We got into Cefalu at about 8:30 in the morning. The day after a night train is always horrible. You're painfully tired and your eyes ache all day. It's kind of like jet lag all over again. On top of that, it was drizzling, and Carlo, the landlord gave me a funny-looking phone number that I wasn't sure would work. Well I called it a few times and finally he picked up and gave me some directions. There's one street that goes from the train station and continues all the way through the small town until it makes a "T" just before the water. We had to get to that T and that's where he would be waiting. So the eight of us started our hike in that direction, me with a huge bike box. Of course, Sicilian eyes are expert stare-ers and they were performing just fine that morning. In the early morning, there were already dozens doing their work—staring at the new arrivals in town.
We got there and that's when we first met Carlo. Carlo was a smiley, short, balding, white-haired man with a small potbelly who liked to talk through his rotten teeth. His breath reeked of something indescribable that morning. That afternoon, I would find out why.
I took the direction to Palermo and enjoyed the new pavement, which was "partly financed by the EU." It wasn't an especially warm day, but my layers were adequate and I felt like I was riding through a cyclist's paradise. I made it about 20 miles out before the rain clouds came up on me and started dumping. That's where I turned around and began the second half of my ride.
On the way back I was heading down the same two-lane highway where I came upon two cars turning left. The first one pulled out a little bit in front of me but wouldn't have been a problem. But the second misjudged my speed and followed the first. The driver saw me coming and instead of doing anything, failed to make a decision and just stopped, blocking my entire lane. I had already clutched my brakes and was sliding at an angle on course to hit him. Somehow I made a flying leap out of my clipless pedals and managed to stay on my feet while my bike hit the deck hard. I put my street Italian to use and the driver sheepishly climbed out of his car as I looked over my bike. There was no serious damage except for my bent handlebars that I could fix with a multitool. I went through the regular hand gestures while fixing my bike and kept going. I made it back to the apartments and showered off, thankful my bike and I were both still in one piece.
About This Entry
You are reading "A Rainy Monday: Bike Meets Car", an entry posted on 31 October 2008 by Andy Steves.