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The Slice: Dignity takes a tumble

My first bike crash since childhood didn’t happen during my daily commute.

It wasn’t the result of a driver running me off the road.

It was not caused by losing traction on a slick surface.

And it wasn’t because someone opened a car door right in front of me.

No, it happened when my wife and I ran into each other during a leisurely ride last Sunday afternoon.

We’re not exactly sure what happened. One moment we were pedaling along in a quiet neighborhood. Then, in the next split-second, we were collapsing in a tangle of bikes and bodies.

We were going slowly, yet it seemed to happen so fast.

It’s funny how embarrassment can hit you harder than pavement.

We quickly determined that we were OK. But a woman who had been walking a dog up ahead of us freaked out. I’m not sure why.

She then approached and hyperventilated about how startled she had been by the sound of our little wreck.

This wasn’t especially helpful. At least her dog remained calm.

Then a couple of other cyclists, a younger man and woman, rolled up. We assured them that we were fine. And one of them volunteered that things like our accident happen all the time.

The guy then jokingly speculated that my wife had been trying to pass me and that I had refused to allow it. “Like NASCAR,” he said.

I would have preferred to not have an audience as we picked up our bikes and gave them a quick once-over. But the cheerful cycling couple’s message seemed to be, “If you’re OK, this is no big deal.”

Nice of them, when you think about it.

“Someone should write a funny story about this,” said the guy.

I offered him a thin smile and muttered, “Yeah.”

Today’s Slice question: What percentage of local parents would secretly be disappointed if their kids didn’t move away from Spokane in pursuit of their dreams?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail Liability paranoia is dehumanizing.

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