Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Recuperation Ruminations

It has been about 10 days since my recent accident, although it seems like a lot longer.  I'm feeling quite a bit better, although I still have a ways to go before I'm really up and running.

The Tommasini Diamante I was riding was totalled.  Well, I suppose it could be repaired, but it would require a new fork, top tube, down tube, head tube, and possibly head lugs.  At that point, it really isn't worth it.  This is a shame, but in recent years I've been striving to get a lot less attached to "things", makes life much easier and tranquil.

Getting into my worst ever (by far!) cycling accident has been cause for some introspection.  I've replayed the event a zillion times and even being as harshly critical as I can be of myself, I've concluded there wasn't much I could have done to avoid the accident other than plain just being somewhere else at the moment.

This is not as comforting as it may sound.  I'd actually feel a bit better if I could say, "Ah, well, next time I'll just <insert more careful practice here>" and then go on confident that this is something that won't happen again.  But I'm really at a loss to come up with anything.

So that left me wondering if I should take this as a wake-up call that cycling is generally more dangerous than I perceived.  But that seems like a bit of an over-reaction for one oddball accident in decades and many thousands of miles of cycling, especially when I've never even had a previous close call of this nature in all that time and miles.  The Park Police told me that this was the first accident like this in over two years that they've dealt with.  This path alone, only one of the many under Park Police jurisdiction, gets a million visitors a year.

Ultimately, I'm just left with this was a pretty cosmically unlikely accident in that venue and, ya know, sometimes stuff happens.

So as unsatisfying as that is, I'm just leaving it at that and moving on.  There is still no word on the other rider, who was still in the ICU 4 or 5 days after the accident.  This distresses me and I'm hoping for a full and rapid recovery for him so that he may move on as well.

This accident did stir up a bit of a buzz in the local cycling community.  A reporter contacted me and wrote a fair and balanced story.  A radio commentator, who has a history of being peeved at aggressive scofflaw cyclists, included it in a piece (scroll down to "Bicyle Road Rage 2010") that reiterated this annoyance.  The local cycling community took umbrage at this and went in hot pursuit after the commentator.

I inserted myself in the commentary on this in a few places to humbly point out that, whatever the facts may be about aggressive scofflaw cyclists, my accident didn't fall into that pattern, both by my recollection and Park Police report.  This was duly noted by the cyclist community, but did little to quench the bigger issue of cycling PR.  The radio host actually did a followup piece intended to bury the hatchet, at least until next time.  He did also give me a private apology for including my accident as an exhibit in the larger issue.   

So this is another thing around which to tie a ribbon and move on.
Speaking of moving on, I'm heading out to Japan later this week to rejoin my family for about 2 months.  I'll be checking out the local cycling scene.  Due to this accident, I missed my opportunity to ship a bike over there, but maybe I'll just buy something locally.  I'll certainly be buying my son a bicycle, one goal for this summer is to get him off training wheels.

Also, since Suntour was headquartered in the Kansai (Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe) region, I'm entertaining fantasies of finding some dusty old bike shop with piles of NOS Suntour Superbe parts.

Finally, I'd like to thank everyone who has shown concern and offered help and encouragement.  The most important lesson I take away from this accident is that this type of support helps immensely and has real therapeutic value.


shivaun said...

I'm fairly new to this blog but just wanted to offer a few words of encouragement (and thanks). I got an in accident (car on bike, not bike on bike) about 8 months ago that totaled my bike and left me totally shaken, though fortunately I was not seriously hurt. Long story short, I met a crooked cop who circumvented insurance and just handed me some cash after the whole ordeal, which I used to buy an '86 Team. While doing research about the bike before I bought it, I came across your blog, which ignited my Fuji fever. My bike's treated me great, and I am way more careful now than I ever was with my beater before this, but I still almost get hit by a car, cyclist, or pedestrian nearly every day. That's the nature of riding in a city. Things are bound to happen and there's nothing you can do really. Your attitude in light of the whole accident seems totally reasonable, and your passion and knowledge of old Fujis helped me make a great choice for a new bike after my accident, so cheers for that. Best of luck with your recovery.

JPTwins said...

I'm glad to hear that a) you're doing a bit better and b) you're going to japan to be with the family. nothing will make you feel better than having your family there to help you, and I'm sure they'll be happier to see you!

When you come back, you'll be able to pick and pack your bike. there's always time for that.

feel better soon!

Agke said...

Here's to a speedy and full recovery - hope you are feeling stronger every day.

I just bought a Fuji Design Series road bike, and it was originally sold by Hive Bike Shop. It has the same decal as the S12-S you posted, and it also has wheels with what appears to be Hive-applied decals that read "Team Fuji USA" and "Hive Bike Shop" on the rims.

John Anderson said...

Good Morning,

I am happy that you're recovering. While 'things' aren't as important as other aspects of one's life, that was a beautiful bike. I discovered your blog while researching a red 1986 Club Fuji that is completely original (down to the tires) which followed me home over the weekend. I think this one's a keeper!
Best wishes on a speedy recovery, and many more smooth, quiet miles.