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What's the dumbest/scariest thing you've ever done...(47 posts)

What's the dumbest/scariest thing you've ever done...gf99
Aug 8, 2003 5:20 AM
... on your bike?

Yeah I know, we all follow the rules of the road, ride defensively, etc. But we all were (or are) young and stupid at some point in our lives.

I was on a ride in the rockies one time that ends with a long climb followed by a 10 mile screaming descent to the finish. The road is twisty with a rock wall on the right hand side and a drop of several hundred feet on the left. As I approached the crest of the climb, a semi that had been stopped in the shoulder pulled into the road. I followed behind and began the descent. To my horror and dismay, the truck would not exceed 15mph due to the steep grade. I thought about passing, but due to the curves in the road and the large truck in front of me, I could not see if there was oncoming traffic. I did notice though that the shoulder was wide and in a few seconds I could scoot on by. So I did. Now the handling on a vehicle that size on a twisty road is less than precise. At one point I swear my elbows were almost touching both the truck and the rock wall at the same time. Almost soiled my chamois.

The truck quickly caught up to me once the road flattened out. Because of the wind and engine noise I couldn't hear what the driver screamed at me. He sure looked pi$$ed though. I'm one lucky sob to be alive.
uh, 64 mph in the dark?DougSloan
Aug 8, 2003 5:37 AM
In the Furnace Creek 508 there is a 5,000 foot descent from Townes Pass into Death Valley. This occurs about 210 miles into the race, and you hit it at night. So, you put on some good lights, have the crew vehicle follow you 20 feet behind with brights on, and plunge down the mountain at 64 mph. It helps to have a car about 1/4 mile ahead to help show the way. At one point, there is a drop off where you go blind over a lip, and are in total darkness for about 5 seconds, as the lights from behind you shoot over your head, and the lights on the bike are almost worthless at that speed. This is at speeds over 60 mph. I pre-rode the hill (in daylight) several times to prepare for this, and then just "used the force" in the race. Probably stupid, but that's racing.

beats my 50mph+ descend from Skyline in thick fogcyclopathic
Aug 8, 2003 6:45 AM
was ~300mi into ride. Luckly car passed me all I had to do is to stay in contact with taillights :)
I think fog is worse nmDougSloan
Aug 8, 2003 6:49 AM
Does a cat. 5 race count???biknben
Aug 8, 2003 5:38 AM
I've got a "dumbest" thing to offer.

I attempted a double century without any support. I hadn't trained sufficiently at all. My longest ride at that point was 102 miles. It was the end of June and the heat index for the day was in the upper 90's.

The symptoms I had were downright scary. I stopped sweating, had chills, dizyness, loss of concentration, etc. Thankfully the route went nearly right past my apartment. I went beyond there but started making wrong turns. I decided to go back and stop before getting too far away from my apartment. I laid in the bath tub with shower on for 30 minutes.

I can't imagine hitting "the wall" any harder. Considering that everyone else doing the event had a private sag and started hours ahead of me, I realize I was pretty foolish.

I can't think of a scary thing that I did intentionally. When I t-boned an SUV a few months ago I was certainly scared but who wouldn't be. There was also nothing I could do to prevent it so I'm not sure that counts.
Two stupid thingsDave Hickey
Aug 8, 2003 5:47 AM
1. Never try to push a loose handlebar plug back in while riding. For some reason it never dawned on me that the bike would make a very sharp left turn when I applied a lot of pressure on the right plug.

2. Never use the glove method of cleaning off the front tire BEHIND the fork. Ouch!!!!!
Aug 8, 2003 5:54 AM
...adjust you cyclometer pick-up that's on your front fork while moving at 20+ mph. Stick my thumb right into the spokes. Good thing I was wearing winter gloves, they took most of the damage but I was afraid to take off my glove for fear of the damage that lie beneath.
The same EXACT thing happened to mecyclinseth
Aug 8, 2003 7:09 AM
miss-aligned sensor on the fork, winter gloves, thumb getting pulled in between the spokes and the fork blade. Thought my thumb had bee pulled right off.

kinda dum
Me too!CritLover
Aug 8, 2003 9:18 AM
geez, now I don't feel so bad. It was during the first 5 miles of the road race in the Fitchburg stage race. I used the finishing tape from my bars as a temporary band aid, to stop the bleeding. It worked great!
Aug 8, 2003 7:14 AM
Glad you survived but talk about LOL. I too(recently) attempted move #1, but stopped moments shy of disaster, thinking "hmm", as I began palming the plug harder and harder.

