So, 5 weeks ago, I’m out riding my beloved Storck road bike. I love this bike by the way. Made in Germany, the homeland of my father, so yes, Fatherland. Best road bike I’ve ever owned without question. It weighs in at just over 14 pounds and my fat ass likes that.
Anyway, I’m riding along on my usual route that takes me through some residential side roads that are both fun and challenging depending upon which way the coastal winds are blowing. At 6 miles into the ride, I’m on one of these side/neighborhood roads when I’m doing two things. One, listening to an audiobook and turning up the volume and two, seeing a road patch with a wicked cracked seem in it. Now any serious road cyclist will tell you that you avoid cracked seems in the road because they can grab your front wheel and toss you if you hit it the wrong way. Being one who always avoids these bumpy road patches, I swerved to avoid the patch and seem. Out of the force of habit, I swerve to the right, away from the travel lane towards the edge of the pavement. Had I been thinking properly and had a mirror on my helmet like I usually do, I would have seen there was no one coming behind me and I could have swerved to the left into the travel lane instead.
The cataclysmic result of my “swerve right” mindset is the image above. While my eyes fixated slightly on the patch and crack, what my attention span did not take into account was the awaiting rear-end of a white Jeep Wrangler. The impact was slightly….. what’s the word?…… Abrupt. Though I didn’t hit the deck as I impacted the left rear corner of the vehicle, the bicycle did come out from under me and left me standing beside the left rear wheel of the vehicle… after my right shoulder came in contact with the aforementioned corner of the Jeep. Additionally, I hadn’t noticed at the time but the shattered top tube of the bike harpooned my left leg just above my knee and I was bleeding. There was no pain there and I hadn’t noticed it until later.
I stood there, bend over, taking in the absolute pain and knowing exactly what was taking place inside my body at that moment. I was processing the pain as I held my arm close to my chest and with a degree of mystery behind the movement, I somehow gathered up my precious Storck, now in two pieces, held together by nothing but the brake and shift cables. Tears welled up, not for or from the pain but for the loss of this immaculate machine that I loved so. How would I ever replace it? That is all I thought about as I hobbled back to the main road and tried to make contact with my wife. Which I was unable to do. I managed to get ahold of my step-Daughter April and she was too far away to come get me, but I would start walking in the direction of home in hopes I could at least meet her somewhere or I’d call for an Uber.
Nearly at the main road, a gentlemen in his driveway took notice of me and asked if I need help or a ride. He pointed out that he saw I was bleeding and that’s when I noticed the cut above my knee. I said I could use a ride and he offered to take me and my broken baby home. Scott was his name and I’ll never forget his kindness as I sweated and bled on his seat. He was tremendously helpful. He even put the bike in and took it out of his SUV for me.
Ten minutes after I got home my step-daughter arrived at home and 10 minutes later I was in the emergency room in my cycling clothes. Still no word from my wife.
After all the waiting, questions and xrays it was confirmed that I had broken my collarbone, cleanly, near the end. It would be 4-6 weeks before it was healed and 3 months before the bone was completely healed. During the first few weeks my arm would be in a sling to keep my shoulder immobile.
There would be no bicycle riding and no motorcycle riding for at least 4 weeks.
This is what “Disappointed” looks like. But I knew that if I did what the doctor told me, I’d be able to attempt riding the Harley in about 3 to 4 weeks. Cycling would be a different story. There certainly wouldn’t be any mountain biking in my near future, that’s for sure.
So while I couldn’t ride, I could at least shop for new parts, a new bicycle, a new bike frame or something to take my mind off of it all. I had been shopping and looking at new bikes in my local bike shop, Brielle Cyclery, to see what was out there and what it might cost me. I was astounded at the cost of the bikes. Yes, yes, I know times have changed since I bought the Storck in 2015. Technology has improved and new designs and materials have advanced bicycles further since that fateful day when I first swung my leg over the Fascenario 0.8 that now lie in two pieces in the Ted Shed. But still….. I wasn’t prepared to plunk down over $5000 for a new bike.
The on-line retailers were worse. Sure I could get an aluminum frame bike, not a Storck, for less than $2000, but I did not want to return to the land of bikes that weighed more than my small SUV. So, off to eBay I went. After much scouring, searching and typing I came across another Storck frame. I was shocked. What are the odds that I would find another Storck frame, the same model year and the next level up model? What are those odds. Amazing is what they are. Thanks to paypal credit…. I made the purchase and now…..
….this new-to-me Storck frame and the components from the old frame are now at the shop getting rebuilt into my new bike. They told me it would be a week or so before I got it back and that’s okay. There will have to be a new pro-fit for me on this, even though it is the same size but we have to ensure that it all feels the same.
Last week I was able to take the Harley out finally and it felt good to be back on two wheels. I did 100 miles on that ride and there was no problems with my shoulder at all. Super excited to be getting back to riding soon.
This is the first time I have ever crashed my bicycle and it will also be the last time. So the moral of the story here boys and girls is to pay attention when you’re out there. When you are moving along at 20 miles per hour, the ground passes beneath you at 29.33 feet per second. PER SECOND. Run that through your mind a little bit.
Pay attention and ride safely.