Past Columns Here
Bike Rides 102
Planes, Trains and Bicycles
Some stories are just hard to believe. These days I find more
often than not I’m the skeptic in the crowd. I recall recently
debating with my family the authenticity of the show “Operation
Repo” on TruTV.
It’s my contention, entertaining
as it may be, the entire show is scripted and the players are
merely actors. I’ll concede they’re all big enough
to handle themselves but there is no way even a SWAT team could
encounter so much danger, so frequently, without actually getting
themselves killed. Team Repo would surely have met the reaper
by now, it’s only logical.
That’s why I found it really hard
to believe the story a friend was presenting over the phone recently
when she called requesting an emergency ride for herself and her
“A what ran your bike over”
I queried loudly in disbelief.
“A train.” she gasped, in a
laugh mixed with tears, just enough to sound believable, even
“How?” I asked, my tone losing
volume and gaining sympathy.
“I was riding on the trail when I
came to the train track out by Todd Park. I didn’t think
trains ran on Sundays. There was one parked on the track for a
long time, so I decided to drag my bike under it really quickly
because I didn’t know how else to get around it”.
“Seriously?” I asked, quieter.
“Seriously” my friend affirmed.
“The pedal got stuck on the track under the train and I
couldn’t get it out” she explained, convincingly upset.
“Really?” I said, softly.
“Yeah, then a guy walking the trail
started yelling at me that the train was moving and I needed to
get out right away” she went on.
“Oh my God…” I whispered,
an icy chill slowly making its way to my extremities.
“I got out just in time, but my bike
didn’t and it got smashed to pieces” she told me,
crying more than laughing now.
“Are you ok?” I asked, genuinely
“No,” she said through tears,
“my bike got destroyed.”
“Hang on, I’ll come and get
you.” I said, and I did.
This is a friend I’ve known since
high school. She’s not stupid, she’s one of my more
intelligent friends in fact, and this column is not an attempt
to belittle anyone. She’s a proud mother with a beautiful
home, raising two lovely children, which is two more than me.
She’s also a teacher, and wanted me to tell this story so
others could learn from it, including myself, even at her on peril
and certain humiliation.
I’m going to tell you straight up
too that I’ve dragged my own mountain bike under a parked
train in the past to save time. Not my wisest move I’ll
admit, but I’ll own it like I do all my other mistakes.
We both shared a cathartic laugh of relief
when we examined her bike at the scene, twisted and busted handle
bars, bent cranks, rims, etc. It wasn’t a cheap bike either.
Specialized is a good brand name, although it looked more a product
of Frito Lay now, twisted like a pretzel and leaning against a
This is a good lesson for all of us, myself
included. Had the events turned out another way, we wouldn’t
be laughing it off in a column, but I for one will never try this
maneuver again and I hope you never do either.
If you’d like to get a look at my
friends crumpled bike, find “Bike Rides” on Facebook,
where I’ve posted photos. “Friend” Bike Rides
while you’re at it!
“Maybe you could put this in as a
Traffic Tip or something in one of your columns” my friend
“We have way more material here than
a condescending, one-sentence remark at the end of a cheesy column
could do justice to.” I replied, both of us laughing out
loud now, completely without tears.
Traffic Tip: Trains run seven days a week.
Past Columns Here