One year

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It has been one year.

It was a few minutes after noon on a Saturday, August 5th of 2006. I was riding in the bike lane in bright sunlight on a dead straight section of roadway. I remember nothing after that moment save flashes of sky as I was being rolled off the ambulance and into the emergency room. I remember it hurt. Then the drugs came, my wife was there, and everything was ok.

I picked up my bike from the Police Department today. The marginalization of cyclists continues, even with them. It appears that my bike has been outside, laying against the side of the building out back somewhere, out in the fucking weather for the last year. There is sun damage and rust and mud. That seatbag was once black. There is a dead spider and his (or her) web wrapped up in the flat front tire. (note – the impact pushed the seat forward and down, I’m not in the habit of riding around like one of the douche nozzles’ immortalized on BikeSnobNYC)

A Litespeed with Dura Ace is worth more than any car I’ve ever owned. And whatever is not smashed beyond repair is now a rusted waste. Thanks for that boys, I appreciate you keeping an eye on my baby while I was on the mend.

He hit me so hard, I came out of both of my shoes and my cassette got smashed.

If I can say one thing: Please wear a helmet. All bullshit aside. If I had not been wearing one, I would not be here today.

The back left side has a rather large dent, there are scraps all over it and the entire right side is split apart.

This is a photograph of the Police measuring out the skid left behind after the man who hit me drove off into the midday sun and left me unconscious on the roadside.

You can tell how wide the bike lane is by using the broad shouldered police officer as a guide. Looks adequate, does it not?

And then notice how far over to the right the skid marks starts, where the Officer is measuring.

That car was so far over into the bike lane that I’m honestly surprised it didn’t come into contact with the guardrail.

The man who hit me was going 55 miles per hour. He knocked the living shit outta me. My body is damaged, by bike crushed. It’s been a year now, and I am still recovering from it.

And right now I am one of the angriest sons of a bitch you’ve ever met.

Putting that bike and my ruined equipment in the trunk of my car was a flood of emotion, of relief and of frustration. The guy that hit me is doing five years. He’s got one down.

Four to go.

Seems the State of Arizona frowns upon repeat drunk driving offences. And when you add in a hit and run, well, lets just say you’re looking at some real trouble. You’re way past that 90 days in the County Lockup bullshit.

I wonder where I’ll be in four years, what kind of shape I’ll be in and what I’ll be doing. I’m just starting to come around now, after months of recovery. I didn’t work for nearly eight months, and I just finished a four month contract that was my initial foray back into the working world. My bank account and my ass both needed a little fattening up. And they got it. In spades.

I’ve been down so long, it all looks like up to me.

My first “real” ride back out on the roadways with my man Lovedog involved a woman turning right, right in front of me, and me hitting the side of her car.

I’m 6′ 4″, 210 lbs wearing a bright ass cycling kit. How can you not see me?

The marginalization of cyclists continues…

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

48 Replies to “One year”

  1. Hey,
    Don’t feel I have the cred to be the first post, but I am drunk, and a cyclist, and I’ve met you after your mauling, at 24hrs in the Old Pueblo. Besides a few friends who have been doored, you’re my only fallen comrade. I’d like to keep it that way, but time is not on our side. Stay safe out there, everybody.

  2. this man should be out of jail working to pay U back.
    fuck ass man. he pinched your tubes..thats 12.00retail
    god damn..

  3. The PO just likes to add insult to injusry by ruining those things that were salvageable. You wonder why the only time we like them is when we need them. Although the bike in its current condition is one hell of a piece of art work and even I would just keep it and mount it to the wall in the garage, as a reminder. ice to see the positive, and bring out the negative when those who havent learned from the mistakes. Keep up the hard work, get better, drink harder, and enjoy the ride in everything

  4. Jonny,

    Glad your rollin again, don’t let the big bad cars come out on top.
    Leadville will miss you again.
    Get your butt in shape for next year.


  5. Jonny wrote “You can tell how wide the bike lane is by using the broad shouldered police officer as a guide. Looks adequate, does it not?”

    No, my good man, it looks like a shoulder to me, not a bike lane.

    ‘Adequate’ is never that.

  6. Let me clarify…

    When there is no clearly designated bike lane, cyclists are allowed full use of the lane in most instances. I’m saying that looks like a shoulder, not a bike lane; ergo you should be allowed full use.

