Crashing out 10 feet from my driveway; January bike ride stats

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The first thing that came into my mind as I lay in the street under my bicycle on Friday was, “This is a hell of a way to start a bike ride.”

Then I realized I couldn't clip out of my right pedal, my right hip and elbow hurt like the dickens and my glasses were about a foot from my face.

I finally disengaged myself from my bike, stood up, picked up the stuff that had fallen off me and my bike, and limped back to the house. Fortunately, I had fallen within 10 feet of my driveway. Also, no one had witnessed it.

So started, and ended, my first bike ride in a week, and one of less than a dozen this month.

Few miles

Why so little bicycling this year? Wasn't I the guy who reached his goal of riding 4,002 miles last year? There are a couple of reasons:

First, I didn't set a mileage goal this year. There's something about facing a 333-mile interim goal every month that helps to get you out the door in the worst conditions.

Those first few pedal strokes are always the hardest. Once I'm on my way, I really don't care if it's raining, windy, cold. So the trick is just getting started. Without the goal, the conditions often conspired to give me reason not to ride.

Second, my road bike was not in the best condition. The city and county dumped tons of sand on the roads during the December snowstorms. During my rides in December and early January, I did my part to sweep up a lot of sand by riding through it at the edge of the road and flicking it up on my bike and drivetrain while I pedaled.

Sure, I rinsed after every ride, but that sand and grit had done its dirtywork on my components. I had already used by chain beyond its useful lifespan, and the cogs on the freewheel were having difficulty holding on. 

To repair or wait?

I thought maybe I could get by without making replacements until the spring. By then, most of the sand would have washed away to silt up the creeks, and I could replace the components without them getting quickly destroyed again. I could have used my mountain bike, but why crap up two bikes with this sticky road grit in wet weather?

When Friday's sunbreak arrived, I had forgotten about my slipping chain and had plans to drop off a CD at the library and buy some groceries at the supermarket. I pushed off down the driveway, stood up to make that strong first stroke, and toppled over as the chain met minimal resistance and the cranks just spun.

Fortunately nothing is broken, on me or the bike. I'm just really, really sore.

I remember something from my cross-country bike tour many years ago; “Take care of your bike and it will take care of you.”


I rode 125 miles in January. Let's see if I can pull it together in February without a goal. If not, March probably isn't too late to get started.

The photo above shows all accumulated sand from a wet ride in December.

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