Another Bike Accident (Warning: Gross Pictures)

Michael Garstin's woundsLast Thursday, while riding back home from my lunch break, I had my third major bike accident thanks to idiot Texas drivers. Essentially, if you are not another car or a truck, drivers in Texas simply do not give a rat’s ass about you at all.

You are in their way goddammit! The nerve of your existence!

I typically ride on the sidewalk – call it twice burned. I was taking it easy since I had a Coca-Cola Slurpee in one hand. Just beyond the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and Valley Ranch Parkway is a parking lot for a dentist and a dry cleaners. I was approaching that driveway when all of a sudden there was a minivan immediately in front of me.

Of course hitting the brake with my one available hand sent me flying over the handlebars. The Slurpee was an immediate write-off…

The scene of the accident with my spattered bloodDazed, I still managed some damage assessment. Bike lamp was knocked off, retrieved that. Found my glasses and noted that the lenses appeared to be intact but covered in blood. No obvious broken bones. I could stand up.

The elderly (near as I could tell without my glasses on) couple had exited the minivan by now. The gentlemen gave me his handkerchief; that was when I noted blood was flowing down my face. I pressed that above my left eye.

WP_20150806_003I declined the ladies’ offer to call 911. I guess it looked pretty bad – I didn’t think it was that big a deal aside from the extreme annoyance and immediate pain that would surely subside. After a few minutes, I decided to walk back home.

The cut above my eye was quite clean. I realized that the edge of the left lens must have been pressed hard enough into the skin to slice it open.

The chin wound was actually quite a bit worse. It is several millimeters deep and probably should have required stitches.

I went to a walk-in clinic on Friday (and snapped the sidewalk picture as I hobbled past the scene) but there was no doctor that day. I had to wait until Saturday for an appointment. By then, the wounds were closed up or scabbed over. Well – except for that chin – it was too late for stitches, but the doctor stated he would have put some in if I had gone straight to the clinic on Thursday.

I wasn’t thinking entirely straight. Maybe it’s a macho, guy-thing.

I’m still keeping the chin wound and a nasty scrape on the side of my left hand covered with bandages.

Hit By A Car

While cycling to work yesterday morning, I was hit by a car. Fortunately, it was a very low-speed collision; so I was not hurt or even knocked down. My bike, unfortunately, was trashed.

Map picture

I was riding through the intersection of Cimarron Trail and MacArthur Boulevard at about 5:30am. The light was green, so of course I had the right of way.

My preference is to ride on sidewalks for exactly this reason – I do not trust drivers any further than I can shot-put a car. Needless to say, this incident has not improved my opinion in any way.

A Honda Accord rolled along Cimarron Trail with the intention of turning right on the red light. Even though I was directly in front of the car, it never stopped moving! I yelled some nasty words, but that did not cause the driver to use the brake pedal. Unbelievable! There is no way that IMGP2715 copythe driver could have missed seeing me – except that she was not paying any attention at all to her surroundings.

I thought I was safely past the Accord and just had a really close call. But since it was still moving around the corner Newton’s Laws Of Motion played out exactly. I cannot think of a case where 2000 pounds of steel won’t win against 15 pounds of aluminum…

My Mavic Aksium rims couldn’t put much of a fight. One of the flat spokes actually got jammed into the derailleur gears. I suspect that the back fork has been bent slightly off of true as well.

Hopefully the driver’s insurance is going to cover replacement quickly. I hate being without my wheels. I am now dependent on the bus (ugh!) and the kindness of colleagues to drive me to and from work.

Still, I am much luckier than the passengers on this TTC bus yesterday.

Bicycling Around The World – Part 5

It has been a little over four months since I posted an updated map of how far I have cycled since April. The biggest reason is that I rebuilt my machine that had Streets & Trips 2010 installed on it. However, I remedied that yesterday and plotted my latest distance of about 1440 miles.

image001Wow! I am almost in Seattle, already in Panama and into Quebec from my house in Irving. When centered on my apartment in Etobicoke, I am nearly in Mexico and just outside of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

I am using Excel to keep track of this progress. It fascinates me how linear the chart is. So all this bike riding doesn’t vary much from week to week…it covers me going to and from work, the gym and grocery shopping.