    But then we might be celebrating not only your triumphant return, but possibly someone else’s demise.

    Drunk drivers toad the wet sprocket. You know what I mean.

  7. You need to get the giant car magnet removed from your ass! Stay in the woods brother I don’t want to loose you!

    The only real man for Ang!

  8. BJ, thanks for the update. Glad to hear that the recovery continues. I’d often wondered over the last year what became of the lowlife who tagged you but wasn’t sure if it was good form to ask.
    5 years..

    not enough.

    ..not nearly enough.

  9. Those parts would fetch a few coins from some silly person on ebay, you might be surprised..

    Man, I would be lost without my Big Jonny!

    That back wheel is f&*king insane! Reminds me of when I got tagged on my old moped as a kid. Instant junk pile!


    Passed a dude on the way home from work on the bike trail last week. Came up on on him from behind. Odd looking helmet on, I thought.. Turns out he had a custom helmet on. Straps hanging in his face. IT WAS ON FUCKING BACKWARDS! Hell, he get’s a point for having one on, plus a point for making me laugh my ass off!

  10. it’s 6:05 am and I’m about to head on my ride (yikes). I’ll comment when I get to work. Ugh.

  11. Let’s not judge. 6’4″ is a hefty size. you need a bit of extra baggage just to hold that frame up.

    Im 187cm and went from a 98 lb weakling to a 98 kilo drinking machine.

    Im also more of a ‘Monster-Truck’ rider in that i don’t finesse ANYTHINNG. I’m all ‘CRUSH KILL DESTROY’ all the time.

  12. really glad your ok, one of my old buddies was hit head on at 50mph and didnt make it. no one should be subject to any car vs bike stuff its just sad.. I really wish all States would have the same laws in place. hit and run, 5 years max and you have to work with people that have been hit.. what does locking them up and feeding them do?? make them see what happend.. In Vegas we have one of the biggest cover ups as far as the real issue here.. riding in this town is like taking you balls off and just putting them on your top tube everytime.. This place sides with the autos
    always blaming the people not in a car first..

    We need to have the people that caused harm work with people that are still recoving from what they caused!!!!!!!!!!

    If you come out and ride redrock please becareful just because they re-did the sholder doesnt mean its all safe.. people are all over the road here.. big ass trucks doing 60+ on a windy road

    peace on the streets

  13. i guess i missed that you were hit so badly–wholly fuck, man.
    two buddies of mine were similarly struck from behind at “55” the man said [legally blind, severely diabetic, cataract surgery just completed, license suspended “sun in eyes” heading south at 615 am, then “didn’t see them” and STILL no charges against him].
    anyway, the two guys have been out of the hospital [rather than dead, as we all feared] and walking around. one dude’s saddle was still stuck in the grill of the truck.
    this whole thing is fucked up.
    i hate prosecutors. hate them. they’re worse than cops.
    cops don’t give a fuck, but prosecutors will fuck you.
    stay on the road, man. the trails will jar your aching bones.

  14. I was out of the drunkcyclist loop for a while, I never knew this happened! holy shit!
    glad you are alive man and fuck all to the prick that did that and the administrative assistants that left your wreckage in the hot Az. sun.

    Good luck

  15. Very glad you are OK, and I know this must be a tough day in your mind. PTSD shit, and you know what I’m talking about (I’m sure). I have no idea what your injuries were, but I hope you are healing well. Good to see you still riding. Many would not after what you’ve been through.

    I was hit from behind on May 5, 1988 in a similar fashion. I was lucky. The turbo boost from the impact collapsed my rear wheel in such a fashion that it stopped the bike and hurled me forward a good clip. I was fortunateThe driver was drunk, but for some reason the cop did not thoroughly check for this, and the guy got off with a failure to yield citation. I know he was drunk because due to the fact that I chose to hit him up for repairs to my bike (as opposed to trying to own his home) he admitted to me he was high as a kite, and that he was headed for rehab.

