A block from our house, approaching a familiar four-way intersection on a stale green light, I was in the lead. Anticipating the traffic lights, I figured the girlfriend was a good distance behind me. As the light changed from green to yellow, I was nearing the crosswalk and suddenly decided to stop, rather than go through the intersection, and slammed on my front brake, skidding the rear wheel a bit.
Just coming to a stop, I had about a second's warning as I heard a noise from behind me, an "Oh shi-" WHAM! The impact pushed me and bike through the crosswalk, where I fell onto the ground. "Ahh, what the F*CK!" My girlfriend had been following more closely than I'd thought, and had just enough time to slam on the brakes before plowing into my bike's rear end.
"Owww. Dammit. Are you okay?" Four lanes of motorists looked on as we dragged our bikes off to the sidewalk. Somehow the Sekine's brake lever was snagged in my bike's rear fender, and I picked pieces of my shattered tail light off the pavement. We examined the damage.
Some fender stays got bent, but my wheels and the rest of the bike seemed fine. Let's have a look at your Sekine- uh oh.
|Twin top tubes bent upward, flaking the paint. Not shown, but the fork was bent back as well.|
|Lower lug broken away from head tube. The lower spoon on the lug dug into the tubing, buckling it nicely.|
Obviously, the Sekine is toast. Had we crashed further away, she could actually have ridden this bike home (slowly, as the fork bent far back the steering is quite wonky). Steel, as they say, is real. The material fails in a way that, to me, seems nicely predictable, obvious, and relatively safe. Fixing this frame, although technically possible, would require so much labour and new tubing that it's not a realistic option. This is actually the third crash this 30-year old frame has been through (with just its current owner) and it's time for a replacement.
So, hours later we both have some bruises and pains. The hospital x-rayed her arm, and luckily declared it unbroken. The nose of my Brooks saddle kicked me in the backside like a hammer blow. We'll heal and be a little wiser (I hope) for the experience, but this Sekine is done.