Last night was a cool fall evening with 97% humidity. I was riding home from work and had a clear opening through an intersection where I needed to make a left-hand turn. I wasn’t going overly fast, but I was certainly going faster than I normally would since—for the first time that I can remember—I didn’t have to stop at the light or wait for traffic before turning.

As I was making a beautiful sweeping turn both my wheels started sliding on the wet asphalt at the same time. It wasn’t as slick as ice, but the effect was the same. I was not able to recover from the slide like you can do if only your back wheel slides out from under you. I hit the ground and slid on my left side.

Because there was oncoming traffic (though it was more than a block away), I wanted to get to my feet as quickly as I could so they could see me (the accident happened after dark). I had lights on my bike, but I did not pretend to think that the cars would pay attention to small lights in the middle of their road. While collecting my bike I just happened to look over and saw my phone lying in the road. Had I not seen it, I probably would not have noticed it was missing for a couple of blocks. I did a quick scan of the road to make sure there was nothing else lying around.

My bike is mostly fine; I tore the cover on my saddle. The chain was off the chain ring when I first got on, but with a rotation of the pedals it jumped back into place. I was in the big chain ring. The phone works, but it does have some discoloration in the screen. My pants are destroyed; I ripped a big hole down the left thigh. The sleeve on my coat did not get torn. The reason it didn’t was that it slid up my arm which resulted in my arm having a good bit of road rash. Probably less than I would have if I wasn’t wearing the coat though. I have a few other random cuts and scrapes.

This was my first potentially serious wreck since I was a kid. I have always been scared of hitting the ground in this way. While I don’t want to do it again, I am thankful it was not as bad as I always imagined.

Be careful out there when the humidity is high. Those little rocks in the asphalt can get slippery. Don’t cut it close with traffic. I had plenty of room between me and the oncoming cars to gather myself and make my presence known, but I know there are times when I have cut it too close in the past. Maybe this will serve as a warning to not take risks with traffic in the future. It took less than a second to go from a beautiful left turn to sliding through an intersection.

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