Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Attacked By A Pack Of Bike Ninjas!

What is a group of ninjas, anyway? A herd? A flock? A gaggle? In this case, I'm going to go with a murder, since a) they were as hard to spot in the dark as crows, and b) that's what was in my heart after the encounter.

So there I was, just a'mindin' my own business, getting in some high-quality after-dark miles on a local rail-trail during this bizarrely early Spring we're enjoying here in the Middle West. Had my most blindingest headlight on, came around a curve (staying tight to the right since the line of sight was ever-so-slight), when KERBLAMMO. Hit head on by an oncoming lightless ninja on the wrong side of the trail... because he was riding side-by-side with ANOTHER ninja friend, and two more were paired up right behind them. It was like Noah's Ark of Idiocy.

It happened fast enough that I can't say for certain who hit what where, but I'm pretty sure (based on injuries to bike and body) that I got my front wheel turned to the right just as I got whacked. The result was this:

 Mr. White: "I'm hungry. Let's get a taco."

Of course, Mr. Ninja (did I mention that he reeked of the products of the local watering hole that he and his pals had no doubt just left?) was firmly convinced that I was the one on the wrong side of the trail, and his pals (even the one who was riding to his right) agreed. Discord ensued. Obscenities were shared.

Now, if you know me, you know I'm not one to back down from a fight. I'm one to run away from it, shrieking and flailing my arms. So when Team Chucklehead determined that their buddy's wheel was fine, I was more than happy to see them mosey on down the trail before those obscenities escalated into something I was ill-equipped to handle both physically and emotionally. In my best passive-aggressive interior monologue, I hoped that I'd damaged his carbon fork in a way that would catastrophically fail at the worst possible moment. And I imagined that moment. Over and over and over. (I'll say three Our Faustos and five Hail Garys for the sin of harboring evil thoughts about thy neighbor's bicycle.)

The tally of injuries to my person won't be complete until an MRI on my left knee in a couple days. And since I can hear the cries of bike nerds the world over as they wonder how the bike fared, here's the run-down:
  • Front rim: Toast. Split right at the seam, though the tire didn't blow. I'll try to capture some closeups later, as it's an interesting case study in how rims are made and how they can fail.
  • Right pedal: Must have come down on it hard, as the body was jammed up on the spindle enough that it wouldn't turn. A couple gentle whacks with a hammer got it loosened up again, but it now clunks a bit on the spindle. Probably toast as well.
  • Right crank: Ever-so-slightly bent from that hard landing... looks like a bent chainring until you realize that both rings are bent exactly the same amount in exactly the same place. Coincidence? I think not.

Surprisingly, everything else looks good, save for a couple paint dings. No telltale paint wrinkles or cracks that would make me suspect frame/fork damage, alignment seems solid, no obvious signs of front-end wonkiness.

So, dear reader, fear the ninjas. They're out there... somewhere.


Pete said...

That ain't right.

Anonymous said...

my sympathies to your knee and your bike! That MRI is really going to hurt when the bill comes! ouch!

How long does it take from the time you quit wishing disaster upon those idiots until you are contemplating ways to make sure it never happens again? Maybe start using steel rims and studded tires? Put big 'roo bars up front, like a SUV? Deer whistles?
Or.. start riding a 'bent, so the first thing that hits the bike ninjas will be the teeth of a 52 tooth chainring?

good luck with the recovery, both of body and bike.

Steve in Peoria

Scott Loveless said...

The obvious solution is to join the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and then dress like a pirate all the time. Those ninjas won't stand a chance against his noodly appendage.