Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The River Ride Bites Another......

Steve Rex, a highly regarded custom bicycle builder, remained hospitalized Monday following surgery to repair a broken hip he suffered in a high-speed crash during a training ride in Sacramento.

Rex, who was wearing a helmet for the ride, is also expected to have surgery on an elbow that was fractured in the crash.

Rex Cycles in midtown Sacramento will remain open while its owner is in the hospital. His two bicycle mechanics will continue with repairs, and Rex says the business will shift focus to selling the factory-made bikes he stocks until he is able to begin building the custom frames again.

The cycling accident occurred toward the end of a training ride involving 40 to 50 competitive cyclists. The ride, which has for years departed Saturdays at 10 a.m., is commonly called "The River Ride" and features sustained speeds of 25 to 30 mph for 40 miles.

Toward the end of the ride Saturday, Rex, a seasoned long-distance rider and racer, was traveling in a pack of cyclists at 30 mph. Two riders in front of him touched wheels and crashed, sending Rex crashing over the top of them.

"I don't know if I went unconscious from hitting my head or from the pain," said Rex, while resting Monday in his room at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center.

Since he opened his business in 1987, Rex has developed a national reputation as a master bike frame builder. He has built some 2,000 frames, measuring, cutting and welding the tubes fit to each customer.

Working alone in his midtown shop, Rex takes four to five months to complete each frame. Most of the custom bikes are made of lightweight steel, some with a mix of carbon fiber tubing.

Rex's wife, Peggy, said the surgery on her husband's hip included inserting a large plate into his left femur and attaching it to the bone with three screws.

The two cyclists who crashed in front of him Saturday were apparently not seriously injured and were on their feet when he was taken to the hospital, Rex said.

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