Bike touring is an amazing way to see a place, and touring in Washington State is among the best in the country. But two international groups on long bike trips ran into some terrible situations in the Puget Sound region in recent weeks.
A man from England who was on day number one of what should have been a bike tour down the west coast was struck and seriously inured near Shelton August 10. He was airlifted to Harborview after a pickup allegedly swerved to avoid another car and struck him on the highway shoulder.
According to a friend he was riding with who was tracking their travels on his blog, Steven Prime was left with a lot of broken bones but “nothing that will be long term.” Still, it’s a terrible and quick end to their tour. We wish Steven a speedy and full recovery.
After insulting my digestive system with a “breakfast sub” that contained steak and cheese the next ferry was arriving an hour and a half later and we boarded en route to Bremerton. The ferry ride was awesome.. as we sailed away we could see the Seattle Skyline and it was a beautiful sight.. with fresh sea air, jellyfish and a dog on the boat trying to sniff my leg it had it all… but an hour later we arrived into port and it was time to get back on the bikes. Hour and a half behind schedule Steve and I got a good start on the day and soon smashed out the first 37 miles.. to a town called Shelton. Here was our meeting point with Nathan and we were 40 mins early! We really got a great start on the day… We insulted our digestive system again this time with a “meatball sub” and refilled our bottles with ice… Steve was keen to get going to make up for the time we lost at the ferry port and so headed off on his own, while I waited on Nathan to turn up and would catch him up. Nathan arrives and shortly after we headed down the route to catch up with Steve… but we couldn’t find him…
We went up the route all the way until we reached a point where the road had been closed off, unsure whether Steve had gone this far we tried contacting him, but America cell phone signal is shocking and had no signal.. Unsure we tried both of the alternative routes he could have gone, but again no sign of him… The closest was a redneck on his bike carrying his scooped up roadkill for the BBQ later.. so we back tracked thinking he may have stopped somewhere and we missed him. Still no luck and nothing from phoning and texting him, we started to worry and after a few hours decided it was time to head to a police station.. As we followed the scent of coffee and doughnuts to the nearest one we got a call from Steve’s mobile and it was the hospital…which we learned the fate of Steve, in that he had been hit by a car that swerved into him at about 40mph. Arriving at the hospital all the way back in Seattle that took us 2 hours in the traffic we saw him… A broken wrist, broken bones in his lower back and 6 broken ribs he isn’t in the best of states, but luckily nothing that will be long term! His face looked better though.. ;) But unfortunately it meant that less than 40 miles into the trip, it is game over for CycleAmerica2014
Prime, a coffee shop owner in Coventry, England, was biking to raise money for the Coffee Kids charity. You can still donate to that cause via Crowdrise.
Australian couple’s fully-loaded bikes stolen in Mount Vernon
While nothing compared to Prime’s collision, an Australian couple is trying to figure out how to get back on the road after their fully-loaded bikes were stolen in Mount Vernon. The bikes were locked together outside Skagit River Brewery when some “Mutha fuckas” took them (as they put it in their blog), leaving Anna Suthers and Billy Barnetson with just the shirts on their backs only a quarter of the way through their Alaska-to-South America tour.
But KOMO reports that the couple is keeping a positive outlook and isn’t going to let the theft stop them:
Obviously, everyone should keep an eye out for their bikes, because this bike thief is worse than the average bike thief.
Details on the bikes from the Mount Vernon Police:
The Mount Vernon Police Department is seeking help from the public locating two bicycles stolen from a couple who were passing through Mount Vernon while riding from Alaska to South America.
The couple stopped to have dinner at a restaurant near South 3rd and Gates Street in Downtown Mount Vernon. The bicycles, along with their clothing, sleeping bags, tents and other miscellaneous travel items attached to the bikes were gone when they came out.
The bikes are described as:
1. Black Trek Hybrid bicycle with blue trim, 27 speed, black tires and black seat. The bicycle had two black bags on the back tire with a yellow bag above the black bags. It also had two gray bags on the front tire.
2. Black Apollo Trace 2.0 Hybrid bicycle, 24 speed, black tires, and black seat. The bicycle had two black bags on the back tire and two red bags on the front tire.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Mount Vernon Police Department (360) 428-3211 (24-hour dispatch center) or (360) 336-6271 Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm
Wow. I’ll be avoiding stopping in Mount Vernon from now on. I’ve never gotten a good feeling from folks up there but that’s incredibly sick, stealing two loaded bikes that are on tour.
I don’t see either of those bikes listed on https://stolen.bikeindex.org/. If anyone can contact Suthers or Barnetson, please suggest they list their bikes on that registry. It is widely used by bike shops, police departments and private buyers to check whether a bike has been reported stolen. Serial numbers help but they don’t have to have them to register. I hope they can continue their tour.
Best wishes to Prime for a full recovery.
This is the second time in as many weeks I’ve heard of someone being hit on a road because the car that hit them was “swerving to avoid another vehicle.” In the first case, the vehicle they had avoided by swerving was mysteriously gone and no one else could corroborate the story. The only other person who was there is now dead.
Either there is an epidemic of people unable to keep their cars in their lanes, or these phantoms they said they were avoiding are precisely that – phantoms, figments of their imagination come conveniently at a time to make it appear that the fact they just struck and killed or injured a cyclist is actually not really their fault.
The only other explanation is that they simply weren’t watching the road – something I witness daily, everywhere, from my car, and HARDLY to NEVER because of someone else. It is nearly 99% because the person behind the wheel is texting, eating, talking to a passenger, or otherwise being a complete incompetent in the operation of their vehicle.
Sorry, but based on my own unscientific experience of driving all around this state, this story of “of it was this other vehicle that wasn’t here that I was trying to avoid” strains credulity.
REGARDLESS – If there aren’t charges filed, there should at least be a civil suit. The lack of punishment of incompetent drivers that are killing pedestrians and cyclists needs to come to an end. Here’s an idea if someone appears out of control – SLOW DOWN. WAY DOWN. And try not to kill anybody.
If they rode the road I’m thinking of, I’ve been along it (SR-3) a number of times. I sure hope Steve’s recovery isn’t too long.
I have a 58cm Soma Saga that I will loan out nigh-indefinitely to these two as a way for them to get back on the road. Seattle doesn’t suck, but whoever took those bikes needs to seriously re-evaluate their decision-making paradigm.
Yikes that is scary. I’ve definitely jumped off the Amtrak at Mount Vernon and stashed by loaded touring bike at that brewery while I used their bathroom. I think I just threw a u-lock through the back wheel but I will definitely be more cautious next time I am cutting through town to get the San Juans.
It’s too bad the touring couple didn’t use the outdoor seating at the brewery, I always choose outdoor seating when available and purposely seek out restaurants that provide outdoor seating while on tour. This outdoor seating gets thrown out the window for inclement weather though.
Sounds like they were on SR3. That road definitely sucks. I now use SR106 which, while also a state highway, is generally less trafficked. The only problem is that it’s 20 miles of rough chip seal.
I feel bad for the two who had their bikes stolen. I’ve left my loaded camper outside of stores and restaurants unlocked and unattended countless times. I better stop before my luck runs out.