How does a routine speedometer problem save a cyclist’s life? Great question. Here is my answer and the related timeline.
July 1 – The end of my annual summer vacation in Florida and 600+ mile drive home. Apparently during the ride, my Litespeed bicycle lost its wheel magnet for my speedometer. Just what I needed: a reason to go to the bike shop!
July 2 through 21 – I take several rides with and without KP the Masher and without my main speedometer, relying solely on the iPhone app, Cyclemeter, for my stats. What did I learn on these rides? You ride faster when you don’t know how fast or slow you are pedaling. I was beginning to think I shouldn’t replace the visual speedometer on my bike.
July 28 – I break down and take the 30 minute drive into Lexington from Georgetown to purchase a new wheel magnet.
July 29 – Typical Sunday.
10:30 am – Go to Mass at St. John’s Church.
12:00 pm - Lunch at Cracker Barrel with my wife.
2:00 pm – Call Masher and see what time he will be home from a family baseball trip. He is going to be late and plans to arrive no later than 7pm. I tell the Masher I may go ahead and ride, but to call when he gets close to town. It seems that some days you have the urge to go more than the urge not to go.
4:00 pm – I am itching to feel the pedals underneath my feet. So, I begin preparing for a ride and hoping the Masher calls because riding with two is better than riding with one. I replace the magnet on my front wheel; give it a few spins and viola: it works! I initiate riding gear, fill the bottles, air the tires, and I am ready. The part I left out -donning myself with two pieces of riding gear that I ALWAYS go with: my RoadID and my Madonna del Ghisallo pendant. RoadID for emergencies and the Patron Saint of Cycling to keep me from having one.
5:12 pm – I take off on what I plan to be my typical 22 mile training loop. Weather is awesome and I am thinking this is going to be a strong one.
5:15 pm – Approaching the one mile marker – I notice my speedometer is not working. Dang it! Did I put it in the wrong place? This is going to slow my pace down. Was I having a battery issue? By now I am on Paynes Depot Rd. headed towards the 460 Bypass. I decide to stop and see if I can make an adjustment. I stop for 15 seconds, make an adjustment and click back into my pedals. During that time a 2012 model Nissan Maxima passes me and I fall in right behind.
5:16 pm – Red Light at 460 & Paynes Depot. Full stop for what feels like an eternity. Light turns green and the Maxima takes off with me directly behind. As soon as the Maxima moves 6-12 feet, out of nowhere comes a late model Toyota at 55 mph and hits the Maxima in the A-pillar (the spot between the driver’s door and the front fender). When this starts I am less than 2-3 feet from the Maxima bumper. The Toyota travels completely thorough the intersection and rolls out at 2-300 feet, leaving the Maxima perpendicular to me. It is everything I can do to get stopped, clipped out and get my feet on the ground so I don’t RAM (couldn’t think of a better word) into the totaled Maxima. What the heck just happened?
5:17 pm – Two young boys and their Dad get out of the Maxima in a hurry. The smoke from at least 4 air bags makes them think their car is on fire. Luckily no one is injured. On down the 460 Bypass, an off-duty Lexington police officer is attending to the driver of the Toyota, a 92-year-old man who appears to be OK. Adrenaline is pumping. What the heck just happened?
5:28 pm – Scott County sheriffs and fire respond. I give my statement and then continue my ride.
I clip back in and start my ride thinking about what just happened. For those of you that know me very well know, I am Catholic and I love my God with my whole heart. Did God just save my life through a broken speedometer? Upon further reflection the answer is yes. I know I could have kept on riding. I know cycling is a sport of inches between good and bad. I know that I have been close to disaster in the past. But never this close. God sent me a wake-up call: be more diligent, be more alert, and always ride with God as your co-pilot.
Saved, yet again, from tragedy in order to do something bigger in the future.
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