“Do you ever take it off any sweet jumps?”
The “sweet jumps” to which the protagonist of Napoleon Dynamite is referring (consisting of a jerry-built wooden ramp) are, unfortunately for the gangly teenager and his reserved friend, not the height of bicycling daredevilry. The more experienced cyclist, however, will be happy to learn that there is a world beyond that—a world replete with risk. These risks are not insuperable, but should be taken cautiously and only after careful preparation. Listed below are several paths, both local and foreign, on which riders have taken their lives into their own hands:
1. The Portal Trail in Moab, Utah
Moab’s Portal Trail is dotted with signs instructing the bicyclist to dismount, as the terrain ahead is not to be traversed on two wheels…although the signs are probably unnecessary, given the long drops from which people have fallen to their deaths. The reviews left by those who have braved the path describe it as “a man-eater,” “for thrill seekers only,” and “possibly ridable by the truly insane.” The Portal Trail is no undertaking for either the faint of heart or the mediocre.
2. 5 Miles in Hell in Green River, Utah
Characterized by endless hills, alternating sand and ridged stone, and its taxing length, 5 Miles in Hell (its actual name) is to be attempted only by the Orpheus of bicycling. Even if the skill level required to complete the journey safely were not a prominent factor, the stamina needed is a matter for serious consideration.
3. Orlando, Florida
While the streets of Orlando are not flanked by 200-foot drops or twisted into switchbacks, a combination of unsafe conditions and—if word of mouth is to be trusted—unobservant drivers makes this city a perilous place to commute on 2 wheels. Whatever the cause or causes, Orlando is consistently rated as the worst city for bicyclists.
4. The Cliffs of Moher near Doolin, Ireland
A narrow, meandering path bordered by a 700-foot drop to the Atlantic is the treat that awaits the intrepid bicyclist on tour. No more than a few inches wide at some points, this trail has the potential to be as breathtaking literally as it is figuratively and may be best enjoyed on foot.
5. Coroico Road in La Paz, Bolivia
This has been called the world’s most dangerous road for its steep downhill grades, narrowness, and 4-foot gaps. It has been said that the rider traveling downward on certain places on Coroico Road may find themselves traveling nearly 50 miles per hour. In fact, many of the Bolivians setting out on that road perform a prayer ceremony. A person considering a journey on “Death Road” might consider making preparations for the afterlife while preparing for their trip.
However daunting these trails are, most serious bicycle accidents take place on typical, unremarkable roads; and more often because of human factors than because the route is inherently dangerous. If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident caused by human negligence, there is no need to suffer in silence: if there are untapped resources for compensation, Good Guys Injury Law can help you find them. For a free consultation, call (801) 506-0800.
Images courtesy of Gabriel Amadeus and Alicia Nijdam