Me bringing up the rear behind Jim and Charlie on bike rides is still something of a novelty. They ride side by side in a paragon of practiced teamwork. I am yet the newcomer figuring out my way and so go bumpity-bumpity-bump-bumping when I only note an irregular excrescence in the pavement in the act of going over it, am prone to catching a handlebar on a pole or, as indeed occurred on Sunday, failed to notice that Charlie had de-biked to walk up a small hill (he has been in his cautious mode and therefore preferring to walk rather than ride up or down certain inclines) until I had to brake really fast to avoid an unwantedly spectacular collision.
The tip of my right brake did go into the back of him. Charlie turned to look at me jumping off my bike. I stayed quiet having, after 17 1/2 years, thoroughly learned the strategy to move on from an unexpected altercation, especially of a physical sort with Charlie, is to let it go verbally -- and otherwise -- uncommented upon, as a straightforward way of saying 'it happened and no big deal.'
I backed up a bit and then got back on my bike and started pedaling, very slowly. Charlie got back to level ground, got on his bike, and rode on to catch up with Jim.
A Tuesday afternoon ride (Charlie had the day off from school for Veterans Day) was energetic (the wind was against us for a bit), fun, free of lag from the past ride's incident, and beautiful as the mid-November northern California sunshine.