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Losing My Nerve


I wiped out on the bike last week.  That makes two times in about six weeks that I’ve ended up on the pavement – not a good record considering I took almost two weeks off from riding during Christmas.  Neither accident involved vehicles, luckily.  But after sliding down the road on my ass this past Wednesday, I’m feeling slightly less comfortable on the bike.

McDonalds1This time around, I hit a patch of ice in the middle of the road and the bike slid out from underneath me.  Before I knew it, I was sliding on my ass down the roadway.  By the time I saw the ice, it was too late for me to stop and I couldn’t steer into the other lane because there were vehicles beside me.  This was the only ice on my entire 10-mile commute.  And why was there a large patch of ice in the middle of the road?  Because a certain multi-national fast food chain decided to water their landscaping (and an entire lane of the road) when the temps were below freezing.

Where this happened, there is a city ordinance prohibiting landscape watering when the temperatures are below freezing (and prohibiting excessive overspray).  The ordinance allows for a $2,000/day fine.  I didn’t call the city though.  I simply wrote their corporate legal department a short letter and sent an additional copy to the local restaurant.  I haven’t made up my mind as to what I will do if it happens again – hopefully it won’t.  Hopefully they will be smart enough to install a $35 freeze sensor onto their sprinkler system.

My bike suffered some minor cosmetic and mechanical damage, but I was able to continue riding to the office.  My back got thrown out of place.  But probably the biggest effect is that I struggled to ride home that afternoon.  I didn’t really want to get back on the bike (but I did).  Fear crept in, and that’s not definitely not good.  I don’t want to be afraid of my commute.



  1. That sounds scary. Thank goodness you didn’t slide into traffic. Good for you for writing the company- that’s BS they let their sprinklers run.
    I hate being scared on the bike. Hopefully you get comfortable again soon.

  2. Glad you are okay, that is scary. I would definitely call the city. Unfortunately, the only reason most companies listen is due to money. The letters might work, but the city should know to watch that location closely next time it freezes.

  3. Bill Chance says:

    That’s a scary thing – ice and narrow bike tires don’t mix very well. I am so tired of the over-watering that goes on in the Metroplex (my own take – no watering, no mowing).

    I fell the other day for the first time in years – I was riding my road bike along my commuting route and a tire dropped down into the gap between two rubber pads on a railroad crossing. Something the street crew doesn’t even notice (a gap running parallel to the curb) is toxic to a bicycle.

    Keep up the good work, thanks for sharing.

  4. Jill says:

    The fast food restaurant will probably give you a coupon for a free meal… one with meat even.

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