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September-October 1999 Newsletter

From the President

by Earl Jones


The title of that ’60s song, Season of the Witch, might best describe the LBC cycling season as of this writing on August 1. How else can you explain the hex that seems to have been put on so many of our riders?

As of mid-July I counted at least four crashes that have involved at least seven riders, all of them experienced riders.

Don’t accept the witch’s curse explanation?
There is another: over confidence.
And another: forgetting basic bike handling skills.

Fortunately, only one of the accidents resulted in serious injuries although all resulted in much injured pride. Education VP Glenn Todd and the Education Committee will be examining ways to refresh and improve the skills levels of more experienced riders without losing sight of our commitment to new rider bike safety classes. In the meantime, all of us should remember some common sense tips, some of which could have prevented the recent accidents:

  • Remember your cycling ABC’s. Before every ride check your air pressure, brakes and chain, gears and quick releases.
  • Keep your lid on tight. Make sure your helmet is properly positioned (not tilted) and that the chin strap can’t come over your chin.
  • If you’re not familiar with the road, slow down, especially on the descents.
  • Keep a safe distance from other riders, especially if you don’t know their riding abilities, if the pavement is uneven and on the descents.
  • Watch your front wheel. It’s your responsibility to avoid contact.
  • Be considerate of other riders. Call out hazards, let everyone know your intentions by calling out if you’re slowing, braking, or passing.
  • Remember that cyclists are safest when they act like other vehicles. Take your good car-driving skills with you on the bike.

I’ll bet that the folks involved in each of the recent accidents can point to at least one thing, probably something simple and common sensible, that would have avoided the crash. In my case (actually, make that five crashes) it was a case of getting stuck in a groove on a patch of uneven pavement and not thinking quickly enough to get out of it. (If only I had ridden around that bad patch, or not been so intent to catch up to the riders ahead, or...)

If you want to discuss any of this or have any safety related questions, see any of the club officers. In the meantime, I hope we don’t let these incidents get us down. As Lance Armstrong said in recounting his decision to return to racing, any day on a bike is a good day. But we’ll have a lot more good days if we’re a little more careful.


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Web posted: 17 August 1999
last updated: 17 August 1999
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