I Hope My Accident Can Prevent Others
by David Nakai

Photo of David on the Rocky Mountain 1200 in Canada of 2000
Few of us like to ride our bikes as much as David Nakai. He has ridden well over 37 Doubles, a full set of Brevets in 1998, 1999, 2000, Paris-Brest-Paris in 1999, and the photo above is from his Rocky Mountain 1200 in Canada from 2000. He has given much back to our sport ... including supporting many Doubles. He is a very strong rider ... yet, always enjoys slowing down to talk to folks on the rides.

On Saturday, April 21, 2001, David completed the Devil Mountain Double in San Ramon, one of the hardest Doubles in the California Triple Crown. After the ride, he was driving back to his hotel in Gustine. Tragically, the next thing he knew was that his truck was rolling over.

He was taken to a hospital in Modesto and was in the Intensive Care Unit most of the week. He had an operation on his neck and everything looks good. As of Thursday, he was off pain pills, antibiotics and is eating solid food. He was expected to be released from the hospital this weekend, however, will not be riding his bike until probably after the end of the year. He was in good spirits as always and joking with the nurses.

The Doctors are pleased with their surgery and other than keeping him immobile in the neck area for awhile, he should be back on the bike again.

I'm sure we all wish him a speedy and complete recovery. I'm sure he would appreciate hearing from you to lift his spirits during his recovery -- so send him an E-mail to DJewett@gate.tfb.com

Don't Double and Drive!

Photo of David's Truck After the Accident

Good day Chuck,

Attached is a photo of my truck from my accident. In showing the aftermath of my big mistake, I hope I can prevent anybody else from having to go what I went through.

As my doctor told me, I was damn lucky. I should have suffered some paralysis. I could have died. Worst, I could have injured someone else. Because of my stupidity, I endangered other people. I couldn't stand myself had I hurt someone else.

I know I am not the only person who tries to drive tired. I hope my lesson will have people rest before getting behind the wheel.

I thought I could drive the short distance back to my motel. I said to myself when I shook off the first indication of sleepiness, I'm just going to the next exit and I'll take a nap. Only I never made it. The next thing I knew my truck was rolling down the embankment.

Riding a Double is taxing enough on the body, and then the monotony of driving can unknowingly and fatally lull you to sleep.

Let me be the witness, your first hand experience.

I do not want to hear of anybody else doing what I just did. Not only did I suffer, but my family did too. Is saving $50 on a room worth it? I don't know what my medical bill will come out to, but let's say, I'm glad I'm insured.

Thank you Chuck for letting me air this out. And thank you again for your good words about me. I have received a lot of messages and cards. I am doing real well. As soon as they take this 'halo' off my head, I'll be ready to get back on the saddle. I might have a little problem of convincing Donna, but she knows I long to start riding again. I miss riding with all my friends. I'm aiming for a fall return, looking to get in one more double. (I'm one short of my Triple Crown).

Have a great summer of cycling, enjoy the Gold Rush and I'll see you on the road later in the year.

The sun is shining, and I'm not working. I should be bicycling.


May 14, 2001

Today, my brother let me come to work for half a day and half of that spent on the workers asking about my accident and about this 'halo' attached to my skull. Boy, I miss work. I miss being outside, feeling the sun. My brother had to drive me back home to get me to go. I won't get to work tomorrow, as they said I can only come every other day. So tomorrow will be another boring day alone in the house.

I am happy to have you use my warning to others about driving when tired. I think my letter was to the point. I do not want anybody to be as stupid as me. I have been lucky before as I have been tired on the road many times before and it was about time I get shooked up.

When I was in the hospital, it gave me a lot of time to think. To be grateful for everything I have. I have been happy with my life, but it gives me more sympathy to people who not their fault have suffered. One of my roommates in the hospital got into a head-on accident with the other party intended on running into someone. He suffered two broken legs. I felt very lucky that I can walk. The worse part was the man who crashed into him was probably on drugs and he died, and he took his 5 years old daughter with him. Sad.

I'm very happy I didn't hurt anyone. Anyway, you can rework my letter and I hope it does some good. My bike came away very well, and my brother retrieved a couple of my Triple Crown bottles, but didn't come back with my Devil Mountain Double Jersey. Looks like I'll have to make a return, but next time my wife will be driving and we will make it a weekend. (I told her I would not drive alone any further than San Luis Obispo. She may not let me go that far.)

I am very lucky. I have a good life, great family, lots of friends and everything I really need. No wonder I am happy all time.

Have a great cycling season and it won't be long till I'll be back on the road. Happiness is enjoying a day on a bike. The fresh air and warmth of the sun, the sights and sounds of the outdoors, the great workout, the friends and new acquaintances, the stories, and the great feeling of accomplishment when the day is over.

During the week, I look forward to my Saturday rides. A weekend of bicycling makes the other days tolerable.

Happy cycling,


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