It starts in parks
Happy New Year! Today we start our 2017 year of blogs with our favorite guest blogger and lifestyle cyclist Patrick “Paddy” McCallister from Volusia County. He’s a member of the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee at the River to Sea Transportation Planning Organization, which covers Flagler and Volusia counties.
The discovery hurt, but I have a tip to pass on — state and national parks are a great place to ride if a cyclist has health concerns.
Deborah, my girlfriend, and I went to Apollo Beach at Canaveral National Seashore on our mountain bikes to see a rocket launch and enjoy some spinning. Apollo Beach has about a six-mile road that’s nicely maintained and gives drivers lots of time to see bikes. Visitors are in good moods, so tend to be very road courteous. I’ve long wanted to ride it.
Canaveral doesn’t have much in the way of off-road opportunities, so I made my own. I’d get up some speed on the road, veer off the hard surface onto the semi-sandy shoulder, get some bumping into my ride, then swing back onto the road. If that doesn’t sound smart, it’s because … well, it’s because it’s not smart. Sometimes us 49-year-old men just aren’t very 49.
As I was swerving back onto the road my angle was too tight and speed to fast. The laws of physics asserted themselves in the form of the rear wheel breakaway as I cut tight to stay in my road lane. Once a rear wheel breaks into a slide, all the rider can do is hope the emergency room isn’t too busy.
Did I mention I over tightened the pedal straps denying myself the chance to get my feet out in a hurry? I went down in a 180 spin, hitting the asphalt with the bike still between my legs. I slid on my side across the asphalt, leaving some skin along the way, then off the roadway to get dirt and grass into the fresh wound.
It wasn’t but about 90 seconds from the time I stopped before a carload of nice folks stopped and check on Deborah and me. I was standing — in a good bit of pain — by then. There wasn’t much I needed from them, unless they were carrying a medical-supply kit that’d make EMTs envious. They didn’t, but the folks had ice and plastic bags to hold it, which I gratefully accepted.
My plan was to head to the visitor center that was a couple miles away after icing my arm for a few minutes. The Apollo Beach visitor center has a sign to let people like me know there’s first aid there.
But about a minute after the nice folks left, a ranger pulled up to check on Deborah and me. I told him I wrecked my bike all by myself and was going to get some first aid. The ranger said he could clean and dress the wound there. And he did. Very professionally, too.
The bike was OK, so Deborah and I rode back to the car. She shared a thought — you should write a blog about cycling in national parks if you have health worries. They’re a great place to be away from thick traffic, but close by to trained help should you have a medical emergency.
So, here goes, my painful discovery to share with you…
State and national parks are a great place to cycle if you health concerns. They’re patrolled by folks with basic medical training and have just enough traffic that it’s likely a down cyclist will be seen within a couple minutes.
Another tip — transferring from soft to hard surfaces requires a nice, slow transition.
Do you have a bicycle story to tell? Photos to share? Be our guest and be our next guest blogger! Send your story and photos to Becky@floridabicycle.org.
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