Sometimes things happen on the ride, things way beyond our control. Every now and then the ambulance has to come and take our friends off of the road. We do what we have to do to get through it. We make arrangements for their bike to remain in a safe location until it’s retrieved later, find out which hospital they’re going to, and make sure their car is brought somewhere it won’t be towed. These are all things we do for our friends when they need us.
In my first couple of months on the road, I was on a ride that Señor was leading. We were on a commonly used road and one of the guys on the ride fell. He was ok, he got back up and continued on. A couple of minutes later, on the same road, another guy went down. He didn’t get back up. He was thrown so hard from his bike that his shoe was still on the pedal. He was taken away in an ambulance. None of us felt much like riding after that so we went to lunch and took the very short way back back to the lot. I went with The Señor to the hospital after. Not only could The Señor use the company but I really wanted to see how this guy was doing. He was in his 70s and I was worried. He broke some bones but was doing alright. He recovered and, after a few months, he came back to ride with us. He went down again after a few rides and that was the last I heard about him.
I led a ride to Target Rock a few years back. It was a cold fall day. We were 28 miles into the ride when it happened. My friend fell off of her bike and went sliding across the road. The person behind her fell on top of her. I was behind him and I went into the oncoming traffic lane to avoid it, another guy followed suit. It all seemingly took place in slow motion.
When all was said and done, she wanted to get back on her bike. I ordered her not to on the grounds that the ride leader makes that call. After the guys checked her bike we determined she couldn’t ride it. She refused an ambulance so I called her a taxi. I specified that it was a passenger with a bicycle so they knew to come with a larger vehicle. I gave our approximate location being that we weren’t in front of a physical address but on the side of the road.
The car service told me it would be $60. I accepted the fee but my heart sank. That was a lot of money and she was already having a really bad day. I looked into my plastic wallet. I had a $10 bill on me and a couple of other bills. I took the $10 bill out and went up to each member on the ride to collect money from them to get her back home. There were 6 of us and we all pitched in. In my neighborhood that was just the sort of thing that we did for each other but I guess it was different on the island. She later told me that I made that situation not as horrible for her but, in my eyes, that’s just the sort of thing we should have done.
The car took a long time but it did eventually come. A guy had passed by in a luxury SUV and I mentioned we were waiting on a cab. He said he saw it up the road looking for us. We thanked him and he drove off. I joked around saying I was sorry that we couldn’t get her back in style. When the cab came we helped her into the car and put her bike in the large trunk. After that nobody felt much like riding and, at the suggestion of the other members, we went to lunch. We took the shortest way back to the lot. A couple of the other guys on the ride got her car back to her house while she was at the hospital. After months of physical therapy she came back stronger than ever and is out there killing it.
On another ride, a remote start ride, a friend of ours was hit by a car. The driver stayed but they put us at fault and she wasn’t charged with anything. We all got fined. As we waited for the ambulance to come I stayed with our friend and made small talk. He was so worried so I hung out with him on the side of the road and talked about things to distract him. We arranged for the police officers to take his bike back to the staton. I was supposed to go to a funeral after the ride but I was commander in chief so I sent the guys home. One of the guys that had a large car with a bike rack stayed with me. We picked him up from the hospital and got his bike back from the police station. It took a couple hours but we got him and his bike back to his car. It took months to recover but he also came back strong and is doing very well these days.
Last summer my friends and I were on a ride and had been dropped. We were still trying to catch up when we saw some riders on the side of the road with the police. As we got closer to them, we saw that they were friends of ours. We turned around and stayed with them. There wasn’t much we could do but offer our company as we waited for the ambulance to come. After he got picked up and we said our goodbyes, the rest of us rode back together. We came from different lots so we said our goodbyes when we made the split to go back to our starting points. He had surgery and came back after a few months. He’s getting stronger every day and is very much enjoying life.
Sometimes bad things happen and the best thing we can do is to be there for our friends however we can. A little bit of kindness goes a long way…..