I recently did my first tour if you can call it that.
I had been planning for this tour all year and had posted up on here about it quite a few times. We were going to be riding the length of the Oregon coast on highway 101 which is a very popular cycling touring route
For my tour I purchased some nice equipment. I got a novara safari, ortlieb front and rear panniers, and a ortlieb handlebar bag. In addition to this I bought an REI back packing rent, new sleeping bag, and self inflating pad. Then the week before I left I was able to get a good deal on some new cycling shorts a jersey, and a helmet. I was finally set with all the gear I would need
I had three others accompanying me on the tour. My friend Kyle from Oregon, my friend Blair who drove out from Michigan, and my girlfriend Amanda. All are avid cyclists but were also new to touring. They had all done similar purchases and had new gear as well.
We decided to try and average 50-70 miles a day on our trip. For the first day we were gonna go a little shorter at 55 to see how we did and make sure we didnt get sore.
The first day was going great. The weather was wonderful (sunny and 75) and there was very little wind. The traffic was a bit heavy because we started on a saturday but overall it wasnt bad.
At the end of the first days ride (about 50 miles in) we were looking for our place to camp in rockaway beach. Kyle and I were pulling ahead a bit because we are more experienced and werent overly tired yet. We were coming down what I expected was the last serious downhill of the day and disaster struck.
I do not remember the incident at all but my understanding from others is that when I was at the bottom of the downhill (probably going 30-35) an rv tried to pass me. He misjudged when merging back into his lane and clipped me with his awning. This sent me careening at a high rate of speed off of the road and into the ditch and some undergrowth. My the driver and another motorist instantly pulled off to check on me.
When my girlfriend and friends arrived I was laying in the middle of the road bleeding with motorists and bystanders trying to help. An amublance had arrived and they were starting to prepare to take me to the hospital in Tillamook. I do not remember this at all.
I was rushed to Tillamook hospital where I was inspected for head injuries and trauma from the accident. It was found that I had a massive concussion, multiple scrapes and bruises and a broken clavicle. They treated me for the next day and then sent me to Legacy Emmanual in Portland to finish my care.
I believe I arrived in Portland 3 days later, im not sure. This is the first day that I have any memory of and it is splotchy. I was extremely sore in a hospital bed and didnt know what had happened to my bike trip. My friends were all there and explained to me again what had happened. I spent the rest of the week there getting well enough that I could go home and recover.
Since the accident I have met with multiple health care providers, an attorney insurance adjusters and more. I am finally starting to feel a little normal again but I wont be pedalling for awhile. My bike is heavily damaged and I am in no shape to ride.
I posted this on here not to scare people. I plan on touring again once I heal. I just wanted to let people know to be careful. The guy that hit me wasnt an aggressive ******* (from what people tell me). He was just someone who misjudged his merge. Because of this I was hurt badly. Be careful so this doesnt happen to you.
Pay attention to who is around you and watch your speed. Also, for the love of god; Wear a helmet! Mine saved my life and is likely the only reason that I am able to put together these sentences and type today. Because of this accident I will never ever get on a bicycle without a helmet again. I truly believe I am alive today because of the one I was wearing. It cracked through on both sides and sustained a great deal of damage. Without it my skull would have done the same.
Just wanted to share what has been a crazy experience for me. Be safe out there!