It was a wild day with consequences. A friend asked me to ride with her to the "Vet Med" cycling club ride. Vet Med is a fundraising group the rides out of the U of FL veterinary school...so we spun down from our neighborhood this morning to partake of the outing.
Word was out that Vet Med group had experienced recent crashes and I'm sorry to report that today was not an exception. Over 20 riders attended and the group rolled out of town around 8 am.
We were only a few miles in when it happened. A girl went down hard and tumbled, took two or three others with her and another woman on an expensive tri bike rode over the first girl's head and went down.
Carnage all over the road.
Mostly, it was bumps and bruises. One women left to get stitches in her hand, while the girl who took the biggest hits was seemingly intact. Her eyes were puffy and swelling and I'm guessing she'll have two nice shiners from that impact.
Here are a few observations I made during the mishap:
1) We were rolling through a stoplight and as the light turned red, someone shouted to the last few riders, "Go! Go!" Never give any sort of command to another rider. Don't tell them it's clear to cross, let them decide. "Slowing" and "stopping" along with pointing out road debris, should be your sole communication.
2) There was a ton of chatter on the ride...seems like some of that socializing should be saved for the coffee shop. Riding and being with friends is fun, but safety comes first. Too much verbal interaction can take one's mind off the road, and things happen fast.
3) The group rode two abreast the entire ride. That's risky on the narrow bike lanes provided and when cyclists are so far into the road that they're two feet off the center line, it's almost impossible for cars to pass. The margin of error for oncoming cars also increases. I'd suggest riding single file and staying as far right as possible.
We dodged a big rain storm, then made it home without further incident. I pulled in the driveway with 59 miles completed.
Let's keep it safe out there and bring it home in one piece.