It's tough trying to stay in shape or, in my case, get back into shape. It's hard work and takes a lot of time out of your day, but many of us feel that the payoff is worth the cost.
Unfortunately, there are some potential problems intrinsic to the effort. This was brought home to me a couple times lately. Most recently a friend of mine was out riding his bike and got hit by a pickup. He had to be Life Flighted to Memphis with a broken ankle, a broken hip, two cracked vertebrae, and maybe worse. I don't know all the details yet so I really don't know who was at fault in this case, or if it was just "one of those things" that happens when the stars align against you. But I know that my friend is an impressive athlete who puts a lot of miles on his bike every week. Hopefully he'll be back at it soon.
The other situation I'm referring to happened to me a couple weeks ago, and I know who was at fault in that one. I also know that I'm lucky to be here now writing about it.
I was about 15 miles into a 20 mile bike ride when I came to a place where I had to turn right (north) onto a country highway. There were corn fields all around so everyone needed to be careful at that juncture. As I came to the intersection, I saw my mail lady coming toward the stop sign across from me. No problem there; I should be out of the intersection before she got there. I moved forward so I could see past the corn and looked to my left. Nothing. I looked right and saw a black vehicle coming south at highway speeds with no blinker on, in the proper lane. Should be OK there, too. I moved forward and looked to my left again, just in case. When I turned my head back to the right, the black vehicle was headed right toward me, turning onto the road I was on, driving on my side of the road! I try to ride over on the right side of the lane, both for safety and to be courteous to drivers who have to pass me. In this case I was right on the edge of the pavement. I could have reached out and slapped the stop sign as I rode by it. This driver was moving FAST. A million things flashed through my mind, but I only had time to yell one thing, "Hey!" as I felt the vehicle pass. If I hadn't pulled my elbow in, the mirror would have clipped me, probably causing me to wreck at least. If I hadn't been riding so far over to the right, I'd have been plastered all over the road. Even if I had been in a car, coming up to the sign there would have been no way to avoid being hit head-on.
It had all happened so fast that the vehicle was past me before I could even dive off the bike and into the ditch, so I kept riding and finished my 20 miler. My mail lady, who had seen the whole thing, stopped at my house to make sure I was OK. She said she couldn't believe I didn't get hit.
I ride my bike out in the country where I see very few vehicles. It is rare that I see more than a dozen cars. The vast majority of them pull way over to the left as they pass me. But one careless driver who is distracted by his cell phone or is in a hurry so he makes a blind turn on the wrong side of the road is all it takes to hurt or kill someone.
Please ask yourself, is it really worth taking that chance just to check your texts or save a minute on your drive? Is it worth the risk of taking someone away from the family that loves them, or of denying them the life they are trying to enjoy? Is it?