Many of you remember seeing pictures of me on the blue bicycle with small wheels. I bought this new in 2002 for about $1800.00, custom made by Peregrine Bicycle Works of Chico, California.
This bicycle was fun to ride. It performed almost as well as many conventional “road” bikes; it only weighed 22 pounds; it felt stiff and fast. I had ridden it for so long that I was used to its eccentricities. I rode it even when I did not need its folding capabilities.
It would fit in a suitcase for air travel.
On Amtrak I could just fold it up and lug it onboard without a case. Getting off the train, I could reassemble it in less than a minute and bike away from the platform.
I have been in quite a few foreign countries and many states of the USA with this bicycle during the past fifteen years. While I own a couple of other bicycles, this one has always been my favorite. I have had a lot of maintenance done to it over the years, but I never would have predicted what happened three weeks ago.
I was out for a fifteen mile spin on country roads near my home in Chapel Hill NC. Three fourths of the way into the ride, the bicycle started feeling “funny.” The frame felt slightly wobbly. I stopped about three times, shaking the bicycle and looking for problems, but could not find any.
Going slowly because it was uphill, on Dairyland Road coming back towards Chapel Hill, just before the turnoff to Union Grove Church Road, the bicycle suddenly snapped in half, dumping me on the road. I may have passed out for a moment, I remember thinking that I was now on the road and my shoulder was messed up.
Luckily no car ran into me and a couple cars stopped to help out. One turned out to be my friend Brian Stapleton, who scooped the bicycle and me up. We called my wife Tootie on the phone and she met us at our apartment and we drove to the urgent orthopedic clinic.
I have a nicely broken clavicle (collar bone), broken ribs that have been extremely painful, and a substantially bruised hip, which has resulted in swelling called a hematoma. The hip may take months to completely heal. Three weeks later I am walking around but still in pain.
My bicycle guru Gordon Sumerel says that this kind of structural failure should not happen ever, anytime, on any bicycle. It was not something that I should have anticipated. Am I angry at the manufacturer? I have trouble getting angry at people, so not especially. This was a hand built machine by a small business that no longer makes this kind of bicycle. I get the impression he is almost a one man shop. I am a small business person myself so I can understand his situation.
I have not decided what type of bicycle I will get to replace this. I want to think about it for a while.
For the moment I can reminisce about just some of the places this bicycle went with me.
Outside our 1980’s apartment in Miami FL 2014
In front of Trump’s Mar a Lago, Palm Beach FL 2016
Among the bikers, near Daytona Beach FL 2012