Keep your Head in the Game
Today we welcome guest blogger Corporal Mike Nelson of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office:
We all talk and read a lot about proper safety and preparation before our rides. However, I want to tell you the story of one family that can teach us all a lesson about following through on what we should do – but often skip – once we get to our ride site.
Recently a local family in Southwest Florida planned an afternoon ride in the Everglades area. They are avid off-road bicyclists and frequently ride in the area. They are well-experienced, have good equipment that is well-maintained and cared for.
So far so good, right?
Once they reached the trailhead, one of Dad’s friends called and offered him a chance to go on a four-hour fishing trip, at no cost to him. Even better, it’s only a 30-minute drive from the trail head. The family talked it over and decided that Dad will go fishing and Mom and the children will stay and go biking. Again, they are experienced off-road bicyclists and ride often in the area.
After unloading the bikes, the family put on their riding gear, quickly checked over their bicycles, said goodbye to Dad and took off on their ride. Everyone is happy, life’s good, and they were all excited and looking forward to a great day.
Advance four hours later and in comes the 911 call. Everyone was safe, sound, unhurt, and OK. But what happened? In their excitement, and with the change in plans, this family overlooked something critical.
The Sheriff’s Office got the call for two teenage children and their mother stranded two miles from the trailhead with flat tires on their bikes, and the sun was starting to set. The family is found, brought out to the trailhead, and everyone is fine – but how did this turn into a rescue?
Human nature is what happened.
With a last-minute change of plans, excitement, and a self-induced hurry to get going, they broke their planned routine. They forgot their water bottles and snacks, leaving them in the cooler in the truck. Also left in the truck were the area maps in a day pack that also had the bug spray, sun screen, and compass. Dad’s bicycle had the bike bag with the tool pack, patch kit, extra cables, spare tire tubes, and first aid kit.
The family had done all the preparation right, had the right equipment, experience, savvy and attitude to have a great time and build some amazing memories. In the excitement, and change of plans they forgot to double-check that everything was in place and ready before departing on their adventure. As a result, the family bike ride turned into a potentially dangerous situation.
As always stay safe, follow the rules, pay attention and enjoy the ride!
– Cpl. Mike Nelson
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