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Birthday Ride Gone Horribly Wrong: Lessons Learned

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Birthday Ride Gone Horribly Wrong: Lessons Learned

Old 07-18-05, 08:52 AM
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Birthday Ride Gone Horribly Wrong: Lessons Learned

I feel just horrible. Four buddies and I were out on Saturday celebrating my birthday with a climb to a hilltop gas station. We were cruising along at about 22-24 mph on the approach highway but had to switch to the multi-use path to avoid a no-shoulder section of the highway with cement walls. We slowed down a bit on the path to 19-20 mph but were still moving pretty fast as a group tends to spontaneously encourage that. My brother and I were in the front and had just crested a small hill when we encountered one of those 2 ft thick wooden posts cememted into the path so that cars cannot enter the path. I had just enough time to swerve and yell a warning before I began to hear the carnage behind me. Bodies and bikes went flying everywhere. There was the most horrible spintering sound which I imagined was one of my friends collar bones being crushed. It was over in a second but the moment seemed to last forever.

Total damage:
1 wooden post (2 feet thick by 3 feet high): broken in half, one half flew about 10 feet.
1 carbon fiber Giant TCR frame (2 weeks old): smashed into 3 seperate pieces
1 irreplacable high end 1970's trek racing bike: Fork bent back behind the downtube, rear wheel taco'd
1 team Saeco Jersey out for its maiden voyage: scraped and torn a little
1 Louis Garnau helmet: cracked and ruined
3 buddies: Everyone was bloody but no broken bones.

Looking back, I can't believe no-one was seriously hurt. Moroever, for as much as I preach about slow speeds on the multi use path, I am so thankful that it was a post and not a child in the path. We made the assumption that because we were so far out we could speed it up a little (mistake). Also, I learned a critical lesson about the responsibilities of riding up front and the dangers of riding behind others.

My buddies don't blame me, but I know I could have avoided the accident if I had been paying more attention.
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Old 07-18-05, 08:54 AM
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Glad everyone is not to hurt!
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Old 07-18-05, 08:58 AM
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Somebody broke a 2-foot-thick wooden post and no broken bones???

You guys are lucky.
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Old 07-18-05, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by va_cyclist
Somebody broke a 2-foot-thick wooden post and no broken bones???

You guys are lucky.
Man, tell me about it. We could not believe it either. The post was probably 20 inches by 20 inches by 36 inches. Thick, but it may have already been cracked or something.
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Old 07-18-05, 09:03 AM
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Ok, your ride was worse than my lost key incident, by a LOT.

Glad everyone was ok though.
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Old 07-18-05, 09:38 AM
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Man, I hate those posts in the middle of the paths. I know what its like to hit potholes unexpectedly in a paceline, but that really sucks. Glad everyone survived ok.
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Old 07-18-05, 09:45 AM
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That really sucks, good news on the the not so hurt statement. What about the third guy's bike. Was it ok?
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Old 07-18-05, 09:46 AM
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Hmmmm.. is that like where at the top of the hill there is a t or 4 way intersection and they put a T of poles on one side because if it is not I am just not picturing it. We have one of the aforementioned at the top of the IH46 but its by the entrance to a school.

Glad to hear that nobody was hurt too badly.
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Old 07-18-05, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Sawtooth
Man, tell me about it. We could not believe it either. The post was probably 20 inches by 20 inches by 36 inches. Thick, but it may have already been cracked or something.
termites
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Old 07-18-05, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by The Fixer
termites
Lol, termites.

Well it could have been steel, the use big metal poles, the diameter of cantaloupes here on the mup's. That could have caused a serious problem.
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Old 07-18-05, 10:32 AM
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double post....
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Old 07-18-05, 10:33 AM
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wow, hope all of you are alright.
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Old 07-18-05, 10:48 AM
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at least those things broke instead of something really important like ur friends
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Old 07-18-05, 11:02 AM
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I know I am gonna sound like a know-it-all....