You know when the image of a big red circle with a line through it pops into your head??

Too funny....

Ride safe....
I did the rear tire sweep thing....Once.PseuZQ
Aug 8, 2003 8:30 AM
Oh, here, let me just sweep that...hmm, seems to be something in my tire....think I'll apply a little more pressure...yeah, think I've got OWWWWWWWWW!!!! GOddANGITT!

Hand went between the tire and the seat stay, I bobbled a bit, nearly crashed into a curb, but hey! I kept riding! I definitely named myself "Dipsh** of the Day" however.
I did that too...Bonked
Aug 8, 2003 9:49 AM
now I always grab the seat stay when wiping off the rear tire.
Aug 8, 2003 5:59 AM
The $10 commuter light works great climbing through one at 10mph. Might as well not have it on the return trip at 40mph. Can't see the front wheel, can't see the ground, can't see the sides of the tunnel. Just fixate on the little bright light at the end and hang on.
Cat 4 Madison.Alex-in-Evanston
Aug 8, 2003 6:02 AM
A tremendous amount of fun, but I don't think more than 1 or 2 of the 8 paris had ever raced a Madison before. The exchanges were brutal. More frightening were the right-of-way issues that nobody was quite familiar with. Do I go high or low when I'm passing during your exchange? Do I go high or low when I'm the exiting rider being passed by the pack? the leaders? stragglers?

To top it off I got to wear a ridiculous bright pink jersey. Each pair had to wear a distinct jersey, and our club had two pairs in the race. My partner only had doubles of an ancient RAAM crew jersey (I forget the name of the RAAM rider, but I believe he bought Velo News). The lycra was circa the mid-80's.

Ran a stop sign without waiting to see if the car to my rightMXL02
Aug 8, 2003 6:27 AM
was turning...we nearly met in the intersection...I somehow swerved to miss her, (luckily she saw me at the last minute and slammed on her brakes), tried to bunny-hop the curb, made it about 1/2 way, slammed my front wheel into the curb but made it over, and just kept on going...did not look back to hear the yelling and gestures from the driver and the other motorists in the intersection. Only damage besides feeling incredibly stupid, was a minor truing of my front wheel...I too am a lucky SOB.
they all involved late nights and alcohol nmJS Haiku Shop
Aug 8, 2003 6:44 AM
Aug 8, 2003 6:57 AM
Late, drunk, P.O.'d at something or other, so I go for a ride through the neighborhood to blow off steam.

Oops, look out for that traffic circle (the one I ride by EVERY DAY)!!!
re: What's the dumbest/scariest thing you've ever done...mohair_chair
Aug 8, 2003 7:07 AM
I can't think of any really big dumb things I've done worthy of this discussion, just a lot of little ones. One dumb thing I've done more than once is pass cars on descents. If it's grandma going 20 mph, that's no big deal, but passing a car going 40 mph is kind of dumb!

