Accident avoidance…

Posted: November 22, 2012 by Ben Weber in Cycling, English, Training
Tags: , , , , , ,

The first big test for us with riding with the bike pedals came this weekend when we went back to Itu. It was tricky, and we made it alive – but only just!

We got up pretty early, around 6am, as we normally do for our long distance rides. We filled up our new panniers with a bit of weight – not too much as this was the first time riding with them. For me, riding with a few litres of water, along with my heavy zoom lens and camera was enough to make quite a bit of a difference. Natalia had a bit less than me, with just a few litres of water. We slipped on our cycle shoes and headed out.

It felt a bit strange for me at first though I was pretty happy the way I adapted to the new shoes. Every now and then I tried to lift my foot off the pedal and felt them stuck on it, but generally was able to get my feet out in time – fortunately for me, no falling off. Which was nice, It also felt so so so much nicer(!) having the weight in the panniers at the back of the bike as opposed to a rucksack on my back as I had been doing on previous rides.

Natalia found it a bit harder getting used to the pedals. She was doing great at first, although I guess she was slightly nervous using them. We got to Santana de Paraiba, passing up and down the steep hills at Barueri, and around 40km into the whole ride with no problems. After a wander around the historic town of Paraiba, we continued onwards towards Pirapora – about 14km up the road, but with a bit of a brutal uphill en route. It was along this uphill where Natalia, in trying to stop to catch her breath, had problems in getting her feet off the pedals – she managed to clip out, but clipped herself in again and came off: falling road-side instead of on to the verge… just when a truck was coming. Nat described how the truck narrowly missed her head as she struggled to get herself dis-entangled from the bike and get out of the vehicle’s way. Scary. Very scary.

I was a bit in front of her when it happened, and didn’t see it. The first I heard of it when the truck passed me and passenger shouted at me that Natalia was in trouble. I looked behind and saw her riding up, and as she got close she stopped and I guess a bit of shock hit her, so we stayed put for a while to get some rest.

Passing by the truck on the other side of the hill, Nat spoke with the driver who wondered what had happened. Nat explained about the clips, and the driver apologised for not having stopped to see if she was alright, as the whole road up the hill was pretty dangerous – which it was. He also said that he didn’t sound his horn as he didn’t want to give her more of a surprise as he had already been able to see she was in a spot of bother. Nat was pretty grateful about the horn part as she readily admitted that had he sounded it, it would have probably scared the life out of her and made things worse.

Thankfully everything was alright in the end. Nat recovered okay though was obviously a bit shaken for a while. We were able to make it to Itu by the end of the day – at a slower rate than we normally do, and Nat used the platform part of her pedals instead of the clips as she didn’t feel comfortable using them – certainly can’t blame her for that! She knows that will need to get used to them as there is a lot to gain in riding with them, especially over the long distance rides, so we’ll be cycling again with them soon. At the end of the day, though, we were just happy to get back home, relax, and see the cat again!

  1. […] Accident avoidance… […]

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