Bicycles are expensive. Bike parts can be expensive.

During Covid-19, it seems like everyone and their mothers started or re-started riding bikes. The bicycle industry is still in a major sales boom and low on inventory. Annual “sales” or seasonal discounts don’t exist anymore and you’re considered lucky to find a bike in your size, at retail price.

So, the accident.

A buddy of mine (who also started riding in the past couple months) and I decided to ride together on Thursday morning. Yes, during work hours, in the “middle” of the week. We’re gangsters, I know. We rode together once before and the route was relatively flat with just a few small climbs so this time, he wanted to ride a bigger climb (also as a way to test out his increased pedaling efficiency using clipless pedals). So we decided to ride up Page Mill Road, at least to Foothills Park.

I rode from the Baylands (my homebase) to the 280 Page Mill Park n’ Ride where I was set to meet the riding partner. We got on our way and thus began the ride up Page Mill towards Skyline. Once nearFoothills Park, he was feeling really good, to the point that we continued riding further up the road. Somewhere about a quarter of the way between Foothills Park and Skyline, we decided to turn back around. Since we had passed the park on our way up, we took a loop down past the lake and up the backside to the vista point before heading back to my buddy’s car. About half way down Page Mill from Foothills Park to the Park n’ Ride, I indeed parked, but couldn’t ride anymore.

Looking back, I must have thought I was SAFA or invincible. My recent decision to ride without a true cycling computer has made me unaware of my actual riding speed. In any case, I took a hard left turn and while beginning to brake, had my rear wheel lock up ever so slightly which threw off my balance. In panic, I was trying to slow down properly to regain control but it was too late. I went off the road into a small off-road turnout and somehow my rear wheel must have clipped the end of the pavement before I went flying over my drop bars. The flight was short, I was not a projectile so much as I just kind of fell over my bike due to the momentum.

I landed in a pile of leaves and branches over dirt. In some ways, thankful that they padded my fall. I felt kind of…wet? My knee was already bloody, and my shoulder felt like I had slept on it weird (you know that feeling?). By the time I looked back for my bike and riding buddy, I see him trying to make an abrupt stop causing him to skid and fall also. (I won’t go into any further detail on his fall, but he basically came to a near stop before unclipping his cleats.) I feel bad for my buddy, but then I look at my bike and go into a panic. Have I broken the bike? What the… my rear tire has completely come off the rim, hence the wet feeling which was Orange sealant exploding all over the bike and its previous rider (me).

My friend’s more worried for me and my bloody right leg doesn’t help. He tells me to sit still and that he’ll go get his car and come for me. I feel horrible… for him. I hope his bike and body are alright, but am grateful he was riding (and crashing) with me so that we could get out of this sticky situation (tire sealant). As I wait for him, I try to get myself right and remove the rear thru axle to see what’s gone wrong. I realize I should probably get as much sealant off the bike as possible, and use the 1/4 remainder of my Camel water bottle to splash off orange goo. As I inspect the wheel, I begin to realize it wasn’t the tire’s fault. The wheel is no longer true, and a spoke closest to the valve is loose.

Part II to come…

Casual cyclist, beer and coffee drinker, architecture critic.