It’s been a year since that fateful morning ride to Golden Gardens. The fall air was crisp and I had a belly full of leftover Halloween candy I commandeered from my kids’ candy stashes. It’s always a joy to catch the view of the Olympic Mountains spanning over Shilshole Bay and this morning had views for days.

After getting my fix, I was climbing back up Golden Gardens Drive, making the 180-degree turn, and that’s when my wheels just slipped out from underneath me. Bam! It happened so suddenly, it didn’t even register what had happened. I quickly grabbed my fallen bike and ushered over to the side of the road. A few kind drivers opened  their windows as they passed and asked, “Are you okay, Buddy?” I thought I was just in shock and waved them by, swallowing as much pride as you can after you eat pavement while wearing a spandex outfit.

After sitting there for a couple minutes, I realized that I was not okay. I could literally feel the mash-up of bones in my right shoulder and knew there was no way I was gonna be able to get on my bike and climb the rest of this hill back to my car ten miles away.

Death Turn. SDOT, let’s do some maintenance on this, huh?

Luckily, a good Samaritan in a mini van pulled over to check up on me. After letting him know my situation, he gladly loaded up my bike in his van and drove me back to my car. He loaded my bike back into my car and wished me well.

Lesson One: The Kindness of Strangers.

I don’t even remember the dude’s name, but he saved my ass that day. As we talked during the drive, I learned that he was an avid cyclist and had many a scare on Golden Gardens Drive himself. I hope he gets repaid in good deeds by someone down the road. I try my best to look out for other cyclists while on a ride. “You good?” or “You need a pump?” are the least I can ask when I see someone struggling with their rig in the shoulder. A little grace can go a long way in the fragmented world we live in.

Lesson Two: Learn from your Mistakes.

It freaked me out to get back in the saddle after healing from the broken clavicle. The scary part was not knowing why it had happened. It wasn’t wet. I wasn’t going fast. There wasn’t any loose gravel. But, I had to adapt and learn. Bought new wheels with robust tread (highly recommend the Rene Herse Chinook Pass). Researched and learned more about the camber of a road and how to keep your weight more centered through sharp turns. Ultimately, it made me a more educated rider.

Lesson Three: Increased Love.

Not riding for a few months (or worse, riding on a trainer, Yuck!) made me appreciate being out on the road all the more. We are blessed to have those little moments of escape, to push our bodies and minds and to take in the beauty of the world from our two-wheeled vantage. Keep on Caperin, Y’all.