Terii’s Cycling Babble

Bad Ice Led to Nice
February 13, 2012, 3:48 pm
Filed under: Day Rides

Strange title, but all will be revealed.

Yesterday was a glorious day, but since I’d done a hard slog through sand-like snow for 10 miles the day before, I didn’t go out with the trike. Instead, to enjoy the glorious day, I went walking with husband and furball at the burial mounds at Gamla Uppsala. It was even above freezing.

So, when I woke this morning to 14 F (-10 c), I was a little disappointed I didn’t at least TRY riding yesterday. Still all the weather forecasting things I have access to insisted it would be mild today. Around 10 am, it came true with a balmy 28 F. As I got dressed, Loke stayed against my right leg as if glued which made moving around a bit of a challenge. Then as I pulled on my last torso layers while outside with the trike, he set to singing in his strange half yodel, half bark. Almost like a proper working husky waiting for the brake on the sled to let go. I even tried to video it with my iPhone, but every time he’d go quiet and sit patiently. I’d put the phone away and he’d start up again.

Gorgeous Day!

In moments we were streaking down the road which was still a little boggy with sand-like snow. The furry one was thrilled to be out and enjoying the day. Dog were everywhere which make Loke a bit more excitable than usual, but he listened pretty well to my ‘On by’s. The sunny skies and calm winds convinced me to maybe try the Börje/Gamla Uppsala loop which is about 18 miles. It would be our longest ride of the year!

As we finished the first half of the River Loop without the extension, Loke was delighted when we made the right turn over the 272 onto Gamla Börjevägen. With his help we powered up that hill a little more quickly than usual and he went into a flat out charge down the other side. The road had much less ice than the previous time I’d gone down it to do the Ulva/G. Uppsala loop and it didn’t seem slippery at all. Even so, I did my best to stay off the ice ridges except when traffic forced me to do otherwise. As we went, the last of my doubts about doing the slightly longer run evaporated. I was smiling and happy with grinning, tongue-lolling husky at my side under a blue sky surrounded by white snow. Life was good.

When we went straight at the cross-roads, Loke poured on with more speed. We haven’t been down those roads in months. It was almost like new ground to him and he wanted to run.

Börje Kyrka via iPhone

Up a slight hill and then down the steeper backside as it whipped around the curve past a little school and there was Börje Church. Though Loke wanted to go at a mad charge, I stopped to take a picture with my iPhone and felt oddly pleased that at 6 miles from home it was only 1/3 of the total distance I planned to ride. Humming to myself I put the phone away and off we went.

I was still wrapped in that warm glow when Loke tried to pull us even faster around the curve that follows the churchyard wall. At 10-11 mph, it was too fast to stop as quickly as I would have needed to and no where I could really swerve when I spotted the sheet of ice reaching across the road. I had a sick feeling in my belly as I felt the rear wheel start to fish-tail. For once, things didn’t  happen in slow motion. It seemed a split second before I registered the trike tipping and then the loud THUNK of my helmet smacking pavement. My first thought was “LOKE!”. I hadn’t heard any yelps or canine screams. Before I could move, he was suddenly stomping on my head and shoulders. A few seconds more for my brain to settle let a cold feeling run through me as I saw clearly I was laying across the road right at the end of the blind curve.

Things didn’t seem quite right as I tried to get up. I was strangely tangled in Loke’s tether, the seat and the trike. Somehow, I managed to get my feet under me, grab the seat with Loke still attached and set it at the edge of the ditch. Then hurrying, slipping here and there on the ice, I grabbed the trike to drag it as far out of danger as I could. Panting and feeling a slight ache in my head, I took stock.

I think it was only THEN I realized the seat had been separate from the trike. That still wasn’t my first concern. I gave Loke a quick once over to make absolutely sure he had no injuries. He was fine. He stood there, wagging his tail with his husky smile as if to say, ‘We go now?’

I unclipped him from my seat and leashed him so he could go play in the snow at the bottom of the ditch as I checked everything else. It was then I found broken, curved pieces of black plastic as well as a few metal leavers. The clips that hold the seat to the trike body had torn apart! I said a few choice words with the realization that I couldn’t just slap the seat back on and make it home on my own.

