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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Commuting and Crashing?

Tomorrow, Friday, I will commute to and from work for the first time since October 30th. I have not commuted because of a badly fractured thumb. The pain on some of my short weekend rides has just been bearable. I would like to get back on the bike real soon. My first event of the season is less than 30 days away, January 3rd. I will commute to the Irvine Train Station from Huntington Beach (~15 miles), take the train to Oceanside (~35 miles), and then ride the rest of the way to work (~15 miles).

The next segment of this post is something I fear every day, especially when commuting at night and pre-dawn hours. I pass a lot of construction zones and I am extra cautious of repairs that have been done to the road, in particular those in the bike lane. I fear going down just because a road crew was too lazy to do the job right THE FIRST TIME!

I received an email from Kam. Kam is a good friend and former teammate. While on a well established training ride, 15 years running, two cyclists were badly injured because of shoddy road work. The details are sketchy but one rider has a broken collarbone the other sustained multiple abrasions. In essence, a trench was dug out for a repair, but the patch work was less than ideal. In fact, it was downright dangerous. There is still the potential for other cyclists to be injured if they are unaware. Below is a brief description of the location.

From an email:

The location of the rut is on North Torrey Pines road heading north just
past Salk Institute.

Here is a slide show from Kam's website

Find more photos like this on The Cycling Network

Here is my concern. Motorists drive too close to the bike lane. Many times there are ruts, crevices and debris in the bike lane. As cyclists we respect and try to coexist with motorists and stay in the bike lane as much as possible. But sometimes there are things like 3" wide ruts in the bike lane and the only decision is to exit the bike lane or face certain injury. I wish there was a way to help motorists understand that our sudden and seemingly erratic swerving is simply to avoid crashing
and bodily injury. As cyclists, we take risks and make judgment calls in a fraction of a second. It is never our intention to play "chicken" with a Hunmmer!

Road crews and their employers need to be held accountable for the work they perform. Our safety depends on it!!


  1. George, your comment on my blog is just too funny :)

    I hear you about bad road conditions. I'm always worried about crashing into the car next to me when I try to avoid ruts and glass.

    Good luck on your commute! Don't push it if it hurts too much! Did they ever get a hold of that crazy guy who did this to you?

  2. I couldn't agree more, George. I worry all the time about messed up road conditions, especially when night riding. You just never know and it is a risk. But motorists rarely are understanding, unfortunately.

    Still wishing you a full recovery for January event! :-)

  3. LA Daze- I like a girl with fire and potty mouth in bed. LOL! Oh yeah baby. I was hoping you would find my comment funny. I was adding a little levity to a grim situation. I hope things are better for you today.

    My commute turned into a little ordeal when I missed my train. I blogged about it.

    Yes they caught the guy but I am not pressing charges-- to what end.

    M.E.-rider- Brandy and I rode the tandem today. My hand feels dramatically better today than last week. I hope this steep curve of recovery continues. I really can't believe how well my hand is healing. I still can't grip anything tight.

    Here try this take your thumb and touch the tip of each of your fingers. Index is fine, Middle finger tight and pain, Ring Finger can't touch and forget about touching my pinky. I am gauging my recovery on that simple and instinctive ability to use your opposing thumb.