Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rider Down

It seems like more folks are riding this summer than ever before. Westchester Cycle Club members are for sure. This weekend over 40 of us spent the weekend riding in Lancaster PA. Unfortunately, crashing is often a part of riding. Sunday, on the Covered Bridges ride, a 61-year-old man failed to negotiate a sharp turn, ran off the road and hit his head, causing traumatic injury. We rode by the scene shortly after he was found and saw the paramedics standing around a body under a white sheet, a bicycle up against the wall; a sobering vision.

I used to say, the more you ride, the more you crash, but that is not entirely true. As you get more experience, you can avoid accidents because you know how to handle a bike and you know what to watch out for, like corners and descents. You have the strength and endurance to handle tough rides. You know that one of the most important things to watch out for is other riders.

Recently, two of my friends in the club have gone down due to bad moves by other riders. Of course, even experienced riders can make bad moves. And, it's hard to avoid somebody who drops a water bottle or misses a turn, and then turns around right in front of you. These incidents have sparked discussion about safety in group riding, and hopefully action can be taken to make our members more knowledgeable and our rides safer.

Cheryl Cohen crashed on the Lancaster ride and is going to be recuperating for a while. She has compound fractures in her leg and is undergoing several operations. It appears that an erratic move by a rider in front of her caused the crash. Cheryl is one of our long-time riders, a rides coordinator on the Board and leads many well-attended rides. She is a strong rider and is serious about safety. Just the other day a friend told me, “She is one of the best ride leaders in WCC.” We have set up an account at a local deli and grocery, so that she can order food and get it delivered. If you can, please donate. Thank you.

While all of this may be scary, the truth is, we love to ride and we don't want to stop riding just because there are risks. We want to minimize the risks for sure, but we don't want stop riding because it makes us feel alive. Victor and I had a great time in Lancaster, as you can see from the pics below.

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