Wednesday morning around 9:15 a.m.: Hmm…another iced coffee with soy milk? But then I would have to drive up Dodge, wait at that long light crossing River on my way to work. Alvernon is faster. Weekday mundane thoughts as I approached Country Club, stopped and was ready to turn left.
A motorcycle heading north. An older man wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat, no helmet. He tries to cut across the busy street from the sidewalk. The motorcyclist focuses on the road ahead, going fast.
Crash, smash! In slow motion I notice the bicyclist rising off his seat. Both men are lying in the street. I’m the first one there. I can’t believe I’m seeing what I’m seeing. “Oh my god,” I repeat, opening the car door. I’m not sure what happened next. Two men appeared in the street and had stopped traffic.
“I’ll call 911!” I yell to no one in particular. I’m afraid the bicyclist is dead. He isn’t moving. The other guy hollers, “my knee hurts.” Meanwhile, I’m fiddling with my new iPhone. Can’t find the keyboard. This time I yell, “who called 911?”
“You did,” one of the men, who’s obviously more with it than I am, responds. The bicyclist sits up; he has blood streaming down the side of his head. In spite of the momentary delay reaching 911, the police arrived very quickly.
We took the free bike safety classes sponsored by Pima County this week. I learned a lot, including how to change a tire, why it’s important to ride 4-5 feet from the curb, I shouldn’t bike on the right side of the University of Arizona mall, and the mango tango eegee’s is really good.
Now I feel more confident about bicycling. When I was around 10 I fell off my bike, was knocked unconscious (wrote a blog post about it on May 7 last year!).
I recently bought a new bike, a more elegant one. No more purple and white streamers flying. Maybe I don’t need them anymore.
I’ll still avoid big streets. If I have to cross any, I’ll do a box turn instead of crossing three lanes of traffic. Too scary for me. When I first came to Tucson 10 years ago I couldn’t imagine riding a bike. But here I am.
Our teacher Jim told me today to practice riding like a slalom skier so I could experience the leaning necessary for some cycling maneuvers. How very Zen. Being one with my bike. Some of the fear I’ve carried with me all these years feels released.