Yesterday, my wife urgently summoned me upstairs to see something. When I got upstairs and looked out the kitchen window there was the rescue squad in front of our neighbor’s house and I spotted two bicycles laying down in the ditch! Obviously this hits me in a special place since I am an avid bicyclist and my wife has all sorts of fears about my biking. It turns out yesterday’s bicycle excitement involved SHEBONK.
Shebonk — No Cars
I worked up the nerve to get on the scene and start asking questions. There were two bicyclists, a man and a woman, both were riding solo and the man came upon the woman passed out on the side of the road. It turns out he was at the bottom of the big hill just west of our house and she was cresting the hill, he started to crank to catch up to her and when he got to the top of the hill he spotted her on the ground. He called the rescue squad, he also told me she was still clipped into her pedals so she was going real slow when she crashed.
Shebonk — Big Hill
In terms of our local geography this hill is a big one and she was either in the middle of a 25 mile ride or 25 miles into her ride. She said she was cresting the hill and she saw her speedometer saying: 7…6…5…blackout. It seems shebonk!
Shebonk — The Bonk or Hitting the Wall
One thing many bikers are familiar with is the bonk or hitting the wall. This is when your body is no longer capable of pedaling the bike at the level you need or want. Generally, one is on a stretch of road they know they can pedal at 17 mph at but they are only able to move out at 12 mph. This is usually due to hypoglycemia or perhaps dehydration. Low blood sugar or lack of water! I hit this condition last fall once, but not as bad as yesterday’s victim.
Shebonk — Preventing Shebonk & Hebonk
How does one prevent hitting the wall? Bring lots of water with you and brink some sort of food with your. Mind you, choose food items offering some sort of sugary quick hit, because that is what you need. I suggest Honey Stingers but there are many alternatives on the market (including bananas, just make sure to pack them so they don’t get squished and smush all over you and your gear).
On my rides I start with a pack of Gatorade Prime juice and about every 20 miles I eat a pack of Honey Stingers. I have hit the wall once or twice this year but that was early in the season when I was learning about my on-bike nutritional needs.
Shebonk — Happiest Result Possible
The woman eventually exited the ambulance, I gave her a pack of Gatorade Prime, we loaded her bike into her friend’s car (who the other biker summoned with the vicitim’s cellphone), and they left. I am hoping she learned about keeping her body properly fueled for long rides.
Shebonk — Your Turn
How about you, what do you do to avoid bonking? Do you have an interesting story related to you or someone else hitting the wall? Please share!