What's the stupidest thing you've ever done on a bicycle?

After last week’s episode coasting down a steep, twisty descent on a badly-maintained road with shoulder debris, at twilight, during rush hour (with lights, helmet, gloves, and reflective vest covering my daypack), I decided that was one of the ten stupidest things I’d ever done on a bicycle – but despite the difficulty (and a couple of times when I had the brakes too hard and feared crashing), it probably wasn’t nearly stupid/bad/scary/risky as a university trip back from a local fencing salle after dark, without lights, in late December, along a major road that did not have street lights, without any protective gear (just normal winter gloves) or reflective clothing – or the time I road my three-speed commuter down to the drugstore in a blizzard to pick up “overnight delivery” photos which were not delivered because the truck wasn’t driving through said bizzard – or having to get my three-speed commuter home across campus, across railroad tracks, at three in the morning while still more than a little tipsy from after-hours room parties at a student conference.

In the end, the most recent event was a combined result of wanting to try a steep descent, but choosing a slope that was beyond my technical skill level, not realizing the road was going to be as narrow or as poorly-maintained as it was, and misjudging the available light at that time of day.

What’s the stupidest/scariest/riskiest thing you’ve ever done on a bicycle – and was it because of poor planning, circumstances, or just wanting to stretch yourself/take a risk/whatever?

Taking my wife on an out-of-state, 100 mile (over 4 days) trip to a campground on the beach. She doesn’t bike, and had done no training. After day 1 (25 miles) I rode back to get my car and we drove the rest of the way.

Next time we’ll be more prepared. If she’ll let there be a next time…

I popped my foot out of place and turned it around backwards playing around on a ghetto quarter pipe. I’ve broken several other bones and had a few concussions too. All of those things really are not stupid though. They are just a painful part of riding a 20inch. At the Dallas Tour De Cure I missed the turn around and rode 42 miles instead of 32. That was stupid. That was also a lot of miles to put in on a 45lb(+) jumper style mountain bike. I’ll be investing in a road bike b/4 next year.
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Came to a stop & forgot to unclip. Fell right over. I wish I had a video of it…it probably looked pretty funny.

I used to tour in my late teens and early twenties. I really dug cruising the mountain back roads and the freedom. I remember getting “thumbs-up” signs from motorcycle riders as I sweated over mountain passes.

Stupidest/scariest moment I had was descending from the top of Trail Ridge road, US Hiway 34. The summit is over 12,000’ in elevation. It’s the highest continuous hiway in the US. I rode it in June. There was still lots of snow on the roadside, and by mid-day it was melting quite a bit. The melt water was running across the road on the western end of the road, which received less sun and warmth. After sundown, the rivulets of water froze.

I came cruising over the summit and into the descent about 10:00 AM. As I got down into some serious drop in elevation, and into some switchbacks, I saw the first of many little mini-glaciers crossing the pavement. I was riding a Motobecane Gran Jubile, fully loaded front and rear with gear. With a line of cars behind me, and 15 or 20 miles of descent to go, I just held it straight, braked before the ice, and enjoyed the adrenaline cocktail.

My absolute most-memorable ride was on US Hiway 34 from Estes Park, CO to the outskirts of Loveland, CO.

July 31, 1976 the area around Estes Park saw a devastating supercell thunderstorm and severe flash flooding. There was an estimated 139 deaths and $35,000,000 in damage. US Hiway 34 was wiped off the map through the Big Thompson Canyon.

Fast-forward a full year. The hiway has been closed for reconstruction for a full year. Enormous amounts of new smooth curvy grades have been built, and smooth new blacktop have been laid. The 20 some mile stretch of hiway is still closed to the public as crews finish up the final details - guard rails, signs, shoulder work. They barricade the road, top and bottom, at 9:00 AM. It’s closed until 3:00 PM.

I leave the house early and ride from my home in Greeley, CO to the base of the climb, just outside Loveland. I hitchhike with my trusty Motobecane up to Estes Park @ 7500’ feet. Loveland sits at about 5000’ feet. I hang out and wait for the barricades to go up, and the bright orange CDOT truck to roll around the curve. 20 minutes later I push off for the ride of my life. No traffic to speak of - and if there is, it is bright orange with flashy lights. Super-smooth brand new pavement. June sunshine. Startled looks from CDOT guys. Adrenaline and endorphin cocktail.

That’s a tough question. I’ve done silly things that’s for sure. Even repeated them. Probably the stupidest is 5.5 hours on the trainer. But in June that doesn’t feel so stupid…
I think Phil would tell you a story that I don’t do enough stupid things.

I was commuting to Texas A&M University one day and came flying up to a big intersection. I hit the brakes hard, but this one particular day, I REALLY laid on the front brake and virtually did nothing to the rear brake.

End result: Complete somersault head over wheels. Landed on my helmeted head.

The best part? I gave a bunch of folks in their cars something to laugh about on their way to Luby’s…

My best crash also happened at Texas A&M.

I was riding on a Saturday morning to photography class. It was raining hard, like it can in the central coast, and the roads were slick and oil soaked. I was taking a right hand turn and my wheels went out front under me. I was going slow, but the fall was so fast I was on the ground before I knew it. I didn’t get so much as a scratch from my 10-ft slide, owing to the oil-slicked pavement.

Unfortunately, I did have to where my oiled-n-soaked clothes for the next 3-hours in class…

I did the same thing on my motorcycle once in high school…coming home and it had just started raining (so the oil was coming to the surface of the road juuuuuust perfectly :wink: and I tried to take the turn into my driveway too quickly. Rear end spun around and I was on the ground sliding before I knew what was happening…same thing of being scratchless but having crappy clothes to wash that night :-/
I’ve never laid another bike (motor or bicycle) over like that though, so I guess lesson learned, despite my pride being hurt…

i’ve unclipped the wrong foot before, i was coming to a stop leaning the bike to the left and with only my right foot unclipped, lol, after the first time you do it you never forget again :-p

In college I used to ride my bicycle three miles from my apartment to campus. There was a great network of twisty, fun bike paths through campus that I would fly through on my road bike. There was one right-left chicane that I would always throw my bike through as fast as I could.

That day I did my same right-the-left flick, and just as I settled over to the left edge of the tire gripping hard, I noticed a big patch of sand that I was headed right for. My front wheel touched it, and instantly I was down, with the first thing hitting the pavement being my chin.

I picked myself up and quickly went to a bathroom to get cleaned up before class. What I saw in the mirror told me that class wasn’t going to happen that day. I needed to get to the on-campus health center as my chin was ripped open and my clothes were covered in blood.

So instead of sitting through an economics lecture, I spent an hour with a nurse scrubbing my chin out with a Brillo pad— ouch! I never took that turn that fast again, and I have a big scar on my chin to this day reminding me of it.


I used to go on bar tours all the time when I lived in the city. Wow, I didn’t think you could actually consume that much alcohol and still ride a bike, but oh, jeez. Oh, that was way before I was ever diabetic and actually has nothing to do with diabetes, you just made me reminisce for a second there…