I suppose that it was inevitable. At some point given my misaligned brakes, reckless attitude, and Xela’s famously unobservant drivers I knew that I would be hit by a car. As it turns out, I am very, very lucky. Not only did I make it out alive (yay!) but all I ended up with were scrapes and bruises. The red truck that hit me sped away immediately, but, as they say, it could have been much worse.
Am I about to give up my bike? Not a chance. If you get a chance to rent a bike at one of the many places that offers rentals (ask around) you will not regret it. While there are some hills that I’d avoid zipping down (the hill by the brewery, for instance) a bike is totally the best way to get around town. There are also a number of great routes out into surrounding villages as well. It should go without saying, that you’ll want to park your bike inside to avoid it getting stolen.
In the interest of promoting bike safety, please learn from my mistake and observe the following tips:
1. If hit by a car, yell “No tengo abogadooooooo!” instead of just plain “Oooooooo!” I think that the truck would have been much more likely to stop and see if I was all right had they known that I didn’t have a lawyer and that I wasn’t going to sue.
2. Brake early. Brake often. Trucks are unpredictable, dogs come out of nowhere and trees fall over with the faintest breeze. Also, the statue of Simon Bolivar in Parque Bolivar is said to be enchanted. Legend has it that it chucks cinderblocks at cyclists that go too fast. Ride the brake so that you don’t end up crashing.
3. If a car has blood splattered on its hood, then it has the right of way. Ditto if the driver is yelling “Die, cyclist die!” out the window. Probably best to let that guy pass you.
4. If hit ask “are you a doctor” to the person who finds you crumpled on the road. After standing up, some guy dressed in white started yanking on my shoulder. I assumed he was a doctor. He was an accountant. This is an important distinction. Make sure that anyone giving you medical care has training that is more extensive than just being a fan of Grey’s Anatomy.
Ultimately, zipping around Xela on bike is a joy that everyone should take advantage of. Following the above tips (as well as actual bike safety tips) will keep you from bringing home a full-body cast as a souvenir.