The Sunday Afternoon Ride

Situation 27


That didn't help much.

But there was a guard-rail over there somewhere and at this speed, it would mangle Peter's leg beyond repair. So Peter tucked his knees in as hard as he could.

Meanwhile he was clawing at the bag again, but it wouldn't move at all and Peter couldn't see at all. That Saturn ahead was braking, wasn't it? And this turn was getting sharper, he knew, but he had no idea where he was in the turn or wherehe was headed?

And then the tractor trailer behind let loose with airhorns and airbrakes. Situation critical.

Peter doesn't remember consciously thinking of this - it was probably desperation - but he jammed his thumb under the visor and ripped it up as hard as he could. (Aside: A quick thank you to the Arai Corporation for making the Signet/e visor removable by simply lifting up and popping out). The visor popped out of the left side of the helmet and Peter was momentarily given about 2 inches of clear sight - enough to see the guard-rail and the nearly-stopped Saturn in his path.

Peter braked hard (stalling the engine in 4th gear - remember, left hand occupied), sliding the rear a bit, ending up neatly parked between the Saturn's rear fender (maybe a foot to spare) and the guard-rail. A foot or more, and Peter would have been in the marbles.

As the bike came to a stop, the shopping bag floated lazily from the visor to the ground. The tractor stopped about 4 feet from the tail-light of Peter's bike.

After a couple of seconds to reorient himself to the planet, Peter jammed the left side of the visor into the helmet enough so it wouldn't flap, started up and headed off. He got the shakes about 1/2 mile down the road.

Thinking about it later, Peter realised that when the plastic bag covered his visor he should have:

a) removed his glove to grab the bag.

b) turned his head sideways to get the wind's assistance in getting the bag off.

c) just dropped the bike and prayed.