself...unless I happened to be riding.
Yes, it's true. We were idly biking down a relatively busy sidewalk/street section of Key West and moving through an intersections toward the cutout on the opposite curb. A tourist couple, unsure of just which way they wanted to go, stopped in the cutout section just as I approached in the intersection. Naturally, I swerved to the right and lifted the handlebars to negotiate the curb without bending the rim...bad move.
To my astonishment, I found myself on the pavement (still in the intersection) with my partner piled up immediately behind me (also in the intersection) while the tourist pair gawked in amazement at the handlebars in my hand: handlebars that were no longer attached to the bike. Apparently, whoever serviced the hotel bikes did not regularly check the tightness of the handlebar stem; mine was less than tight as evidenced by the fact that they came right out, causing a near catastrophe.
Funny? Not so much.
As luck would have it, the occurrence was on the doorstep of a service station; the attendant loaned me an allen wrench, and I reattached and secured said handlebars so we could continue, bruised and somewhat battered on our daily adventure.
There's no way IO can take the blame for that.
Aliens must have loosened those handlebars just before I got on.
Fortunately, it is now winter in Wisconsin so slipping on snow and ice-covered roads is perfectly logical.
I'll show those alien creeps!


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