Divine Intervention

Ridazz heading over the Sixth Street Bridge at 11:20 p.m.
(larger version here)

I’m just back from tonight’s monthly Midnight Ridazz bike ride, and it was a doozy. Easily a thousand cyclists. You’ll have to forgive me for not being as interested in talking about the ride as about the crash I didn’t have but should’ve. A bad crash.

We’d made a left from Main onto Vignes just outside of Chinatown, and I was coming downhill though this tunnel trying to take a picture with the camera slung around my neck in my right hand and my left on the handle bars. I’d say my speed was somewhere in the 18 mph range. Not too fast, but still.

With my attention compromised I didn’t see the nasty pothole to avoid it and I went through it unexpectedly with such force that my grip was wrenched from the handlebar and I was flung forward and downward until my elbow hit the bike’s now-free steering mechanism.

Well, the force of my elbow on the bar brought the bike around sickeningly to the left and I should’ve gone done in a splattering clattering heap right there. But I didn’t. I don’t know what I didn’t. My violation of the laws of physics dictated me dropping. But somehow I remained upright and rolling.

Shifting my weight backward amazed to still be in the saddle I brought my elbow off the bar. But then I as I did that the steering went back to the right too quickly and when I put my right hand on the bar to steady it I applied too much pressure making the weave even more pronounced.

I should’ve gone down this time as well. Not only was my bike’s and my body’s angle to the ground too much off center, but the overcompensated degree of the front wheel’s turn could only mean kersplat. Yet still I remained rolling.

Finally, still somewhat stuck in a crouch, all I could do was bring my left forearm back down onto the bar in a last ditch effort to restore equilibrium. And it worked. I emerged from my drunk-looking weave and the tunnel driving The Phoenix with my elbow.

Keep in mind this all took place in the matter of a split second, but it was still plenty of time for me to think “Oh, this is going to be bad.” And it should have been. And while I’d like to credit my bike skills for seeing me through, the fact is there were higher powers at work keeping me from harm.

UPDATED: Flickr photoset from the ride is now up and viewable here.

Published by


Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with laonstage.com, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."