I’ll probably take the bike into the shop for a complete overhaul in January. It could probably use the tune-up.

Bicycling Around The World – Part 4

I am now at about four months of regular cycling – well three months technically since I spent nearly a month in Australia recently. Late last week, the distance radii that I was tracking in Streets & Trips 2010 intersected. Later this week, I expect to ride past the 1000 kilometres mark.

bikeDistance_All_Week_20From my old apartment in Etobicoke, I have ridden past Thunder Bay and up north past James Bay. To the south, I have passed Charlotte, North Carolina.

From my house in Irving, I am nearly all the way through the state of New Mexico and I have passed Omaha, Nebraska to the north.

I guess the next visual goals for this map is when each circle reaches the other’s center point.

Bicycling Around The World – Part 3

Yesterday marked two months of using my bicycle computer to track the total distance that I bike ride.

th_bikeDistance_All_Week_8 In eight weeks I have covered just over 585 kilometres (363.5 miles for my American friends). This means that from my house in Irving, Texas I have now:

  • crossed into the state of Mississippi to the east
  • passed Wichita, Kansas to the north
  • am just inside the New Mexico border to the west
  • am in Mexico to the south-west

I figure that in a month or so my two radii will intersect. Well, not quite, because I am taking a month-long vacation to Australia next week (keep reading this blog for updates).

From my old apartment in Etobicoke, Ontario; I have travelled past Montreal, Quebec, Washington D.C. and Timmins, Ontario. I am approaching Cincinnati, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois.

Cycling Setback

Last Sunday, I noticed that my bike computer was no longer working. It had been fine on Saturday when I rode home from work; but the next day it no longer showed my speed or accumulated my distance.

The last reading I had on the odometer was 465.9 kilometers. I tried replacing the battery (though it obviously was not a power problem). No joy. I haven’t had a chance to take the bike in for repairs either. Maybe on Tuesday.

I hope that I don’t have to give up the “Cycling Around The World” project. It has been rather fun watching my radii grow each week.

Update: June 1, 2010

I took the bike into Bicycles Plus – anybody living in Irving or Coppell should go here for all their cycling needs! They replaced the bike computer under warranty.

Since the bike is my primary method of transportation, it is basically going to work, to the gym or to Wal-Mart for groceries; the weekly distances I had been tracking in an Excel spreadsheet were very linear. Adding a trendline to the chart shows that it is reasonable mark 552.4 kilometers today.

I’ll update the Streets & Trips data when I get to work tomorrow morning.

Bicycling Around The World – Part 2

At the five week mark I had put 331 kilometers on the odometer. I was well past Oklahoma City to the north, Austin to the south and Shreveport to the east. On the Toronto map, I was just at Sudbury to the north, just past Detroit to the southwest and closing in on Ottawa to the northeast.

As of this post, the odometer sits at 416 kilometers. I’ll update the Streets & Trips maps when I start my work week on Wednesday. You can see the current maps on my Flickr site here and here.

Bicycling Around The World

Alright, I am not really bicycling around the world. I thought that would be obvious. But, I do cycle a lot. That is a side-effect of not having learned to drive or acquire a vehicle license (yet). Nearly two weeks ago, I bought a bike computer so I could track my speed, time and distance. I’m not racing; I’m just curious.

So I am going to check the odometer every week to see my total distance travelled. Just the first week surprised me – I had ridden 87.8 kilometers. So I mapped it out on Streets & Trips 2010.

From my house in Irving, 87 kilometers puts me just shy of the Oklahoma border. From my old apartment in Etobicoke, I could ride into Niagara Falls, New York or north past Barrie, Ontario. I am curious what a month or a year of riding will look like on the maps. My original plan was to update these images weekly; but that seems excessive. I’ll post new links if I hit a major milestone on the maps (passing a major city or landmark).

Maybe bicycling around the world is not that far a stretch in a figurative sense.