A Whole Lot of Nothing

Wow – it’s been almost a month since I’ve written here. I try not to go so long without writing, but Pennsic kept me off the bike completely for two weeks including packing and preparation, and I’ve been too busy to even get a day trip in, aside from completing unfinished business in western MA at the end of July. I did put some red tape over the black Gorilla Tape holding my mirror on, so it blends in a lot better. I’ve been commuting on the bike a lot, but roughly the same 13 mile stretch every day gets a bit boring, and certainly boring to write about. But at least I’ve gotten on the bike and ridden. Considering how much I spent on repairing it this year, at least I’m getting some use out of it.

IMG_1627Last Friday, I took my car to work due to a decent chance of rain. It never rained, but I was glad to have the metal cage around me when I got rear ended. To make a long story short, some idiot ran a stop sign from a cross street and cut me off. I nailed the brakes to miss him, and succeeded. The BMW X5 behind me nailed his brakes and swerved to miss me, and failed. Naturally, the guy who ran the stop sign and caused the whole thing drove off.

I’m fine – no whiplash, not even any tense muscles. The car isn’t drivable due to the corner that got pushed in rubbing against the tire, though I did drive out of the intersection and pull over, which is more than the X5 could do. It weighs nearly twice as much as my car, but was far more damaged. His air bags went off, the car was immobilized, and even 911 got an automatic call from BMW’s version of On-Star.

What does this have to do with bikes? Well, I certainly have a motorcycle to ride to work while the BRZ gets fixed, but I’m having second thoughts about that. On the one hand, I could argue that if I’d been on my bike instead of the car, it’s narrow enough that the X5 could’ve easily gotten around me and stopped without hitting me. The driver and I would’ve made sympathetic gestures of disbelief at each other, and gone on to work, just like any other day.  On the other, more unpleasant hand, I could argue about what would’ve happened if the X5 had hit my bike. I walked away from the BRZ. At best, I would’ve been knocked down and taken away in an ambulance to get thoroughly checked out, while my bike would certainly have been totaled. I don’t even want to think about the other possibilities. I intentionally avoid the worst traffic on my commute, but a situation like this is a possibility anytime, anywhere, particularly in a busy area like I work in. I’m feeling a bit gun shy about putting myself in that situation on the bike now.

By Friday afternoon, I’d picked up a rental car (a Jeep Compass that I’ve named “The Penalty Box”) that my insurance will cover for the next month or until my car gets fixed. I did take the bike out for a couple of hours this afternoon, nowhere in particular, just to relax a bit. But right now, I’m more inclined to sit in the Penalty Box for my commute than take a chance on the bike. Yes, I’m a bit spooked.

September is looking busy, with Black River Stages coming up and the need to fix up Elana’s Jeep to serve as a course car once again. We’re hoping to go somewhere for a weekend in early October, and hoping to take the bike if weather permits. With two of us on the bike we won’t be camping, but after my experience last fall I’ve learned that camping in New England in October can get pretty cold. Even a few nights at Pennsic, in early August, froze me pretty badly. Anyway, we have no plan aside from “go somewhere for the weekend” yet, but we’ll be working on that. Reading some of my posts from the past two years is making me miss the road trips, even a simple overnight getaway, that I haven’t managed to take in almost a year now. That’s the kind of riding I prefer.


Categories: anecdotes | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “A Whole Lot of Nothing

  1. Glad that you escaped unscathed, you’re very lucky not to have been on the bike. A weird coincidence is that my Subaru was hit by my neighbour’s daughter while it was parked outside my house…my insurance company also provided me with a Jeep Compass. The “Penalty Box” is a fitting name.

    I was getting ready for my two-week long motorcycle vacation at the time of the accident, and if she had ran into my bike instead I’m sure my reaction would not have been so calm.

    • Justin Hughes

      Thanks! That is a strange coincidence. The Compass has few redeeming qualities. It’s mechanically identical to the Dodge Caliber, but not rated as well. Yeah, it’s that bad. But it’s four wheels and a seat, which is all I need in the short term. I’ll likely take advantage of the extra cargo space while I have it, too.

      My BRZ is my baby, but I’m as calm as I am because the guy who hit me made an honest effort not to. I saw the whole thing in my mirror after I safely stopped – he wasn’t the inattentive one. I guess I’ve been through enough wrecks in iRacing and on the go-kart track to have gotten used to the experience by now, and to judge it with a clear mind, even though this is my first actual wreck in many years.

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