    Back then (1988), as now (on a halfway regular basis) I’d occasionally encounter a knucklehead motorist who’d try and intimidate me with their vehicle. Swerve at me, try and convince me to get over, etc. And back then, it was a hell of a chore to actually report someone to the cops, so very few did. You’d need to find a payphone, remember the plate number, etc. So most of us (me included) just usually blew those situations off. And that mindset continued with me until just recently. The other day a lady used her vehicle to assault me. She did not touch me, but she used her vehicle (as if it were a baseball bat) to influence my behavior and actions, in order to get her way. I finally realized there is a little thing in my back pocket called a cell phone. I called the cops and handed that lady some fucking justice. Fuck her. If you use your car as a weapon, you probably are prone to use other things in a similar manner. Not my problem. Get your own anger management therapy bitch. With any luck, the judge will order it for you.

    People, I really encourage you to take advantage of the benefits of technology in regards to the criminal behavior of motorists. Report these assholes. What I described above is vehicular assault. Battery is when one actually makes contact with you. A motorist that uses their car to lunge at you is a criminal. Do yourself and your fellow cyclists a favor and follow-up on the actions of criminals against cyclists. You might feel like a pussy for the 2 minutes it takes to make the call, but seriously, we need to start asserting our rights to ride on these roadways, or we’ll simply lose more mindshare to the motorists.

    Hope you are well, and holy shit, you’re lucky to be alive man.

  16. Amazing big jonny… fucking amazing…

    we all ain’t even close to being as lucky you survived as your kid is…

    6’4″ 210 pounds and you still look like a skinny fuck next to a regular fat ass amurican double whopper with cheese eating suv driving sack of blubber…

  17. Congrats on getting back on the bike. That took some stones. Remember, keep the rubber side down.

  18. Quick question Patrick, did the cops do anything about it or did they just do the smile and put it on paper routine. I can see it be useful if they get multiple calls in one town, but unless it only gets reported once i can see cops saying that it is just some crying cyclist who thinks he owns the road. But good idea just wondering if it is effective.

  19. Pingback: » Links Of The Day: 7 August 2007

  20. Charlyfox:

    Glad you asked. I actually have to prod this cattle along (or so it seems).

    I’m not great at remembering license numbers long term, so I repeated the plate number over and over again as I called the cops. When the dispatcher answered, I just repeated the plate number over and over just to get it on the friggin recording that I know they keep. When she interrupted me to ask what was going on, my memory of the number sequence started to deteriorate. I’m very solid that the first 4-5 times I said it, it was 100% correct. But the first time she repeated it back to me, she’d already fucked it up. I was pissed.

    When the cop (Glendale, AZ) came out to meet me, he jotted a few things down on a small pad and said he’d try and find the lady. He never took down the spelling of my name, did not ask for my contact info beyond what the dispatcher had given him, so I was suspicious that he was not going to be diligent about it. 24 hours later, I called the cop’s cell phone (I had it because he’d called me before meeting me) and he told me he’d tried the plate combinations given to him by me and the dispatcher, and they did not exist. I said “The dispatcher is wrong…pull the tape. The tape has the right info, I’m sure of it”…and he replied that their system is buggy right now and they can not quickly get into it, and that Motorola is supposed to come out and solve that problem. Anyhow, I’m not confident that officer Bishop is “on the case”…But I am. If I do not hear anything today, I’ll be bringing the case to him through other channels. The info needed to catch this lady is there. They just need to want to get it. I’m committed to seeing this through. I think I’m going to try and get the detectives involved.

  21. Just glad you made it out alive, big jonny, some don’t. I DO KNOW that the rehab is a bitch.

    Unfortunately, the s.o.b. that did it, will be out a lot sooner than expected (or deserved) w/ time off for “good behavior” & will probably go right back to the same old patterns.

    Bottom line? You’re here & remain a thorn in the side of issues that need to be poked at & that’s a good thing.

    So, cheers, major dude, stay strong & healthy.