I was on L'Alpe d'Huez last month, which everyone knows is a famous climb, but let me tell you, it is one hell of a descent, too. Because the road lengths between corners are fairly straight, you can really get some serious speed. Plus, the pavement for most of it was brand new. Cars don't have a chance. I passed sedans, campers, buses, etc., and finally caught up to two cars, both diesels, who were doing okay between the corners, but slowed to a crawl when they got there. (If you've never done L'Alpe d'Huez, most of the corners are 180 degrees and basically flat, so cars can't rip around them.) Anyway, tired of breathing diesel, but unable to safely pass on the straightaways, I finally pulled a desperation move by passing both cars in a corner, right on the center line, because traffic suddenly appeared going the other way. It was a little hairy, but I was fully committed and I pulled it off. I flew down the rest of the hill, stopped at switchback 21 (the first one) to take a picture of the switchback number sign (Fausto Coppi/Lance Armstrong, which someone stole over the next day or two--look for the empty pole in the race). Even after stopping, I never saw the cars again, which shows the huge advantage bikes have on that hill. Cars just can't lean into curves!
The first time I crossed a corner center line going 50+hrv
Aug 8, 2003 7:26 AM
With each ride my descending skills improve. Last spring I was on a ride with my buddy and on a long descent, when I was in front, I wanted to show just how good a descender I was (correction: thought I was) and pushed the speed envelope a hair higher than my skills could handle. At one blind, sharp curve, I couldn't hold it and crossed the centerline and almost ended up in a ditch on the other side.
Only by sheer luck was there no vehicle coming the other way, or I wouldn't be typing this today.

Haven't crossed a centerline since.

re: What's the dumbest/scariest thing you've ever done...Bulldozer
Aug 8, 2003 7:39 AM
I was on vacation in France and it was hella hot. Anyway, I was screaming down a long descent and I end up behind this guy in a pink jersey. Long story short, he wipes out right in front of me on the melted asphalt and I have to swerve to the right to avoid him so I end up in a field. Scared the crap out of me! Well, I just keep riding back towards the road through the field and I just know I'm going to get a flat at any moment so I'm preparing myself for it. Next thing I know, the road is right in front of me and there's a pretty big ditch but my tires are still holding air. Instincts kick in and I hop off the bike, run down the ditch and onto the road again. Just as I'm getting back on the road, another group of riders that I had passed a while back come by and almost hit me. A-holes! Can't they see that I'm trying to get out of the way??? Regardless, I caught that group and left them behind. Talk about scary.... I think a tourist snapped a pic of me in the act. Check it out.
re: What's the dumbest/scariest thing you've ever done...03Vortex
Aug 8, 2003 9:09 AM
Clever and funny!!
incredible shot! wow, you saw it all first hand! (nm)jtferraro
Aug 8, 2003 11:45 AM
re: What's the dumbest/scariest thing you've ever done...tarwheel
Aug 8, 2003 7:41 AM
1. Assembled a used bike I had bought, the first (for me) with a threadless stem. Apparently I didn't tighten stem enough and later noticed the steering was kind of funny while descending a hill at 30 mph. Pulled over to the side of the road and realized the stem was totally loose. I'm lucky I didn't wreck.

2. Riding in the mountains, I over-estimated my descending abilities and overshot a corner. Fortunately, there were no cars in the on-coming lane. I was able to keep the bike upright but left a long skid mark.

3. I once posted a message in a Radical/Moderate/RonPruitt thread. Forgive me.
Forget the young and stupid part...this was last monthScot_Gore
Aug 8, 2003 7:42 AM
You may have seen this in my ride report from my vacation. I'm tooling through Custer State Park in South Dakota, enjoying the long down hill coast, come around a corner at a high rate of speed and BAM, there's half a dozen buffalo walking down the middle of the road toward me. I slam on the brake, but I'm close and I'm not sure I'm going to get stopped in time. My minds thinking...should I try and ride through?????? Dilemma solved when they see me, turn and run away. Next day I see some tourist being interviewed in the ER who got gored on the same road. Could have been me.......

BTW: this is probably a good post to bring up Doug's Star fork. Anyone ???

Your fault the tourist got goredgf99
Aug 8, 2003 7:47 AM
You made 'em angry. They were just waiting for the next poor sap to wander by.
The story I keep eluding topitt83
Aug 8, 2003 7:44 AM
I was on my way to work after a 40 miler. I had been riding mornings to make time in my schedule and was chronically late for work. This day, I vowed not to be late again. I crested a small hill, surveyed the road; all celar. Go for the drops and hammer. Mind you, this road is wide open and largely flat.

Except, a Subaru was parked in a dip in the road. I never even looked up. Smashed through the rear window, helmet hit the roof (you could see the vein pattern in the roof), top and down tube broken through, collarbone broken on the "D" pillar, cut my ulnar tendon and artery.

