Back to the scene

Last Friday I was reminded of one of my first crashes. It came to my mind as I got my heart rate down after a near wipe out. Thankfully, I rode away with a smile on my face.

There is no need to retell the story of that crash back in the mid-nineties on a Huffy brand bike. You can read about it in this archive of an archive: The Huffy. The pertinent piece of information is where the accident took place.

Today the Governor’s School overlooks Greenville’s beautiful Falls Park along the Reedy River. Back when I first started riding, the land there was nothing but scrubby plants and scraggly trees back behind the Greenville County government offices. There was also a small single track that ran along the ridge and then descended into a paved cul de sac.

The end of Howe Street

Where Howe St. ends and connects to the Swamp Rabbit Trail

It is the end of the line section of asphalt that factors into our story for today. While back in those days it was a somewhat scarey place to be, the cul de sac is now part of the Swamp Rabbit Trail. It is one of the joints that connects Falls Park to Cleveland Park where the trail goes beneath Church Street. That means that I ride my bike through the area often as I am heading out of town or returning home.

Recently they did some work there that changed the angle of how the SRT joins the cul de sac. They have also altered the transition of the two surfaces. I guess it is to help with controlling run off, but there is now a sizable hump where the trail and the asphalt meet.

I’ve had fun hitting the hump with a little speed and picking up some air on my road bike. Well, last Friday I decided to really take flight. So, I approached the hump with a little more speed than usual.

Sure enough, I got some air — a lot more than I bargained for! Because of the angle at which I hit the hump, my trajectory sent me through the air so far that I came down off the trail. Suddenly, I was doing cyclo cross!

There was an initial fear, but that was  replaced with just reaction. I loosened my grip and my stance and weighted the rear of my bike allowing the front wheel to skip over some of the rough ground until I got better control. Thankfully, I had the bike where I needed it in time to avoid a pot hole. Then I was able to ease the bike back onto the trail before I ran out of space all together.

“That was stupid!” was my first thought once I was able to form one. Yet, a big grin popped on my face. At first it was a sheepish one. Then it grew into one of joy. I rode home with a little more zip in my pedal stroke.

Thanks, bicycle, for the memories and the smiles.

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About Jonathan Pait

Jonathan started riding mountain bikes in the early 1990s. After discovering the ride can start at the end of his driveway, he moved to the road in 2006. Little did he know that first pedal stroke would lead him on an adventure that has become much larger than the bicycle.