  22. P.S.– Send the frame back to Litespeed as a j.r.a. You truly were “just riding along”.

  23. Patrick and everyone reading this, same think happened to me in norcal couple years back, this guy pulls up next to me at a stop
    sign and yells hey you didnt stop, me coming home from work on my bike says hey yes i did, and BTW who the fuck are you i said. well
    maybe this was a jumpy reply i made.. oh well.. Anyway he gets
    pissed and speeds up the road thinking hes gone he comes all the
    way into the bike lane tring to take me off the bike, well if it
    might have been someone else he could have done so, not saying that
    im better than eanyone else just have been riding a bike for along time, have some good skills/ street/dirt/racing.. anyway this goes on for about 5 mins he is break checking me all over the place tring to take me into the curb and the back of his car, not luck he is having but close.. anyway long story short he jets off up the road again, im shaking thinking this guy lost his mind tring to kill me WTF, anyway I’m just near my dads house couple blocks up the road and he gets out of his car and and waiting for me in the middle of the road out of his car.. I start to sprint towards him and its a 2 laner, he is getting ready to tackle me off my bike?? weird shit i tell ya.. anyway i ramp it up and start hammering towards this fat ass white fucker with a red face. shoot across the street and a car is coming so i have to come back into the path of this guy waiting to tackle me off my bike, i power side just before him not crashing into him but just enuff to pedel my 53×12 maybe.. he lunged for me,, but didnt get me.. I called the cops when i jammed to me dads house.. it was a car from LA in san Jose?? what the heck.. everyone i tell this too just trips out.. * this went on for about 10mins in a less then 2mile part of road.. I rode this route for along time, thinking he wanted to get me,, was worried for awhile..

    I could have killed him if i rode towards him full speed and hit him, but didnt want that..

    Take Care everyone,

  24. I’ve had plenty of past encounters with mullet-ridden guys in primer-grey rancheros. 15 years ago, I used to brush it off, as it was so hard to get a cop when you needed one. Now I’m pledging to make some damn use of my cell phone.

    Even if my lady just gets an “aggressive driving” deal, it’s still an 8-pointer, and she could lose the license unless she jumps through some DUI-type hoops.

  25. Patrick and others:

    1. Do not trust the cops to help you! You are absolutely correct that you need to call in when you get assaulted, but you are going to have to follow up. You can obtain a recording of your own 911 call. The cops won’t do it. Call the “Records” section of your police station and ask them how you obtain a recording of a call. It may cost you a few bucks for the cd. Then keep pressing the cops and when they don’t act, FILE AN INTERNAL AFFAIRS COMPLAINT. I do this for my clients all the time and will be happy to give any cyclist some pointers if you want to call and chat.

    2. Re Jon’s comment about helmets. I have people come through my office every week who are experienced bicyclists, some with tens of thousands of miles under their belts, who never had a chance. Like Jon, they never saw it coming, and the only reason they are in my office and not the morgue is because they were wearing a helmet. I wear mine every time I get on the bike now. I didn’t used to.

    Jon, I hope you keep writing about this stuff, and I admire how you have survived and are recovering. You are one tough, wiry bastard, not just physically but mentally. Way to go.

    Erik Ryberg

  26. Thanks very much Eric,

    I think the cops are just used to people calling in and “letting them decide” the best course of action (if any is to be taken). This case obviously requires a bit of shoe leather to complete.

    Heck, even if I do not get a criminal case on her, I still want to know who she is. She needs to learn that be it a baseball bat, gun or a vehicle, one best not use it as a way to influence another’s behavior.

  27. “I could have killed him if i rode towards him full speed and hit him, but didnt want that..”

    I had one of those too-started with some assclown in a Yukon screaming at me about “the sign” that he apparently thought said “no bicycles on the bridge” when in fact it was there to caution motorists about the presence of bikes. He does his best to ride me into the curb, speeds off, I pass him at a light & let him know that he’s #1, he hauls ass down the road, gets out of his car and gets all Hulk Hogan in the bike lane.

    Some time later I realized that the only real calculus I had performed was weighing the risk of a broken clavicle & some road rash for me and damage to a bike I love against his almost certain death when his head hit the pavement after being T-boned by my fat ass while spun out in my 53-12 (OK, it was a slight dowhill, but veryslight…). I realized that it was time to get off the road for a while and let some of the anger I’ve accumulated in 35 years or so of trying to coexist with cars dissipate. This was only the second time that someone actually appeared to be trying to use his vehicle to injure me-the other one was a guy who tried to ease me into a line of parked cars for, as he screamed at me, “passing him on the right” in traffic. Real bummer that he failed to take that red light a little ways down the road into account. I was actually surprised that I was able to put my fist through his windshield (right hammer blow cracked it, left hook ended up about six inches in front of his nose). The look on his face was priceless. I guess I was really pissed, without understanding how pissed I really was. It took Yukon guy to make me see that.

