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Barbara Takes A Tumble


At first I was reluctant to pen this post; no, not for the sake of my wife’s privacy — she knows I can’t help but find something to write about from this. Instead it was my anticipation of the feedback I’ll hear from my bike riding pals — that I was riding on the sidewalk!

She was more rattled than injured, although she’s nursing some deep bruises and a scrape on her elbow. “I thought I would get run over.”

Like lots of bumps and scrapes, “I feel the worst today,” she offered this morning at breakfast, compared to when it happened Saturday afternoon.

We were coming back from the classic ride, the Back Bay loop when it happened. For us, we begin the loop by dropping down from Jamboree through the Back Bay View Park; that means we exit at Dover and Coast Hwy, riding walking our bikes down from Castaways, going under Coast Hwy and onto the sidewalk as we pedal across the bridge heading east.

We moved off the sidewalk and pedaled through the intersection of Coast Hwy and Bayside Drive, then as we had discussed several minutes prior, we would return to the sidewalk for the gradual climb up to Jamboree. I knew that sidewalk riding was ok beginning at Jamboree and, ahem, I assumed it would start lower.

This looks like a smooth ramp up onto the sidewalk…

We’re not the only ones with a new found respect for the torrent of traffic on Coast Hwy during these summer weekends. Huntington Beach and Sunset Beach have each had fatalities on Coast Hwy recently. It could happen anywhere; that’s part of my motivations for riding the sidewalk on this stretch of road.

Well, here’s how it happened: I move up onto the sidewalk right past the gas station. I see the lip on the sidewalk and turn the wheel sharply so as to not get caught. Barbara didn’t. She turned right, but the bike kept going straight and down she went — on the edge of Coast Hwy in the middle of the driveway into the gas station, not a good spot to linger.

This lip in the ramp, you’ll find them all over town, can catch the wheel if you don’t turn sharply.

Even before I could get to her a young man came to her aid. I assisted and moved her up and over, out of the way. She was all right, nothing broken — not like Michael Toerge. She was well enough to ride home and there was nothing bent or broken on the bike, except her rear-view mirror.

I went back today to take these photos to illustrate the point, and to check if sidewalk riding is approved for this stretch. If it is, it’s not signed. Maybe it would be suitable for sidewalk riding since the sidewalks before and after this stretch are signed.


She had a lot to say while she iced her injured thigh muscles. The threat of being run over by a car was her #1 concern; mine, too. That vulnerable feeling stayed with her; she knows the data about fatalities and collisions.

I had a spare mirror and fixed it right away. A sore neck has been added to her aches and pains. We’re both happy it was relatively minor, and that it happened well enough prior to our plans for an 8-day bike ride in Victoria



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