This week I’ll be brief. Real brief. See, I’ve spent the weekend thinking about and dealing with my conflicted emotions over the most recent cycling death in Anchorage. I didn’t know Jeff Dusenbury, but I’d seen him around on the trails. Alaska isn’t that big of a place and if you engage in any activity enough, you get to know the faces of others who also are a bit obsessive about it.
My heart goes out to Jeff’s family. My thoughts circle around every mistake I’ve made as a driver, as a cyclist and how the wheel of fortune has smiled on me to this point in my life. I’ve never been injured while on bike by another. I have had a car-bike collision when I was sixteen. I was the driver. The cyclist was a young boy in my neighborhood. He walked away with a few scratches. Luck shined on us both that day.
I understand the overwhelming voices that scream to run. I understand being so scared about what had just happened that the only logical thing in the world seems to be to get away and hope it all blows over. But I also understand that as humans we have the ability to override our instincts. That is what makes us human. The girl who was driving the truck will never be the same again. Regardless of the legal and civil actions that occur, she will be saddled with the memories for the rest of her life.
Jeff’s family will also, never get over this event.
I worry about this every time I go for a ride. I always know it could be the last time and where would my own family be in that event?
But even for the worry, like Jeff, I go for my ride. Whether it is a commute to work or a long ride in the sun, I go for my ride. Why? Because I know that while there are inherent dangers, I simply can’t give up something that makes me feel so complete, something that grounds me and gives me a sense of focus. For some it is running. For others it is skiing. For still others it is World of Warcraft. Everyone has that one thing that they just have to do — risks be damned.
Sometimes the risks catch up, no matter how fast you peddle.
Let’s all be safe out there. Take precautions. Be aware of our surroundings. Watch out for each other. Let’s not waste energy placing blame. Instead, let’s just try to keep each other safe. That’s what communities do. That’s what families do.
Read more from Phil B. on his blog, Multimodal Alaska Adventures.