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BatiGol Weekly 249: Bike vs Truck

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In which we discuss urban transit, getting hit, and getting back up.

Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic (front) does Photo credit should read FABIO MUZZI/AFP via Getty Images

When I was 11 years old, I was riding my bicycle down a residential street on the way to the nearest store when I was hit by a car. I was very lucky because the driver was an elderly lady who was barely going faster than my child legs could pedal me across the asphalt. She clipped my handlebar and I ended up bouncing across the hood of her Lexus, off her windshield, and back over my bike. I was completely unhurt, aside from a couple of scrapes. I also scratched her paint, cracked her windshield, and did about $2000 in damage to her vehicle.

When I was 20 years old, I was riding my bicycle down a very steep hill on my way home from class. Over the quarter mile grade, I built up a whole lot of speed. As I approached the bottom of the hill, I noticed a silver Hyundai Santa Fe keeping pace with me; I instinctively realized that this silver Hyundai Santa Fe was planning to turn right on the cross street I was about to go by, and that this silver Hyundai Santa Fe was not planning to yield. I braked as hard as I could for a short stretch before bailing off the bike onto the sidewalk and rolling a few times, eventually coming to a stop on the curb as my bike wobbled down the hill and doinked off the rear quarter panel of the car that had just cut me off. The silver Hyundai Santa Fe, whose driver was engrossed in her cell phone, slowed down for a moment before speeding away. I was pretty much unhurt but awfully rattled, and had to replace the front wheel on my bike, which deformed from the impact.

When I was 22 years old, I was riding my bike through my university campus on the way to my senior thesis class. Approximately one meter before I passed one of the university’s maintenance vans, the driver opened his door right in front of me, presenting me with a shoddily upholstered barrier with which I collided at a pretty good clip. Because the window was down, I was catapulted through it, somersaulting and eventually coming to a rest flat on my butt about two meters in front of the van. I suffered some pretty serious cuts and also had to throw away my pants, which bore the brunt of the impact and ended up looking more like assless chaps after this, but I was mostly okay.

I still ride my bike just about every day, whether that’s to work or to the grocery store or to pickup soccer or somewhere else. I wear a helmet. I hang very bright lights on my bike. I stick to the cycling lanes. I constantly swivel my head, looking for threats. I haven’t been hit in nearly a decade, but the gambler’s fallacy says that the next one is just around the corner, and I’ve had enough close calls to believe that it’s coming. This is something I have to accept every day when I leave my apartment for work: someone in a car might make a sudden turn, or try to swerve around a pothole, or simply open the door, and do me some considerable damage. I have no control over that, other than to stop riding the bike.

Cycling as a metaphor is badly overused and people who write should look for better ones. That said, riding a bike on the street is a lot like being a Fiorentina fan. You follow the rules, don’t mess with anyone, brake at intersections and for pedestrians, stay in your designated area. And just as you’re congratulating yourself for doing everything correctly, some jackass plows into you because they weren’t paying attention, or because they didn’t see you, or for any of the reasons that cars hit bikes. And yet, after getting knocked down, laid out, and chewed up, after you’ve tried to shake the last impact off while already bracing for the next, you get back up on the bike, because riding a bike is fun and cool and a damn sight better than driving a car.

Latest news

Fiorentina are reportedly planning a January swoop for Sporting Kansas City’s teenaged midfielder Gianluca Busio. Get the full story here.

Aleksa Terzić underwent a genuinely harrowing episode in Belgrade that saw him escape a carjacking with minor injuries. Good grief.

Can’t imagine why you’d want to read more about Fiorentina’s loss at Hellas Verona that was about as inspiring as hammering tacks into your thumbs, but feel free to peruse our full coverage here if you’re into that sort of thing.

Must read

We asked you who should fill out the Viola midfield against Hellas, and you answered. Maybe Vincenzo Montella should have listened.

Poll

Which Fiorentina player is actually an alien observer?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Federico Chiesa, because human beings can’t be that athletic.
    (0 votes)
  • 23%
    Vincenzo Montella, because he’s obviously an extraterrestrial scientist testing the limits of human personalities.
    (4 votes)
  • 5%
    Nikola Milenković, because he’s simply too large to be a normal human.
    (1 vote)
  • 29%
    Gaetano Castrovilli, because gravity clearly doesn’t act on him in the way it acts like anyone else.
    (5 votes)
  • 41%
    Joe Barone, because what could make for a better plot twist?
    (7 votes)
17 votes total Vote Now

Comment of the week

You don’t have to explain your voting habits, but wolfpackallday did so anyways. And I hate it.

That’s it for this week, folks. Don’t be afraid to share your umbrella.