Mushy Rides, Onerous Landings – Bike Snob NYC


This previous Friday, Exterior posted my newest column, which is about why bike racing is sweet:

It’s now Monday, and I take all of it again. Properly, okay, not likely, however the timing is all reasonably ironical, as a result of the very subsequent day my elder son and I headed out to a mountain bike race on Lengthy Island. It is a race we each rode two years in the past, and he’s needed to do it once more ever since. Final 12 months we didn’t make it, however this 12 months I lastly signed us each up once more, since not solely has he already been racing on the velodrome for the previous few weeks, however I figured it was additionally an ideal alternative for me to place the Gumby Bike to the check:

At this level in my life two years looks like 5 minutes, however loads has modified in that point, and I’d as nicely have arrived at this 12 months’s race with a totally completely different individual:

Right here’s the child who got here with me two years in the past:

Race circumstances had been additionally fairly completely different. Two years in the past it was sunny and scorching:

Whereas this 12 months it was already drizzling after we left the Bronx, and by the point we obtained to the beginning it was raining closely–although this didn’t deter my son, who obtained a stable begin regardless of the conservatively low gearing of his singlespeed:

I’d registered for the race following my son’s, and so I waited for him by the end line had been I cunningly pre-soaked myself:

The secret’s to completely saturate your jorts:

This at the side of a moist embroidered saddle creates virtually Velcro-like scranial engagement:

Positive, ordinarily you need to have the ability to shift your weight and transfer round in your saddle a bit of bit, however it’s important to keep in mind my intention was to judge the efficiency traits of the Softride’s patented (?) beam, and by suturing my crotch to the seat I’d guarantee consistency of information for testing functions. Additionally, perhaps this adhesion would assist maintain the beam from catapulting me off of it.

As I waited, the rain solely obtained heavier. I used to be properly moistened by the point the winner got here in, and I eagerly anticipated the arrival of my son, in addition to the beginning of my very own race so I may lastly generate a bit of physique warmth. As a substitute, I obtained a name from his cellphone. “Ah shit, he obtained a flat,” I believed to myself, waves of guilt washing over me for equipping his bike with primitive inside tubes. Alas, no–because it turned out, he’d had a nasty crash and couldn’t proceed, and after some passing back-and-forth of telephones a first-responder in an ATV headed into the dense Syosset jungle:

It returned together with his bike, which I quickly discovered can be impounded by police as proof, as I’d be charged with sending a minor to race within the rain on a inflexible bicycle with rim brakes:

Simply kidding:

However sure, the ATV returned with each my bike and my son, who was in a makeshift sling and fairly a little bit of ache, however who was dealing with it with aplomb:

As a substitute of lining up for my race, I used to be now headed to the native emergency room. Calibrated for metropolis wait occasions, I figured we’d be there nicely into the night, however in the long run I don’t even assume the whole go to lasted greater than two hours. X-rays confirmed nothing damaged, although we do must comply with up with a kind of skilled bone physician individuals.* Within the meantime he’s in a sling, and hopefully will probably be a speedy restoration.

*[Looks like ER doctor missed something, professional bone doctor says there’s probably a fracture, though he’ll just need to keep wearing the sling.]

As a mother or father, when your kids get damage, you’re feeling prefer it’s your fault. However you then inform your self (whether or not rightly or wrongly) that getting damage is part of life, and that no exercise is freed from threat:

As a bicycle owner, you are taking issues a step additional–particularly once you’ve made a cottage trade out of eschewing the newest bike tech and fawning over singlespeed mountain bikes like I’ve. “Perhaps he wouldn’t have crashed with gears and suspension and disc brakes,” I believed to myself as I put his bike on the rack earlier than heading over to the emergency room. At that time I nonetheless knew nothing concerning the circumstances of the crash, however now that I’ve a greater concept of what occurred I doubt any of that stuff would have made the slightest distinction. Mainly, he took an ill-timed drink and misplaced management, and the one piece of kit that may have obviated that might have been that hydration pack he used when he was two years youthful and it was about 20 levels hotter, since he would have at the very least had each fingers on the bars. Extra familiarity with the course would even have been an enormous assist, and never taking him to pre-ride one thing he final rode two years in the past falls squarely on me.

Regardless, whether or not we’re children or adults, racers or sane individuals, all of us crash ultimately. Furthermore, each crash at the very least represents one other prevented sooner or later, because you study one thing from every one. Maybe most significantly, my son obtained to expertise a biking ceremony of passage, that being at the very least seventeen medical professionals asking you in the event you had been carrying a helmet.

Plus, I didn’t need to parade myself round within the mud on that Softride, so all in all it may have been an entire lot worse.