|Photo used by Creative Commons license, courtesy of Fort Meade.|
This week, I had already avoided our (Wanda and me) going down on a wet road, taking a right turn on an oil patch. I was almost to work Tuesday morning when this happened. I instinctively put down my right foot when the rear tire slid left, righting the bike through the turn, but at the cost of hobbling into work, and drawing the concern of my co-workers. Turns out nothing was seriously wrong... a mild bruise, and no pain an hour later.
Thursday night was different. There could have been two serious injuries, had slightly less distance been between Wanda and a teen who was paying a lot of attention to his ball handling skills, and very little attention to the traffic stream into which he had decided to step.
I'm guessing that if he had been 2" closer, my right handlebar would have caught the fabric of his t-shirt. I was riding west, heading home, so the sun was in my eyes. I was unaware of him even being on the sidewalk until I was within 20 yards of him, and that was just about the time he decided to step right into the street. Directly in my path.
My heart leaped into my throat.
"Brake or swerve" didn't have time to enter my mind at 35MPH. Instinct took over, and decided "swerve" was the ONLY possible course of action, and it turned out to be the correct one. A hard lean to the left, and a deca-second later all I heard was "Daaaaymn!" and the reflection of my exhaust note far too close for comfort on my right.
I had to concentrate to keep the post-adrenaline surge from allowing my body to purge itself of what remained of my lunch at that point.
I got off the bike a minute later, having parked at home, and was shaking like a leaf. I needed a drink, and then, sleep.