"How do you feel?" asked Stephen, still looking a bit pale for what he had just witnessed.
"I don't know, really!" was all I could come up with, still trying to get to grips with what had just happened.
"Angry? Embarrassed? Sad?" he insisted, placing a hand on my shoulder. A first.
"Maybe not angry, maybe not embarrassed, but a little sad" trying hard to recall the details of the last minutes.
"Don't be embarrassed." Stephen said as he sat next to me, on the small traffic island.
For the next ten minutes we just watched the lights turning red and green and the cars stopping and going. Little was said...
My day started at 4:00 am with a quick visit to the bike room where my riding clothes laid next to my racing bike (see sidebar). I started having second doubts on which bike to ride but found a couple of good reasons to ride my old bike to work. One, being that Stephen rides something similar. A quick black coffee, all the gear on my back and on the road at 4:35 to meet Stephen for the easy 13 km ride to work.Eight and a half hours later, we were on our way home, this time in an understandable hurry. A strong head wind on Airport Drive got us working from the start. We took some hard turns, keeping the speed around 36 km/h. It was hurting. Cars went pass doing 100 km/h.
Reaching the second roundabout and thicker traffic, our game started. Drafting, going around, it was our turn to go faster. We have done this commute hundreds of times, mostly solo. We know the ride and the traffic very well. Doing it together only made it more fun, and slightly more competitive.
Strong head wind again on East-West Arterial, fast left turn onto Sandgate Road, and a stop on the next lights. Up the little climb along Park Road and the fast down hill towards the "S" bends at Gordon Park. I know the lights, their timing so I don't need to unclip. We approach the Gympie Road intersection, the light is red. Slowly, we moved to the front. Stephen dropped a little.
I noticed a white van at the front (Uhm!). Green, the van went. The female driver in the second car didn't react so I jumped. In one second I am on his wheel(s), another second and the break lights came on and the van came to a full stop. And so did I... hard!
There was a kind of silence, everyone around watched, just watched. I got up, looked at the bike lying there and looked for the driver. There he was, still in the van, looking through the mirror. Then, he waved and drove off.
All I could do was pick up the bike and get out of the way of the cars. I felt I was interrupting the flow of things that afternoon. The rest was like after any other crash. Look at the bike, look for blood, inspect the helmet and start thinking of a way to get home.