TL;DR: Taking my morning selfies today was tough. I am still recovering from the adrenaline rush and drop from what happened last night on my commute home. If the events of last night were just a few seconds later, I would have been severely injured or possibly dead. I also think learning how to ride a motorcycle and doing a basic rider course over the weekend also possibly saved my life – it managed to break some bad cycling habits.
To set up the play by play – I am on my road bike with my rear light on flash mode, my front be seen light on flash mode, and my main headlight at the 300 lumen (medium) setting. This is typically how I have my lights setup for night riding. Also, this is over the course of 7 seconds (if that).
- At the red light at Oak and Stanyan stopped waiting for it to change. I notice there is another cyclist approaching behind me and is probably going to shoal so I get ready to just take off.
- I take off and somehow this guy doesn’t shoal and start the ramp up on that little downhill leading into JFK drive. At this point I continue my sprint downhill and I am in my typical position of being in the left part of the bike lane.
- Reach about 20mph and I notice a Prius starts to barely pass me, slows down, and then turns on it’s signal right hand turn signal.
- I see the right wheel turn, and I go OH FUCK they are going into the Park and Rec office parking lot. At this point, they are only a car length or two ahead of me.
- They keep going without yielding and I scrub off some speed and swerve around them. I managed to scrub off from 22mph -> 17mph in that one second according to the GPS data.
- Then I quickly look over and there is traffic trying to get back in the JFK Dr lane since they were passing the Prius and I go oh fuck time to get back in the bike lane.
- Here is where I curse the SF and the SFBC – the out I wanted to go is blocked by those flexible barriers in the stripped zone between the bike lane and car lane. If I hit one of those at the angle I was going to hit them at, I was likely to get one in to a spoke and do something bad.
- Swerve again and now I am on the path to hit the curb.
- Something just tells me look down the path I want to go, so I do and everything just follows and I get parallel to the curb with plenty of space to spare (in this case, I had about a foot in the end)
- Now I have the next obstacle, there is a fucking runner in the bike lane running right at me – at least at this point things are stabilized that things are back to normal and that was more of a gripe than an near death experience.
Every time I closed my eyes last night – the events replayed in my mind with different scenarios that would have ended in a bad crash. If that car was just a second or two later, I would have had no other choice but to emergency brake and end up in the door of a Prius.
Somehow throughout this, my upper body stayed loose and never tensed up. The other part was, before this weekend, I didn’t move my head as much on my bicycle. I used mostly my eyes to steer. Now, my head is pointing where I want to go and I am keeping it up more. In fact the only time during my commute the last two days where it stayed pointed down for any real length of time was is on the uphill of a KOM attempt on an overpass segment in Mountain View – and that was because I needed to watch my power output closely.
I really think spending 10 hours on those under powered motorcycles in a parking lot put some new muscle memory into me and may have just saved my ass.
I am really starting to believe from my biker friends that road cycling is way more dangerous than being on a motorcycle. At least if I had my motorcycle gear on, there would have been way more to protect me if I did have to hit the car. Still would fucking hurt.
Well I need to get stuff packed for DNA this weekend. If anyone I know will be in Vegas over the next few days, say woof.