Caution: Wake Turbulence

I never expected that my worst wake turbulence encounter would be on a bicycle.

I’ve been biking to work pretty regularly the last week or two, and honestly one of the highlights has been going past LAX airport.  I’m way too much of an aviation geek not to enjoy being close to the big iron. Aviation Blvd. goes right behind the runways and has bike lanes.  I get excited when I hear a jet push in the power levers and take off.

I’ll stop to watch from now on.

I was coming home Thursday night (19 May) when I heard an American Airlines jet firing up its engines and taking off.  I’m crossing behind it, and I’m assuming my face looked like Tom Cruise’s in Top Gun when he’s pacing the F-15 on his motorcycle.  Then it got windy.  I began to realize that I was moving laterally toward the curb and didn’t have enough power to stay on the road.  I hit the curb and went down hard on my side.  Folks who know my history can imagine that I was extremely concerned when my hip hit concrete (as did my helmet).  It’s not like there’s even a lot of concrete there, but evidently I’m a concrete-seeking missile. The adamantium inserts held and I rode away with road rash (contusions) and some bruises.  I did need to straighten the trucker’s handle bars.

Two very kind people did stop to make sure I was OK.  And I was delighted to tell them I was fine.  I suspect I was the most cheerful person either had seen crawl from a  bicycle wreck, but I was experiencing the simple joys of femurs bearing weight.  It’s nice to know people will stop to help a stranger.  I’m much happier I didn’t need it this time.

One woman said that she felt her car (a BMW MINI) blow right as well – “a gust of wind” she said.  “It was the jet, ” I told her and the light dawned.

Anyway, I’ll be being more careful and I expect to be biking around again Monday.  I was very stiff and sore Friday.

Of course I filed an ASARS.

2 Responses to “Caution: Wake Turbulence”

  1. Morning Links: Blatant anti-bike bias from the director of the LAPD police union; LAX cyclist gets jet washed | Says:

    […] to Work Day was riding in the bike lanes on Aviation Blvd behind the runways at LAX, when he was knocked off his bicycle from the turbulence caused by an American Airlines jet taking […]

  2. Cyclelicious » Bikes May Use Full Runway (Not) Says:

    […] a teen I shared the road with military aircraft. This story of a guy who was knocked from his bike by an American Airlines flight at LAX reminds me of my own […]