    I’m fortunate that I can ride off-road 10 minutes from home. I didn’t put a hundred miles on my road bike in the year after that, and just when I was starting to feel it again Big Jonny got tagged. Fast forward another year and I’m just now riding on the road regularly again, but it’ll never be the same. There’s just too much crazy random shit that can happen in a world where killing or maiming a cyclist is just about as consequential as a speeding ticket.

    One year. Here’s to many more, Jon.

  28. Jonny,

    that was a surreal day for everyone, in a bad way. Apparently you were joking with the medical staff and very complimentary. Some may say it was the meds, but I think it was just you.

    You probably don’t remember but I came to visit you in the hospital with a guy dressed from head to toe as a big bunny who brought you…well “old style” DC reading material. That too was surreal in a good way.

    Glad to have you here brother. Keep it REAL.

  29. Hey Jon, Happy BIRTHDAY.

    Yeah, I said Birthday. Most people only have one. You have at least two, the date of your nativity and the date you survived getting hit. I believe that you can’t survive something like that without being born into becoming a different person. Not a new person, but different. The same, yet changed.

    You were a great guy before you got hit. I believe that you are even a better man today. Now I’m not talking about some civic this or some dogmatic that being better. I don’t pretend to know you except from this site, but I think that from your words and the things you care about, plus the fact that you survived and are coming back with your sanity and your heart and your sense of humor intact, that you are different now than you were before.

    I think you still have appropriate anger without bitterness, that you are savvy without being cynical, and that your beliefs are sincere.

    Good on ya, Big Guy. It’s been a hell of a year. I hope next year is better all the way around.

    And again, Happy Birthday Jon.

  30. Jonny,
    Glad your still with us! I’m glad the guy that tagged you got jail time. Hopefully he’ll have to serve the whole time. Being a fellow fallen rider, I’ve got lots to say, but no way to put it into words….


  31. hey Jonny

    things would not be the same without you. i’m glad to hear that you’re thriving and all is well. hope to see you on a trail sometime soon.

  32. best in the full recovery. the shape of your steed gives new meaning to suffering.
    cars ‘win’ everytime- sad state- but true.

  33. Aye mate, it’s good to have you around. That which doesn’t kill us, blah blah blah – it still hurts like a mo’fo. Out where I live, they not only turn in front of you they make sure you know they’ve seen you first. Almost everyone rides a bike, how do they turn into such dickheads when they get in a car?

  34. JK, Ive said it before, and Ill say it again.
    Im glad as hell to continue to share space in the world with you, and am grateful on a daily basis that you continue on this path of self destruction with all of us.

  35. Glad your back in the saddle again. Life can go on!!
    Live to Ride, Ride to Live. Their’s nothing better in the world.

    See ya on the road Bro.

  36. So I dont want to Push the issue, but what is going to become of the fallen bike. It to is a fallen warrior, sure health and lives are more important, but something that has been between your legs for miles, has done damage to your prostate, and help save the planet, what do you do to one so close?

  37. I rode on the road for quite a few years – some of them racing city traffic on a 23 mile trip to/from work in central Philadelphia.

    Then came my witnessing/reporting a guy who intentionally hit a cyclist in the city. Flagged down a cop. Cop stopped the driver. Driver walked – not even a ticket. Now there’s one more psycho out there that knows he can get away with it.

    Then came cell phones.

    Then came text messaging and email. Who needs alcohol to be able to kill somebody with a motor vehicle any more?

    Now I ride MTB exclusively. I’ll ride a shoulder (far over…) to get somewhere if I have to, but I wouldn’t ride on the road for anything.

    Life is short enough already and the balance of power is just wrong.

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  39. The moral is: “definitely wear your helmet.” Fifteen years ago, my foot unclipped from my pedal in the middle of a sprint and I crashed hard, breaking my collarbone and suffering a concussion. I was in and out of consciousness before, during, and after the ambulance ride to the hospital. I’m glad I was wearing a helmet, as my head and brain would have REALLY suffered if I had been helmetless. I make my living from being able to think clearly (law and investment work), so I need my brain working properly. Unfortunately, I’ve known people with brain injuries who never recover and are never able to function like they were before their accident.