Friday, June 13, 2008

SEGWAY CRASH (or: I need a new pair of pants, AGAIN)

I had my second major crash today. Both of them were caused by Glider Error and had to do with inappropriate interactions with curbs.

Just about one year ago, at mile 0085, I went up a curb cutout too fast while shifting my weight to the wrong foot while turning. The Segway platform oscillated, I couldn't keep steady on it, and I wiped out. The Segway went in one direction, I went in another, and my InfoKey and Blackberry were ejected 50 feet away from me in opposite directions. I skinned my knee, elbow and wrist, and ruined a pair of pants.

Just about an hour ago, at mile 0585, I had nearly completed my daily 2.5 mile glide to work. I was across the street from my building, and since there was no traffic heading toward me on the one-way road (23rd St. near N St. NW for those of you who know the area), I decided to jump down the 6-inch curb and cross the street, as I have done literally hundreds of times over the past year.

But today, for some reason, i got cocky. Instead of jumping off the curb at 2-4 mph as usual, I guess I took it a little too fast. I'm not sure how fast exactly, but it might have been somewhere between 4-8 mph. That, my friends, was a major mistake.

I'm still not really sure what happened exactly, but I think that when the wheels hit the ground, they couldn't handle the forward momentum of my body. Seggie tried to get under me, while I instinctually tried to lean back to get over Seggie. I also tried to pull the Lean Steer Frame toward me, but as I was not directly over the platform anymore but slightly to its side, this had the effect of spinning the inner wheel faster than the outer wheel. This clumsy ballet lasted no more than a second. Together, we spiraled down to the street and collapsed with a loud thud.

I was splayed out in the street, clutching onto Seggie so that he wouldn't roll away. As is often the case after a crash, my immediate thought was, "OH MY GOD I LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT, HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE STARING?" I sat up and looked around. Miraculously, nobody saw. I was basically alone and there was still no traffic heading my way. Seggie had shut down. I stood up and rolled him to the other side of the street, where I surveyed the damage to myself and to my ride. He had a few extra scratches on the LSF but otherwise seemed to be no worse for wear. I turned him on and he started up as normal. I also had a few extra scratches, but unlike Seggie, when the road scratches me I tend to leak. I had a major cut on my left thumb, with a deep reddish-crimson oozing out. That said, it looked worse than it was and it didn't hurt.

Fortunately, I had taken the brunt of the fall with my well-padded derrier. Unfortunately, I had ruined another pair of pants. (If anyone would like a free pair of olive-colored khakis with a ripped seat, send me an e-mail!)

When writing this post, I briefly hesitated on whether to categorize the crash as "major," but I have decided that when one of my first actions after a crash is to look around for the first aid kit to dress my wounds, that counts as "major."

So, what have we learned today? A) Don't take curbs too fast. If you want to be real careful about it, go find the nearest cutout and glide down with ease. (You will also arguably save your steed the cumulative damage caused by lots of small drops.) B) Major crashes tend to happen when you get cocky. I don't care if you've ridden for 5 miles, 500 or 5000; the moment you start to act like a Segway God, the real Segway God will step in to put you in your place. C) I have a major crash about once every 500 miles. Good to know. (When I approach mile 1085, I'll be sure to wear pants I don't care about.)


Di said...

By which would you rather have pants ruined: a Segway crash or an Alli overdose?

Di said...

OMG the congruity! 500 miles almost exactly... Friday the 13th... all this symbolism! Are the Four Horsemen on the horizon??

Jimbo said...

Interesting. I'm curious about Segway accidents. I pulled one out of Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA yesterday as the lady riding it (there were a dozen Segways out that day watching a crew race) must have spun out when she hit a patch of loose, raw rice on the dirt (someone must have been trying to feed the birds). She missed knocking me into the water by inches as I was walking. Poor girl was sprawled on her back, hanging on to her Segway with one hand which was submerged in the saltwater. I yanked the machine up (heavy thing) and made sure she was okay.

I followed your link on Engadget, I've always been interested in Segways. But as someone that works from home, I just wish I had somewhere to go that necessitated one. :P Everywhere I go is either too close or too far for one.

Heather said...

Ew, sorry to hear about your crash! I have been considering taking my Segway to work but am too scared of this exact thing happening to me! And the dork comments! Plus, I live in the suburbs so it's more unusual to see one around here, I just don't think I can do it. If gas gets much higher I may have to reconsider!