My Thoughts On Riding Alone
(Cape Girardeau, MO)
I agree with most things that I read here but, I do have to say that I disagree with advising a new rider to ride alone. I do agree with riding alone in plain sight and with your cell phone zipped inside your pocket. I started out riding alone out in the country on rural roads. When I first began riding I was stopped at a intersection and had moved my bike to the very edge of the road in order to allow traffic to pull out of the intersection in front of me. This intersection had enough room for 2 full size 18 wheelers to make a complete U-Turn and my bike was sitting within a foot of the edge of the road and well out of the way. Me being a new rider and not feeling that I had good cornering control was not moving until all traffic had moved on. Everyone had moved through the intersection and I was waiting for the last vehicle to pull through when the older man in a SUV started honking his horn and waving his hands at me. I did not move and continued to wait when he jumped out of his truck and started yelling at me to either get off the road or move on. I told him again I was a new rider and I would wait until the intersection was empty at which he started yelling and began to move toward me. Luckily, what he had not noticed was my neighbor sitting behind him in his truck watching the whole thing. My neighbor came out of his truck and told the guy to get back in his SUV and head it on down the road which the guy was more than happy to do when he seen the baseball bat in my neighbor's hand. I have not seen this man again but, the realization that there is people in this world who are just not good people made me change my riding habits and after this I began riding in town in the church parking lot, grocery store, school parking lot and generally around town I ride in places that people know that it's me on that bike. They also know it's a gal (very handy) and not a short, chubby guy (no offense guys) who has dropped her bike.
Another thing to think about is if you are riding in rural areas where the grass beside the roads is not mowed and manicured and what if you have the misfortune of sliding off the road and being hidden from other motorists and what if your hurt what can you do to make someone aware of you? If your lucky you have your cell phone in your pocket and you’re lucky enough to get a signal in order to call for help. Are you close enough to throw your jacket or anything that you can up onto the road or at passing vehicles and keep doing that until someone stops. Did you let someone know you were riding, how long you would be gone and your approximate route? These are all things to think about if and when you decide to ride alone. I've been down, April 17,2010 I've been hurt (broken leg, bruised knee, ruptured spleen, hole in my lung and 6 broken ribs) and I was lucky because I ride with a wonderful group (GWRRA Chapter I Jackson, Missouri), who is very well educated in safe riding and extremely practiced in both riding and the correct way to give assistance to a downed biker. I was wearing full safety gear from head to toe. This crash happened because I panicked coming around a curve with pea size gravel scattered across it. I seen the gravel and did the first thing we are taught not to do (I fixed on that gravel and that is right where my bike went). I hit the asphalt as my bike left the road. This crash was only at about 4 miles an hour down from about 20 miles an hour. There was no skid marks and I did not lock the brake....I just went right where I was looking. The Missouri State Trooper who was dispatched to the accident was amazed to see that my helmet had NOT been removed and told the group that they really know their stuff and he came into the ambulance to let me know that he was glad to see that I was wearing full safety gear because he said that a lot of the time bike down crashes do not have a happy ending like this one did. Ride Safe