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Village Books’ co-owner crashes during charity ride

Chuck Robinson, co-owner of Village Books, was bicycling from Bellingham to his high school reunion in Galva, Ill., when a run-in with two dogs on Tuesday, July 21, left him with several broken ribs.
Chuck Robinson, co-owner of Village Books, was bicycling from Bellingham to his high school reunion in Galva, Ill., when a run-in with two dogs on Tuesday, July 21, left him with several broken ribs. The Bellingham Herald

Two farm dogs brought an unexpected and painful end to Chuck Robinson’s bicycle trip designed to raise money for nonprofit groups while he pedaled from Fairhaven to his 50th high-school reunion in Illinois.

Just after 9 in the morning Tuesday, July 21, Robinson, who co-owns Village Books with his wife, Dee, had ridden 17 miles along a two-lane country road on his way to Mandan, N.D., when the dogs began barking and running toward him. Robinson kept biking.

In his trip blog, Robinson describes what happened: “The next thing I knew they were between me and the right side of the road, and one was snarling as if it was about ready to lunge and bite. I kicked out with my right foot to fend off the dog.”

“Next thing I knew I was in the middle of the highway,” he said in a phone interview.

Robinson was later told one of the dogs had run into his bike, knocking him to the pavement. He was in pain, his glasses were broken, and the handlebars on his Specialized Roubaix road bike were twisted. The dogs, for their part, scampered away.

“Apparently it scared them when I went down,” Robinson said.

Dee Robinson, who has accompanied her husband driving their small motor home, was 10 miles ahead, waiting in Mandan, when the accident occurred.

Chuck Robinson, who suffered cracked ribs in a bicycle mishap two years ago, didn’t need a doctor to know that he had broken some ribs again in his fall Tuesday. A helpful driver took Robinson and his bike to Mandan, where a doctor confirmed his suspicions — he has three broken ribs and two cracked ones, along with a cut eyebrow and assorted scrapes and contusions.

Robinson, 67, was wearing a helmet, which he hasn’t scrutinized since the accident but is likely unusable.

He and Dee will continue in their motor home to her 50-year school reunion in Hastings, Neb., and to his reunion in Galva, Ill.

The Robinsons began their trip June 15 with a public send-off at Fairhaven Village Green, with some days off scheduled for rest and for business trips back to Seattle and Bellingham.

Chuck Robinson had pledged $1 per mile to three nonprofit groups: Galva Foundation for Educational Enrichment, which supports students and schools in his childhood town; Whatcom Community Foundation, which provides community grants and works with other local charitable organizations; and Book Industry Charitable Foundation, a national group that helps booksellers facing financial crises.

Other community members also pledged per-mile donations to the groups. Robinson, who had ridden 1,480 miles before the accident, hopes donors will contribute the full amount, as if he had reached Galva on two wheels.

In his blog, he said the doctor in Mandan figured each broken rib was worth 300 miles, so, combined, the ribs would push him over the top, mileage-wise.

His ribs will heal, but his bicycle adventure is over.

“I shall ride again,” Robinson said, “but not soon.”

Reach Dean Kahn at 360-715-2291 or dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com. Read his columns at bellinghamherald.com/dean-kahn.

Details online

For more about Chuck and Dee Robinson’s trip, go to villagebooks.com and click on “Chuck’s 2400-Mile Fundraiser.”

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