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Old 08-28-07, 10:30 AM   #1
DougG
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How close to crashing?

I was riding at a fair clip on a local asphalt-paved rail trail, approaching a road crossing near an intersection. My wife was ahead of me, almost at the intersection, and I was looking at the traffic lights to see if I could still make it while the crossing light was on. Suddenly there was a thud and a jolt that bounced me up off the seat, but I recovered and went on to the crossing. Then I stopped and turned around to see what I had just ridden over that I hadn't seen.

At road crossings, the trail has some barriers to keep vehicles off which consist of three hollow metal posts that are about 4 x 6 inches in cross-section and maybe 3 feet tall. In order to give access for maintenance, the center post is actually hinged at the bottom so they can remove a padlock and lay it flat, although it's still a 4-inch high post lying lengthwise on the trail. And that's apparently what I had just run over.

Now I keep thinking that I must have hit that thing perfectly square and dead center to have gotten over it without a disaster. If I had just hit a corner of it, or if my front tire had angled into it from the side, I would have been spit off the bike faster than I could think about it! I'm also glad that I was on my comfort bike with the suspension fork and bigger tires, instead of my road bike that I often take on this route -- there was no tire or wheel damage.

Well, that will get me to keep my eyes on the trail in front of me (at least for the next few rides)!
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Old 08-28-07, 10:52 AM   #2
Tom Bombadil
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Two reactions:

1) I can understand not seeing something on a path, but something that is 4" high and 3' long!?!?!

2) I cannot imagine how you kept from falling. You were moving at 15 mph or so? And hit a 4" post unexpectedly and stayed on! I suspect those fat tires and the suspension fork are what saved you, that fork probably compressed to its max.
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Old 08-28-07, 11:15 AM   #3
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The last time I did something like that, it was a small log hiding under leaves. Since it was a nasty downhill section (and I couldn't see through the leaves) being the cowardly MTB'er that I am I was moving pretty slow. Hit the log, the bike stopped (unlike DougG), I popped forward off the saddle and learned another instant lesson. Hardcore mountain bikers say a 4" standover height is optimum. They may have some reason.
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Old 08-28-07, 11:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
Two reactions:

1) I can understand not seeing something on a path, but something that is 4" high and 3' long!?!?!
Maybe it was only 3" by 2' and has just grown in the retelling . But I'm 60 now and what I've noticed is that even though my vision is corrected to 20/20 and I don't have trouble "seeing", I am a lot slower to sort of comprehend what it is that I am seeing. Know what I mean? I definitely have to fixate on something a bit longer in order to take it in, and am not able to switch my attention from one thing to another quickly.

Another example: I almost ran out of gas on the freeway a few months ago simply because I had been driving for 6 or 7 hours or more (started near Detroit and was almost to Iowa on I-80) and I had apparently not paid any attention to the fuel gage! I finally glanced down and saw it fully on E, but was lucky enough to get off to a station a mile down the road.
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Old 08-28-07, 01:36 PM   #5
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I sympathize with your failure to notice stuff on the road up ahead. Yesterday morning on my way to work I hit a squirrel. It's OK, he was dead already, but the bathump-bathump as I rolled over him made me realize that my mind had wandered and I wasn't paying ATTENTION! Fortunately, it wasn't a dead skunk in the middle of the road stinkin' to high heaven.
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Old 08-28-07, 07:24 PM   #6
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Years ago, during my running days, I was doing some work in Dallas and I decided that I wanted to run around Lake Redrock before picking up my boss (at 7:00AM). That's about a 1 to 1 1/2 hour run so, needless to say, I started in the dead of night. I nearly ran into one of those barriers in the dark. I'm glad that I missed it because that would have hurt!
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Old 08-29-07, 05:09 AM   #7
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Every year for the past 3 years I have had somewhat serious crashes - all from not paying attention and/or poor judgement. I can tell you from experience that the pain of these have not left me and it took three for me to now pay close attention on every ride. My last one was back in May of this year but I am still watching everything and keeping a death grip on the bars. I don't plan on living the sequel to "One flew over the Handlebars"
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