Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Near Miss

Over the long Memorial Day weekend, we here in the E.V.L. household decided to venture out on several short-stint bicycle rides. There's nothing particularly unusual about this behavior, but I learned something new about the Poppy. So, here's the short tale...

We were riding through the neighborhood and approaching a somewhat busy signal/intersection that we needed to cross to get to where we were headed. The light was still green for us to cross, so I shouted behind me to Sam, "Are we going to sprint through it?" To which he replied in the affirmative. I started to pick up speed, and just as I was closing in on the near side of the intersection, the light changed red. I attempted to squeeze on my hand brakes and discovered that they really don't stop on a dime (or a quarter, or even a toaster for that matter). Because I couldn't stop quick enough I had to quickly make a right hand turn and finally came to a stop in the parking lot next to the intersection. It was a little scary!
To be fair, the Poppy brakes are somewhat modified because of the handlebar set up I wanted on this bike and in order to utilize the inverse levers, some changes were made to the braking system. I've honestly never had to stop so abruptly on the Poppy prior to this minor event, as I tend to prepare for stops well in advance, but it caused me to think about the dangers possible with brakes that aren't necessarily working at their best. Normally the focus is on watching out for road debris or drivers who aren't paying attention, but in this instance, it was my own two wheels bringing about the problem. While no one was injured in this scenario, it could very easily have gone differently.

While I know this problem can be remedied, I thought it was a good reminder to myself to be aware of our bicycles' limitations, and also to know our bikes well enough to be able to adjust in emergency situations.

Happy Tuesday! Ride safely out there.


  1. Yeah, that was pretty close. I'm sure the breaks can be tweaked to function a bit better. The funny thing is, I think we underestimate our momentum in the city, we think "I'm just cruising", but you are going at a pretty good pace.

  2. And this is what I go through whenever I get on Elfie. It's a bit scary, isn't it?

  3. @ Cecily - definitely scary! I can't believe you go through that each time you ride!! I would go crazy.

    @ Sam - Momentum was definitely an issue in this particular instance. I just need to ride slower, right? ;o)


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