Am I The Bike Tester From Hell…

…or am I just accidentally really good at it?

Kenda Kraze Tire
The 3" wide Kenda Kraze tire on the A2B Metro

Yesterday I said the A2B Metro was “a solidly-built e-bike.”

Only about 30 minutes after clicking the “publish” button on that post, I was picking myself off the street, and screaming obscenities.

I slid out coming around a downhill corner with a layer of cinders spread all over the road.

(Where you live, you may get sand or salt spread on the road after a snowstorm. Where I live, we get cinders from our local volcanoes.)

The bike is fine. It has a couple of scratches, that’s all. It passed the wipe-out test.

My left knee, however, did not pass the wipe-out test. I’m writing this from a hospital room. Seriously.

I take responsibility for the wipe out. I could have been going more slowly. I could have taken into account the cinders that remained on the road after the snow and ice had melted away. Those wide tires on the Metro were probably at least as good as any other tires would have been under the circumstances.

But this is the second time in less than a month that I’ve wiped out a demo bike.

The first time was at Urban Press Camp. In that incident, I was unscathed, but the bike suffered.

The event was held in DC at the House of Sweden–a building that looks like the lair of a James Bond villain, decorated by Ikea.

Please do not step on the floor...
...lest you fall through the trap door into a tank of man-eating Swedish fish.

Reps from Breezer and NuVinci were side by side hyping the Uptown Infinity, as “the ultimate commuter bike.” I was particularly interested in the Nuvinci N360 Twist Shifter which, between the highest and lowest gears, provides an infinite number of gear ratios.

Breezer Uptown Infiinity
Breezer Uptown Infiinity in its pristine state

I took off along the Rock Creek Park Trail (past the Schwinn Speedster) wanting to find anything resembling a hill so I could test this novel shifting system. I decided I’d find a variety of terrain if I did a loop around the Lincoln Memorial. A James Bond theme was playing in my head.

Something on my right caught my attention. A homeless person? A decomposing corpse? As I zoomed past it, I realized it was just an empty blanket or sleeping bag.

Rock Creek Path
Rubbernecking fodder (yellow) and my trajectory (green)

When I looked again at where I was going, I realized I was about to cut a corner off a deep curb. Instinctively, I pulled a wheelie so that at least the front wheel would clear the corner.

Crunch! Psssst!

The rear wheel dropped (due gravity or something) and hit the curb hard.

Breezer Uptown Infiinity
Breezer Uptown Infiinity after five minutes of my rigorous testing

I was pretty happy not to have gone over the handlebars.

Then I started to think about what I was going to say to the Breezer guys, and began to wonder what my checking account balance happened to be.

I had plenty time to think about this, because I had to push the bike back to House of Sweden, which was about three-quarters of a mile.

The Breezer and NuVinci guys were really nice about it.

One of them said, “I’ll be able to bang that out. I’ve fixed worse.”

I didn’t believe him, but I appreciated his efforts to help me save face.

All I can say about the Breezer Uptown Infinity is that I hope to complete my test ride eventually. It seemed like a pretty well-though-out commuter bike. Ultimate? Maybe. I was definitely the bike’s ultimate rider that day.

Meanwhile, back at the hospital…

Scary Face
My Doctor | Photo: eHow "How to Tell Scary Stories"

This is a little embarrassing. It’s like I had zit on my forehead, and the doctors told me I needed brain surgery.

The last time I spent the night in a hospital, I was seven and having my tonsils taken out.

But my doctor told me two or three worst-case-scenario horror stories and convinced me to go through with surgery. (Debridement: a fancy word that means a really good inside-and-out cleaning of a wound to prevent infection.)

It looks like I won’t be pedaling a bike for a few weeks. I’m wearing a “knee immobilizer.”

Or maybe the irony will be that I’ll commute by bike on the A2B Metro using it (as I dismissively wrote yesterday) “like a scooterwith pedals instead of pegs.”

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