• Patrick Gabrion

Cycle safety

Riding a bicycle is meant to be fun. Sure there are countless benefits, but bottomline, pedaling your two-wheeled machine should just bring a lot of joy and excitement. That's why I ride a bike.


As you have probably gathered by now through previous writings, safety on the roads is a big deal for me. Simply put, how can you even begin to relax and soak in your surroundings if you are constantly in fear for your life? So being proactive when it comes to safety just makes sense.


Bright is beautiful


Years ago, I remember remarking to my friend Jon about how I wouldn't be caught dead cycling in clothing featuring the color of visibility yellow. It's just too loud and garish; just what it's supposed to be, right? So being older and wiser, guess what I'm wearing now? It's visibility yellow for me ... gloves, jerseys, jackets, socks.


And I'm doing it for one big reason. So I won't be literally caught dead on the side of the road.


Who are you?


Heaven forbid, if something did happen I'm prepared for that as well. I guess it's a kind of safety mechanism for when you are already in trouble. This readiness is called Road iD, an item I always wear on my wrist while cycling. It speaks for me if I'm unable to.


The tiny bracelet contains important information. It provides my name, the year I was born, what town I live in, two cellphone numbers of family members to call in case of an emergency, and the fact that I'm allergic to NSAIDs. The company that makes it has countless testimonials on its website from people who have benefited from having one, including statements on saving lives.


To me, my Road iD is as important as my helmet, and I've worn both for years.


Hey, Mr. Sandman


Normally I wouldn't do something to make a point — especially if it involves pain. But since it did happen, and it did hurt, I might as well come clean for my mistake and, hopefully, let it serve as a reminder for others to be careful. Remember, fun begins with being safe.


A hard lesson, indeed.

Jon and I were out riding the other day, just beginning our Marston-Costello route on roads we are very familiar with. There is one particular bad corner — after coming down a hill near Hall-Dale High School — that we have cautioned ourselves about a thousand times, mainly because of the presence of sand covering the pavement. Take it slow and at a wide angle.


Which is what I did, but no matter. I "lost" my front wheel in that slippery stuff and went down like a ton of bricks. The accompanying photo with this blog entry only displays the road rash on my upper body; you don't even want to see what it did to my leg. I ended up with holes in my jersey and bibs. And suffice to say, I am glad I was wearing a helmet, because my head did kiss the road.


So, please watch out for sand and gravel, especially this time of year, so you won't be like me!

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