Car was totalled because I smashed the roof and compromised roll over integrity. Homeowners covered the car and my bike losses.

Out of work for a week rehabing. Stupid, but funny in retrospect.
Holy shiesa - you get scariest moment award! (nm)hrv
Aug 8, 2003 8:05 AM
Holy cow...that's gnarly... you totaled a car?!? nmOffTheBack
Aug 8, 2003 8:05 AM
Do the mathpitt83
Aug 8, 2003 8:09 AM
230lb rider, 20lb Trek @ 20 mph in approximately 2 sq. ft (cross section of noggin and shoulders) = appx 125psi applied in one blunt force impact.

Since I caved the roof, the car couldn't be fixed safely. Approximately 2 yr old Outback.
You totalled a car???Fr Ted Crilly
Aug 8, 2003 8:18 AM
Wow, that's the first time I've heard of a bike totalling a car! All car drivers should read this and learn to keep their distance :-)
metric bi-century vs tailgatingdpb
Aug 8, 2003 8:04 AM
I once did a metric bi-century...225km in one day. I had no distance training and didn't know squat about nutrition or hydration. After ~8-10 hours on the bike (I can't remember, it was a while ago) I was close to dead. I spent three days in bed afterward, no jokes.

Then there was the time I rounded a corner at 50km/h tailgating a car who was tailgating another car. First car slows, second car wasn't paying attention, slams on his brakes, I lock up both wheels and end up sideways and bodychecking the back of a toyota pretty hard. No damage to anyone though. Good times!

Not scary, merely dumb...OffTheBack
Aug 8, 2003 8:10 AM
Finished a practice criterium and drank a beer (probably the problem right there). Took off my front wheel, leaned it against the rear bumper of my car, put the bike on the roof rack, got in, backed out...CRRRUNCH! ruined front wheel. Worse, I coulden't find the same rim to replace it, so I had mis-matched rims for the next couple of years... "Hey Dave, why do you have 2 different rims?" Grrr...
Did something similargf99
Aug 8, 2003 8:16 AM
Didn't crush my wheel, but drove an hour to the trail without realizing I left it in my apartment parking lot (not so nice neighborhood, Chris King hub). None of my friends had an extra, so I turned around and drove another hour home. Wheel was still there.
This is why I don't have a roof rackCHRoadie
Aug 8, 2003 9:35 AM
I know I would pull into my garage with the bike still up there! :-)
Been there, done thatkatie1
Aug 8, 2003 12:07 PM
One day, I drove into my garage suddenly hearing the most God awful noise. I thought, "Oh no, my bike!" I immediately threw it in reverse. I first took my bike off. Fortunately (or not depending on how you look at it), the racks ripped out of the doors saving my bike. No damage what so ever. The car, however, had $1200 worth of roof and door damage. Insurance covered the car. Several months later, a friend put his mtn bike on my racks but forgot to close them. We start driving away. I notice his bike dangling on the side of the car. Doh! He covered that one out of his own pocket. Another $1000. I did the walk of shame into the body shop. They never snickered to my face but I'm sure they made plenty of dumb blond jokes.
Pulled off Dura-ace and put on Record!! nm :)the bull
Aug 8, 2003 8:38 AM
Well it pales in comparison to the stuff posted but....Nigeyy
Aug 8, 2003 9:04 AM
I was touring fully loaded in the Czech Republic, 1996. Very heavily laden with pretty bad brakes. Down a hill, went too fast and right around a blind corner on the wrong side of the road.

Very tame, but still it makes you realize -if a Skoda had been coming round that corner......
You probably would have totalled it...nmbicyclerepairman
Aug 8, 2003 11:31 AM
Drafted a semi at 55mph!!! ......DT
Aug 8, 2003 9:54 AM
...for three miles. But it was on a road I'd ridden a hunert times, and knew very well....very smooth, great asphalt...when it started raining I dropped off. He slowed down as he was passing me around a corner, and that's how I got on in the first place. There was a car of teenagers behind me, and they were hootin' and hollerin' when I pulled was pretty cool, but my wife wasn't too happy when I showed her my speedometer! :O)
Drafted a semi at 55mph!!! ......Sao
Aug 8, 2003 10:19 AM
VERY Dave Stoller!!

