Friday, August 17, 2007

A Crash of ThunderBolt




It's not a question of if you go down. It's a question of when.


I've heard that for a while now, and known it on some intellectual level. Now I more fully understand the meaning behind the phrase. Now that my body has spun at 75 mph on the 101.



It began simply enough. I was on my morning commute to work and I noticed a Prius wandering through traffic. Wandering here isn't quite the right word, because the word I want needs a slight connotation of hunting with a hint of pre-shadowing. The words I've got is that the driver was behaving enough like an asshole to trigger my spider sense.



But he wanders his way through traffic and pulls into the lane next to mine (mine being the far left). He then proceeds to wander into my lane. I've seen people like this before. "He probably doesn't see me," I think and start to blare my horn. And I continue to hold it down. And continue some more. After a solid 3 to 5 seconds of him merging at me and me holding the horn down, I realize that perhaps he isn't going to stop before he hits me. This is the point where I veer slightly to the left, and apply the breaks.



This is also the place where my bikes stops being vertical



ThunderBolt goes down on it's left side and slides a while down the freeway. This much I piece together a minute or so later because what I'm doing is way more interesting. I'm spinning along the freeway. My body is perpendicular to the direction of traffic, but spinning in the direction momentum dictates it must continue.



I spin for 50 feet and like 5 rotations before my head bounces off the divider in the middle of the freeway and I do another 5 rotations for another 50 feet. Thankfully this all occurs in the lane I started in.



So I'm lying in the freeway now thinking two things. 1) I just fell off my bike and have a lot of adrenaline running through my system. I might have broken something and not know it yet. And 2) there are cars still working on getting to work themselves. So I try to put a little weight on my legs. They hold. A little more. Still holding. A little more and that's all of my weight. OK. Now let's get to my bike.



As I limb along the divider several drivers ask to make sure I'm alright. I reply that I am (as far as I know) and get up to my bike where a good Samaritan has parked his car just in front of my bike, is lighting a flare, and is on the phone with CHP. This guy is awesome, and tells the police all about the Prius when they arrive.



The CHP officer shows up a minute later and asks if I'm OK and if I can move the bike that's currently in the left lane. When I reply in the positive, he walks out into the traffic, points at cars and goes "You, stop. You, stop ... " and we get off the road.



On the side of the road I get a chance to check myself out. I've got a little road rash on my lefs (I'm so getting the protective pants that go with my jacket now), but no other signs of trauma. Paramedics show up, and help me confirm my initial assessment of my physique, and I let them go on their merry way so I don't have to spend the day in the hospital getting useless tests done.



A tow later, and Mike Markson picks me up and we get to work and go for margaritas for lunch. I've been recovering the last few days (mostly muscle soreness and regrowing skin on my knees) and dealing with shit to get my bike fixed.



Gen's been a real trooper through this. She's even helped me clean the asphalt out of my legs. And of course she reminded me that if I ever let anything happen to myself, she'll kill me.



And I owe Stephen a huge thanks on this one. He helped push me to get the protective jacket, and he kept telling me I should already have the matching pants. Well I'll be getting those when I get my new helmet.

2 comments:

Emily said...

wow, Keith. I'm so glad to hear you came out a-ok! You guys need to stop scaring the rest of us with your motorcycle antics. Here's to a speedy recovery.

p.s. I've determined in my own commute that Prius drivers are hands-down, the most loserific drivers on the road these days.

ClimbingBoy said...

Actually there's a follow up post coming about the Prius when I get more info from CHP.