The Aftermath

The dazed feeling retreated as I was faced with calling Jens, dragging everything to a safer spot and waiting up to 2 hours for rescue.

The seat and Loke went first since they were the easiest to deal with. I made it to the churchyard gate before dropping everything and tethering Loke to the gate itself. Then I told him I’d be back and slipped and skidded my way back to the trike. I swear that patch of ice was the only slippery one for miles around. I brought the trike back around the curve, about a 20 yards of dragging, flopped down on my sheep-skin over the snow and made the call.

It needn’t be said that my husband was a little concerned. When I said accident, he thought I’d been hit by a car or the like. I assured him I was fine, but couldn’t get home. He was on his way. As I sat there, Loke was a strange combination of playful (pouncing around in the snow next to me) and extremely lovey, which is incredibly rare for him. He’s affectionate on occasion, but generally brief. This went on for several minutes until he laid down next to me with his head in my lap.

As I waited, a pair of women came out of the old vicarage house across the street from the church. One went on down the road, pole walking, but the other, smiling came over to ask with a little laugh if I was so exhausted I had to sit in the snow. I told her I was waiting for my husband because the trike had broken. She asked a few more question and once she realized I’d rolled the trike, hit my head and Jens could be over an hour coming from Stockholm, she insisted on calling her husband. She was not going to have me sitting for an hour in the snow no matter how many layers of wool I was wearing if she had anything to say about it.

Turned out her husband was more than happy to give me, trike and Loke a lift. I called Jens to tell him, but he wanted to be home with me since I HAD hit my head on the road, helmet or not, even if it was uncracked.

In moments, he was there with the Volvo version of our Ford Station wagon. I introduced myself but never got names in return. As we loaded the trike, I offered to pay for gas, but was cheerfully and firmly declined. They were just glad we were okay! An absolutely lovely older couple, nice as could be. I said farewell and thank you to the woman as I got into the car.

The gentleman was quite happy help, as he kept telling me and his English quite good. I told him so and he laughingly told me of an American he’d worked as an electrician. Very nice and very generous who smoked huge cigars and the two of them had often talked politics, so he’d learned English. I asked if he’d always lived in the area. He said he’d been born in Rimbo and laughed when I told him I’d cycled there. Then he had lived in a tiny village near Ro Church and I told him I’d cycled there as well and the church was quite pretty. He smiled at that.

Soon, I was unloading the trike in our parking lot and thanked my benefactor profusely. He said he hoped I really was okay and would be back on the road again soon.

It felt good to get everything back in the apartment and I’d only been home for about 15 min when Jens arrived. Shortly after that, I made the call to Inspired Cycle Engineering to see about ordering replacement clips. A woman answered first and when I told her I was calling to get small parts for my trike because I’d rolled it, her first response was to ask if I was okay. I assured her I was and gave my name. “Oh! Teresa! Hi, let me just transfer you to John!”

John remembered me as well and expressed the same concern when I told him about flipping the trike. When I told him what I needed, he sounded baffled. At first he thought I needed a new mesh, but once we were communicating well, he was flabbergasted. In all his years, he’d never heard of a single clip breaking let alone all four at once. Laughing, he said just for that accomplishment, he’d send me all the replacements for free. They’d be in the mail directly and on their way. I’ll probably have them before the end of the week!

I cannot say enough good things about the people at ICE. Awesome customer service to go with a wonderful trike. Even after 6 years they’re still helpful and generous and surprisingly, remember a plump American woman who lives in Sweden that came to their production center in 2006.

So, while fish-tailing and toppling the trike on the ice was bad, the follow up gave me a warm fuzzy feeling about the kindness to be found in people.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Blimey, that has made me go and check mine but all are ok.

Glad you are ok. you could have taped the seat on with duct tape and cable ties I would think. Both can be useful for temporary repairs.

Comment by dexey

Unfortunately for a short ride I had neither. 😉 I would have had both had I been on a tour though.

Now we have about 8 inches of snow, so riding will now have to wait for a good melt. Evil ice freezing my chain.

Comment by Terii

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