Drafted a semi at 55mph!!! ......darkvapor
Aug 8, 2003 6:21 PM
I drafted a Box truck at 42- 45 mph and was spinning very fast. Once the truck broke away the wind was like a parachute. I can't see how you got to 55 mph must have been spinning like 200+ rpm cadence. I think I was in 53-12. Not sure what cadence was as my computer did not measure it.
A couplebrider
Aug 8, 2003 10:27 AM
First one isn't me, but I witnessed it first hand.

Situation -- last few miles of RAMROD. One of my buddies had dropped out on the climb to Paradise, but waited for me at the top of Cayuse. We hooked up for the run back to Enumclaw. On the last several miles of 410, we got into this long paceline, and there were these two guys in Rabobank jerseys at the front doing all the work. We're just fine with that, and hang in the middle of the line. Well, just as we turn off 410 and head toward Mud Mountain Road, they drift back. As we make the first part of the final descent, I see one of them coming by the paceline VERY rapidly on the right. Well, there happened to be a VERY sharp left hander coming in about 50 yards, so I told him to get on the binders. He just looks at me like I told him his mother is a prostitute, and continues on. We get to the corner, he's still on the outside going WAY too fast, locks up both wheels, goes sideways, hits the gravel and high-sides it, doing an impressive Superman impersonation, disappearing into the blackberry bushes. Never saw him again.

Another one -- This same buddy of mine had a personal best of 54 mph off-road on a particular descent down an arrow-straight fire road that had about 200m runout into a river (Cedar River for any one in Renton the area). I was riding solo one day, and just decided to take a balls-out speed run to go for my personal bast. So I'm riding along picking up speed along the flats and take the final turn into the descent at full sprint. I'm gaining speed still topping out my gears when I look farther down the hill and see the tree. There had been a pretty nasty wind storm the day before, and apparently this tree got knocked over the previous day. Soooo.... I hit the brakes, but very soon realize I'm not going to stop in time. So I let the brakes go and pedal as hard as I can and loft the bike. Now I had never been good at bunny hopping, and I really had no idea how far across the tree was. I just pulled and prayed. I cleared it, feeling like I was flying forever (probably all of .5 seconds airborn). I continued on to the bottom and stopped to look back, shaking, and let out a primal scream. Lesson learned -- even if you know the hill, take a look before going for a speed run.
Location of incident in the main postgf99
Aug 8, 2003 10:35 AM
The downhill is the "final approach" into Golden, BC on Hwy 1 if you're coming from Lake Louise. I thought I'd mention this so that those who have been there truly appreciate my stupidity.
Married my ex wife. nmLen J
Aug 8, 2003 12:33 PM
So far, nothing like that...TNSquared
Aug 8, 2003 2:08 PM
but mine was three nights ago. Left home at 6:00 pm for a two hour ride. Sunset around here right now is around 8:20.

Clouds came, rain came. Heavy rain came. Dark came - and early. I was 10 miles from home in the dark and in heavy rain, on a two lane road with no shoulder and lots of automobiles - with no lights or reflectors.

I kept waiting to hear the squeal of brakes behind me. That sound never came, but as I crossed an intersection with about 2 miles to go, the driver of a truck turning behine me shouted "You better get some lights!"

All I could do was shout back "yessir, you are right."

with the possible exception of noon start times, i will never leave home again without a full set of lights.
re: Hittin marbles on Mt. Tam hauling as$jrm
Aug 8, 2003 4:55 PM
It felt like i rode the top tube a mile when i finally stopped before going over the side. But man was it cool.
re: What's the dumbest/scariest thing you've ever done...jim hubbard
Aug 8, 2003 10:51 PM
karapoti classic mtb race, big ring bulevard(long descent), 110kph, no body armor