Sunday, May 8, 2011

Biking Drunk

[Note:  after several comments I realized that I didn't really date the below experience.  So I will now.  This post relates an episode that happened over 10 years ago]

It was a long night and  I was drunk.  I don't remember how I exactly got this way (other than just drinking and drinking), but I was.   I was a regular at a bar called Sonny's.   I liked to dance, and it was actually pretty common for me to put my beer down just about anywhere.   Usually the tables were taken, but people shared table space, spots on counters, etc. to deal with the simple fact that not everyone could possibly sit down or want to.

The night just sort of flipped at about one A.M, and I started throwing up.   This in itself is not that unusual with the consumption of alcohol, but it didn't make sense to me.   I'd been coming almost every week for well over a year and this night seemed about average so why was this episode particularly worse than any other.   As last call came and went, I laid my head down on a table and literally threw up again and again into a variety of empty glasses.  Having stopped drinking about an hour before, I was still very much in trouble.   And as the bar closed, I was in no shape to go home.

As people asked me if I needed a ride, I kept shrugging them off, mumbling, "I'll be okay."  I remember the owner telling one of the cocktail waitresses, "Don't worry about Don.  Let him sober up.  He's not in the way."   The band was still loading out and as the morning wore on the effects diminished, I finally got up stumbled out of the bar and onto my bike. I managed to bike the 2 miles on side streets, weaving in and out but staying on the bike convinced that I'd been drugged (something beyond the alcohol) and slept for most of the next day.

Studies show that a not insignificant amount of bike fatalities are the result of riding while drunk.  Of course, the actually fatalities overall is pretty minimal but then again one death is too many.   Another note, however, that is not mentioned is how many of those bike fatalities resulted in driver fatalities?  That's always been my contention.  If I bike and drink, then the person I am putting most at risk is myself (for the record--don't do it.  Don't bike and drink.).   Instead of stumbling out of the bar and getting behind the wheel of a 2 ton machine, a potentially very deadly weapon, I'm hopping on a machine that weighs about 1/5th of me....something that could certainly traumatize someone, but is very unlikely to kill anyone besides myself.

Ideally, I shouldn't have the impulse to go to a bar, drink to intoxication, and thus ponder my transportation options but that's beyond the scope of this piece.  We all do things we know we shouldn't be doing.

But that is for some other time....


  1. Be careful dude. snot a good idea. BWI? next time take a cab.

  2. well, Dang--call Saferide? WE need you Don!

  3. Hold on, homie. You were two miles from home? Given the danger AND the rate you were no doubt pedaling, couldn't you have walked home just as easily? Gone back for your bike the next day?

    I do understand this sort of logic isn't native to post-vomit, post-last call drunk, but I'ma plant the seed now, anyway.

  4. Thanks for all the concern. For the record, this incident was probably about 10 years ago now.

    The other problem that I failed to mention was that I didn't have a lock so I could pull the bike inside while I was there but couldn't leave it over night.