But, was there not a trail-side warning sign before you got to the post? Never been out your way, but MUP's around here only have something like that partially obstructing the trail at a road crossing and it is marked ahead of time by a warning sign.
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Old 07-18-05, 11:05 AM
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Good thing it wasn't a five-year-old on a tricycle!

Glad you and your pals are OK.
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Old 07-18-05, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by galen_52657
I know I am gonna sound like a know-it-all....

But, was there not a trail-side warning sign before you got to the post? Never been out your way, but MUP's around here only have something like that partially obstructing the trail at a road crossing and it is marked ahead of time by a warning sign.

Just what I was thinking; you're to be commended for taking a share of responsibility as the leader but if there was no warning sign, there surely should have been!

Glad you're all ok and thanks for the head's up.
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Old 07-18-05, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by clfjmpr44
That really sucks, good news on the the not so hurt statement. What about the third guy's bike. Was it ok?
The third guy had two bodies to cushion his bike from the impact with the post. He taco'd the rim of the first guy as he ran/wrecked over them but his bike only had a ding in his new ultegra shifter cap. He got off lucky. He slid for a while on his new jersey, however.
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Old 07-18-05, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by galen_52657
I know I am gonna sound like a know-it-all....

But, was there not a trail-side warning sign before you got to the post? Never been out your way, but MUP's around here only have something like that partially obstructing the trail at a road crossing and it is marked ahead of time by a warning sign.
I have never seen such a warning sign. It would be nice to have, however. At the top of the hill there was a pedestrian crossing wide enough to get a car onto. The posts were simply inserted on each side of the crossing in the center of the path to prevent drunks/crazies from driving on the path. They occur every couple of miles on the path here, so I should not have been suprised by one.
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Old 07-18-05, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Phantoj
Good thing it wasn't a five-year-old on a tricycle!

Glad you and your pals are OK.
Yeah, I don't even like to think about that possibility. One more good reason for slowing down on the MUP's!
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Old 07-18-05, 12:45 PM
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This is exactly why you don't

a) go on multi use pathways
b) be going 20-21mph before entering one
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Old 07-18-05, 12:56 PM
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Glad everyone is OK.

Look....EVERYONE...
I know it is tempting, especially when riding with friends, to keep the speed up or only slow down a little when forced onto a MUP for a while.

Don;t do it. You just have to let that temptation go and set the pace much slower....
Look at it this way...there is your inspiration to to do a hammer section when you get off the MUP to make up the time. That's what I do.

Way too many things could go so wrong on a MUP when you are going 20.
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Old 07-18-05, 01:21 PM
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this is what we do! (must be outta love)
man what a shame... happy B day and hope all is well!
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Old 07-18-05, 04:27 PM
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wow glad to hear everyone survived.

in the chicago area there was a story on the new a while back about two people taking liesurely family rides on multi use paths and running in to these post. one lady is now in a wheel chair and the other gentleman has had numerous surgeries. they was just strolling along with family. it seems the post were older ones that were short like 2' and easy to miss?? they have since started making them taller in hopes they will be seen.

later.
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Old 07-18-05, 04:58 PM
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i smell a lawsuit
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Old 07-18-05, 05:06 PM
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Bikers 1, post 0, I doubt the post is going to sue

Honestly, there's more weird **** in MUPs and bike pathes in general, there'd be a huge uproar if car drivers had to cope with some of this stuff. I was zooming into a sushi place the other day in downtown sunnyvale and noticed the yellow lines aren't just lines, they're actually yellow painted "teeth" sticking up in the road! WTF?? I was able to swerve to go through a smooth place but wow, a little less attentive and it could have been ugly. I'd have gone down on my side, and seriously it would have been in the territory of a broken elbow and/or hip, or at least not being able to walk or get around well for a while (then having to get a rental car to do my biz and being back over on the Dark Side.)

The posts and stuff in bike routes are amazing, I wonder how many people smack into those things and are too embarrassed to say anything?
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