An impending biking tragedy

Story by Thom Fountain

The following is my inevitable eulogy. If one of you could read it at my funeral, that’d be a great help:

Thom Fountain loved to bike. He lived downtown Eau Claire, a six-minute sprint to Hibbard Hall when he woke up at 8:52 for his 9 a.m. class. Everyday he’d fly down Graham Street past Wells Fargo and the Free Clinic, stop for the constant red light at Lake Street and continue past the YMCA.

It was here, last (insert date), where the monstrous pot holes that had blown so many tires in his life finally knocked him over his handle bars. He was wearing a helmet, as he always does, but alas, the gaping hole in the earth was too much for him to handle.

You might say this was preventable. It certainly seems like it was.

Eau Claire, a city that so heavily prides itself on biking culture and their miles upon miles of bike paths, should certainly be able to boast that their roads are safe for riding. And you’d think drivers would move over into another lane when passing a biker instead of coming mere inches from their left handlebar.

While millions of dollars are poured into a new jail literally across the river, it seems filling in a pothole or two in the great downtown area shouldn’t be a problem. Maybe smoothing out the roads or enforcing speeders more stringently would have saved this poor, wonderful and handsome young genius.

But today is not the day for blame-games. No, today we must remember Thom Fountain and mourn that he will never see the newly redeveloped Eau Claire downtown, one that so far shows no signs of being any more bike friendly than the current one.

If only he could have seen the unnecessary addition of two-way traffic that would force vehicles to inch around cyclists and make them wait an hour or five while deliveries were being made. He used to say he dreamt of the day he could be knocked over from the wind of a passing diesel pickup truck skirting along side him.

It’s such a travesty he may never breath in those aromatic exhaust fumes again.

So, what can we do in the memory of Thom Fountain? It seemed ridiculous and far-fetched to suggest the municipal government should do anything productive in his honor, but they have graciously decided to install a massive crater down the length of State Street just to deter students from biking to school every day.

Hopefully this will prevent any more tragedies caused by good kids making the poor decision to save some gas and hop on a bike.

Thom Fountain is Managing Editor of The Spectator and still alive.