Last night when leading a community ride, I was riding on a new bike trail on the Queensborough Loop and came across a hazard that seemed to be waiting for me. Right across the trail was strung a string used by someone who was working on the trail to line up some concrete work. It’s amazing how someone who would be building a bike trail could be so thoughtless when it comes to the cyclists using the trail that they are building. This string was invisible to me and the other riders and since I was leading the group I hit it. My only warning was the buzz at it went over the top of my front tire. I always ride with one hand on my back brake, just habit after year misses and this time it paid off. Between instant braking and my front tire hitting an incline on the trail I stopped just as the string stopped me. My back tire went up about two feet in the air. My bike handled it better than my body, which at sixty two does not handle stopping that quickly. Luckily I didn’t wipe out, luckily it wasn’t one of the more inexperienced riders who hit it or a kid riding home. This string was the kind that is as strong as a thin rope.
In the news lately were a couple of incidents where cyclists were caught up in similar foolishness. One guy hit a cable strung across a trail and was scared more than hurt but ended up with a nasty bruise and contusion. Another rider hit some tape strung across the road on his way to work and broke his jaw, neck injury and other breaks when he crashed. Both of those were set ups by sick people while mine was more likely some dope smoking grunt on a construction crew who left the string when something else distracted him, at least I hope so.
I found a sign lying around close by and put it up at the string to warn the next cyclist of this hazard and then contacted the city who hires such clowns to do their construction projects.
Don’t get paranoid on me, keep riding but watch out for such hazards when out riding. It does seem to be happening a lot lately and hopefully it doesn’t become thing to do when some non cycling bike hater wants to express himself. It bad enough when mother nature hangs a blackberry branch out to change your day as you ride by but to have to anticipate some psychopathic anti cyclist who is nuts enough to string something across your path is not in anyone’s interest.
Ride on but watch out!!