This weekend at the Tour de Palm Springs, a cyclist was killed by a motorist that they suspect was traveling at speeds of 100 mph on a road with a posted speed limit of 50 mph. The rider was on the 100 mile route and mom and I weren’t aware of this until we read the paper the next morning. Several of mom’s friends asked me if this bothered me and I said, no, I’m okay. And I am okay. But I notice today, a travel day, my anxiety levels are high and I’m struggling to calm my mind.
This ride was so enjoyable for me. It was FUN. It was warm, my rented road bike was comfortable and I was doing a 50 mile ride in Palm Springs with my mom. How many people get to say this? I truly enjoyed every moment on my bike. I wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t constantly checking for traffic. This weekend I remembered why riding a bike is fun, why I started riding in the first place. There are so many things to experience on a bike that you just don’t get when driving.
I do have some things that I need to do before I try to ride more. I need new shoes. When I look at my shoes, when I bend down to do them up I see myself sitting in the back of a RCMP car giving my statement. While I was there, an EMT kneeled down beside the car, put his hand on my calf and asked if he could loosen my shoes for me. This is what I see when I look at my shoes.
When I see my pedals, I see the shot from Global news showing a view of a bike with red pedals in the ditch. Those were my pedals, on my bike in that clip. When I look at my bike, I remember all of the rides that Sherry and I did, all the races, but I also remember my bike on the side of the road and why it was on the side of the road, in the ditch.
I need to sell my bike, buy a road bike with new pedals and new shoes. I need to find new routes, new rides where the traffic is limited. It may be that I do a lot of training inside on my trainer and only do those rides where we drive to quiet roads or ride in groups. That’s a challenge, but there’s just something about riding a bike.
But then I think, there were thousands of bikes on the road Saturday yet one driver, one driver who thought he could break the rules, killed a cyclist. How can this be? But we can lose our lives at any moment at any time. It could be walking across the street, driving down the highway, a freak accident at home. Is riding in an organized race with thousands of cyclists on the road any more risky than walking across the street?
I don’t think it is. Maybe the death of yet another cyclist will make those that know this grief and fear be more careful when they are in a situation that effects others. Then again, when are we not in an a situation where our choices effect others? Never.
Do we let the fear take away our joy? We can’t. My mom says I need a do over. I agree, a do over is in order. I don’t think I’ll be jumping on my bike to ride any of the roads around Lethbridge any time soon, but I can ride the pathways, I can ride on my trainer, I can head to Chief Mountain for a good day of climbing. It’s not fair that a driver can take away our joy and well being. So let’s not let them.