We’re southbound on Rt 376, ticking along at about 15 mph, with fresh string-trimmer debris littering the shoulder:
Did you notice the rock? I didn’t.
The fairing ripples as my front tire hits the left side of the rock:
I have no memory of the next two seconds.
The offset impact turns the front wheel to the left, so the bike steers out from underneath my weight:
Because the bike frame was still aimed straight ahead, the wheel is steering further to the left and putting me even more off-balance. I am somehow trying to lean left far enough to get my weight lined up with the bike:
One second into the event, Mary has no idea what’s going on behind her.
My memory resumes with an image of the yellow midline just beyond my left foot:
Mary heard an odd sound and asks (over the radio) “Are you all right?”
I’m approximately balanced, turning toward the shoulder, and manage to shout “NO!”:
I’m coasting toward the shoulder with my feet off the pedals:
Mary is stopping and I coast past her:
Landing gear out:
Back on the shoulder, lining up with the guide rail:
Docking adapter deployed:
I sat in that exact position for nearly four minutes.
A slideshow view of the same images so you can watch it unfold:
Doesn’t look like much, does it?
If I could have looked over my shoulder, this is what I would have seen, starting at T = 0 with the rock impact blurring the image:
Surely scared the daylights out of that driver, perhaps confirming all the usual expectations of crazy bicyclist behavior.
Here’s what Mary would have seen over her shoulder, again starting at T = 0 with the fairing bulging from the impact:
Timing is everything.
That Benz is new enough to have automatic emergency braking, as it slowed pretty dramatically while I was busy getting out of the way, but it’s not clear whether AEB knows about small / lightweight targets like pedestrians and bicyclists.
We completed the ride as planned, although I finally realized the front fender bracket had broken a few miles later.
Every adult human male has at least one story beginning “But for that millisecond or inch, I wouldn’t be here.” Now I have one more.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.Frank Herbert, Dune