It may not be safe, but it sure is dangerous

Apparently, some people have questioned the safety of bicycling. They are, to paraphrase Cap Taintbag, “fuggin morons.”

The statistics, all of which are damned lies, were recently put forth in a New York Times blog, which is where the Times puts everything that’s too douchey to make it to the regular printed doucherag that no one subscribes to anymore. Incredibly, the article concluded that it’s hard to conclude whether cycling is really more dangerous than other sports, to which I can only say, with jaw thwapping the desk …


Rehabbing the rehabbers

This past weekend I scooted up to Camarillo for Pacifica ‘Cross Fest, with Dandy Andy at the wheel. I for one could not, even for a moment, understand why a ‘cross race was being held on the grounds of a rehab center. Sure, they posted “no alcohol allowed” on the flyer, but come fuggin on! Beer is to ‘cross what venereal sores are to amateur porn: they go hand in mouth together, so to speak.

Now, in case you think bicycling is safe, you have never, ever, ever seen a ‘cross race. Or a downhill MTB race. Or a madison. Or anything modified by the phrase “Cat 5.” The whole point of ‘cross, for dog’s sake, is to fall off your bike, get injured, and finish or quit. D-Mac wrecked his spine on the barriers. China Dahl swallowed four pounds of sludge, face-first, in the wood-chip turn (and went on to place second and hold onto the overall series lead). Although T-Dub didn’t crash in the finishing straight by having a giant swatch of snow fencing come unhitched and wrap into his wheel, sending him face-first to the dirt like last week, lots of other riders sailed face-first, or spine-first, or nuts-first, or veejays-first, off their bikes and into barriers, gravel, fencing, trees, or beer.

Is bicycling dangerous? Does the pope shit in the ocean?

Why some people foolishly believe bicycling is safe

In short, there is a subset of person who believes that life itself is either safe, or can be made so. They have willfully disregarded the uniform empirical evidence which shows, without exception, that all human life ends in death, the epitome of unsafeness. However, unlike couching, or televisioning, or beering, bicycling greatly accelerates the arc towards unsafeness and death.

The fantastic ways that you can wreck yourself on a bicycle are limited only by your imagination, bad coordination, poor judgment, inattentiveness, overconfidence, misplaced trust, and lousy timing. When done improperly, which bicycle riders do all the the time, the act of pedaling can result in flipping backwards and cracking your skull on the pavement, falling over and splitting your hip, plunging forward and crushing your face (including nose, teeth, cheekbones, eyes, forehead, jaw, chin, and brain), dislocating or breaking collarbones, shoulders, arms, legs, puncturing lungs, shattering necks and spines, stripping off huge bloody swatches of skin (peeling back to reveal bones, veins, arteries, muscles, tendons, guts), permanent cognitive injury, bleeding on the brain, rupturing kidneys/livers/internal organs, and generally being forced to show up to work in a body cast and admit that you did it because you “fell off your bike.”

Contrary to the common sense that cyclists rarely have, you stand just as much risk in a selfie crash as you do from getting taken out by Mitzy and her Range Rover. Pedal, and you’re fuggin gonna fall. It’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “any idiot who’s ever seen the inherent instability of a bicycle understands that sooner or later you’re gonna crack your noggin, and crack it hard.”

I like my fear like I like my women: Sweaty and dirty

My big goal at Pacifica ‘Cross was to nail down seventh place. Twenty-five pedal strokes into the race, that dream was crushed like a junior high secret love note  picked up by the teacher. I got a terrible start, as usual, and wound up behind Pokey Joe, a fellow who was more tentative and frightened and incompetent than even I. Worse, Pokey was stuck behind Slugsy, a chubby fellow in a kit three sizes too small whose buttcrack was so massive it hung out of the neck of  his skinsuit. Slugsy, in turn, was holed up behind Toad, a gentleman who thought we were slow dancing.

In front of this elephant’s parade of losers was the race, and it tore off with the pell-mell insanity of any ‘cross race, leaving the tentative riders and the ‘fraidy cats to ponder what might have been if they weren’t so chicken at the gun. Fortunately, I’d pre-ridden the course and had mastered its sandy turns, its deep sand pit, its mulch corner, and its BMX berms so that I could take them at maximum speed.

Unfortunately, by the middle of Lap One my heart rate was pegged out at 210, I couldn’t see, I’d frozen up in clenched terror, and all of my smooth moves did what smooth moves do when you’re completely fuggin pegged out: They went to shit.

Far away on the course I could see China Dahl charging onward, face full of dirt, to his glorious second place. I could see Garnet Vertigo racing for third, as far up the road Dandy Andy flatted yet again and jogged through four miles of mud and goatheads to reach the pit. I even had the memory of Randy Tinhead and Jay LaFred taking second and first in their respective categories.

None of that helped as I tiptoed through the turns, even getting passed by some wanker on an MTB. Eventually, Chubby Dude and Pokey and Slugsy were overhauled and dropped, but I never got higher up in the field of twenty than tenth place. All along the course I could see people slipping, falling, crashing, bonking their heads, skinning their shins, tumbling over the handlebars, and diving headfirst into the free samples at the BonkBreaker tent.

Safety in bicycling? You kidding me?

Next thing you’ll be telling me about sobriety and abstinence at a ‘cross race held at a rehab center. Because the foamy, deep amber recovery drinks that filled everyone’s water bottle to go along with T-Dub’s barbecued sausage sure as hell didn’t taste like Cytomax to me.

16 thoughts on “It may not be safe, but it sure is dangerous”

  1. Foamy beverages in your bottles? Now I really must spank myself for not hangin’ out with you hecklers.

  2. Arkansas Traveler

    A relaxed body doesn’t break as easily when it hits the ground. Nothing relaxes me like beer. Draw your own conclusions…

  3. Pingback: Cycling & Health & The NYT

  4. FWIW, in response to your note that “[that article was placed] where the Times puts everything that’s too douchey to make it to the regular printed doucherag that no one subscribes to anymore.”

    The blog post was actually on the front page of the Science section of the print paper.

    1. And I know this because I am an anachronistic douche that gets the physical paper delivered to my doorstep, even Sunday. I am the envy of my neighbors.

      1. Yeah, pretty much. I mean, I read it, but I’m some nobody whose pride thickens with every day’s delivery of a fresh, inky NYT.

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