Today, Jeff Hill and I went out for a lunch time ride. We decided to ride Kent Trails, leaving from the new trail head off Butterworth and heading toward Millennium Park. Now we understood that Kent Trails is a multi-use trail. We saw walkers, cyclists, mountain bikers and dog walkers. About two miles down the trail is where the story becomes "interesting". There was a family, mom and two kids about 8 or 10 years old, walking toward us on their left side of the trail. Since we were riding on our right side we were coming face to face with them. So as we approached Jeff and I moved to our left so we could pass by safely. Just as we were side by side with them the little boy turned and ran across the trail. Right in front of me! I had literally no time to stop or even swerve. The right side of my handlebars hit him in the back and knocked him to the ground. I went flying off my bike to the left, landing mostly on my left hip judging from the road rash there.
If our coach Mike Clark was telling this story this is where the cautionary part would come in. "That's why I don't ride on bike trails. You never know what people are going to do." Mike has a point, but that's not the point I'm trying to make here. When I fell I could feel my knee hit the pavement, then my hip, then my shoulder and then my head. Except it wasn't my head that hit the trail - it was my helmet! It was my first experience in a fall where my helmet actually made contact with the ground. I'm here to say that my red Bike helmet kept my noggin safe today and I am grateful. It was a bizarre experience to feel the pavement digging in to my skin as I skidded to a stop, but to have my head beautifully cushioned. I like my head. I'm really glad it's okay.
So the moral of this little tale? Always wear your helmet. Whether you're on the road, riding through the neighborhood, or on a "safe" multi-use trail. I can't say that the helmet saved my life today, but I do know I wouldn't be writing this right now if I hadn't been wearing a helmet.
Ride On. Ride Safe.
P.S. The little boy was fine. Shook up by the experience, but walked away under his own power.