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  1. #1
    Senior Member amor fati's Avatar
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    Two radial head fractures. How could this have been avoided?

    Almost two weeks ago now I crashed while I was riding to work. I was going down my normal route through a quiet residential area at somewhere between 15 to 20 miles per hour. Suddenly, I noticed that I could seem to feel every little bump in the road with my butt. I did a quick check to make sure my back tire hadn't gone flat. It appeared normal so I calmly went into a right turn to follow my normal route. That's when my front wheel went sideways, the bike flew off to the left and I went down on the right. I hit the pavement hard and scraped up/bruised my ankle, knee, hip, elbow and shoulder on that side. I knew right away that I had at least broken my arm on the right side. Interestingly, the x-rays showed that i had not broken my ulna, which actually made contact with the pavement, but rather the radius bone heads on both arms, presumably from trying to brake my fall. I came home with splints and slings on BOTH arms. It was absolutely ridiculous. Luckily, the orthopedic surgeon told me three days later that the radial heads set fast and that the splints/slings were unnecessary. Still, despite that fact that I'm not completely immobile, I am significantly debilitated even two weeks later.

    Anyway, sparing you anymore details, I can't wait to get back on my bike again but I am plagued with the thought that this situation could easily happen again. As soon as I could get off the pavement after the crash I went to look at my bike and noticed that my FRONT tire was completely flat indicating that I had some sort of blowout. Considering that this mechanical failure was certainly the cause of the accident (it was fine weather that morning, the pavement was dry, and the street was pothole/gravel free) I've been trying to think of how my own behavior could have lead in some way to the crash. All I have come up with is this:

    1. Ipod - I really enjoy listening to music during my commute. I listen to it at a volume level that allows me to hear pretty much everything that is going on around me on the street but, apparently, too loud to hear the fizz of a flattened tire. If I hadn't had the ipod on perhaps I would have HEARD that it was the front tire that had gone flat and hence i would not have gone into the turn knowing for sure there was something wrong with my bike. It's lookin like no more ipod for me in my riding future.

    2. Flat tire = go straight - When I felt all the bumps in the road with my butt I sensed there was something wrong with my bike, but after checking the read wheel and seeing that it looked fine I assumed I had just been imagining things. I guess the lesson is, if you SUSPECT a flat, slow down and come to a stop while going STRAIGHT. This policy seems to open the door to flat tire paranoia but, truly, my injuries are debilitating enough that this simply CAN'T happen again.

    Lastly, the culprit tire was a six month old, rarely used, always kept inside out of the sun and elements while not in use, Continental Gatorskin. I have not been physically able to take the tire off and inspect what happened. I recently put the tire on to my daily rider and saw no evidence of damage to the rim tape so I'm assuming the flat was due to something external. I ride Armadillos front and back on a bike I use to get to the surf (i.e. when I don't want to bring any tools/materials to fix flats) and I have never had a flat with this bike. However, I really don't like the way they feel on the road.

    Anybody got any opinions on how I could have avoided this accident or mitigated my injuries? Any suggestions on flat-free tires?

    Sincerely,
    Humpty Dumpty

  2. #2
    uke
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    it's easy if you let it. uke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amor fati View Post
    If I hadn't had the ipod on perhaps I would have HEARD that it was the front tire that had gone flat and hence i would not have gone into the turn knowing for sure there was something wrong with my bike.
    Or perhaps the wind in your ears would have rendered you just as deaf to the sound of the tire flattening as you were that day. Or perhaps the flat might have been completely inaudible beneath the sound of the geartrain and tires against the ground. Unless you're traveling below about 10mph in zero wind conditions, you really can't rely upon sound for any diagnosis on a bicycle. I understand the need to find a culprit after such an accident, but it seems the only way to prevents this might have been to slow down immediately when something felt funny on the bike. At least you didn't have any head injuries.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  3. #3
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    Sorry to hear about your injuries. That is rough.
    I used Continental Gatorskins years ago and stopped using them after two suspect sidewall blowouts. One on the front in good weather on a visibly clear road. Aferward, I heard several other people had similar experiences with the tires. So, other than being hyper-vigilent about equipment choice there is the pre-ride inspection.
    Also, there is less chance of crashing on a nice wide tire with low pressure. Something like a Scwalbe Marathon.

  4. #4
    uke
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    it's easy if you let it. uke's Avatar
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    ^ Wide tires are also less likely to flat. And you're less likely to be going fast when they do. And they're far more comfortable than skinny tires. If I weren't a speed weenie, I'd put 700x35s or larger on my Coda. Would definitely make for a smoother ride than the 700x28s I run.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  5. #5
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amor fati View Post
    2. Flat tire = go straight - When I felt all the bumps in the road with my butt I sensed there was something wrong with my bike, but after checking the read wheel and seeing that it looked fine I assumed I had just been imagining things. I guess the lesson is, if you SUSPECT a flat, slow down and come to a stop while going STRAIGHT. This policy seems to open the door to flat tire paranoia but, truly, my injuries are debilitating enough that this simply CAN'T happen again.
    This is your one and only answer. It is not flat paranoia. You cannot hear slow leaks, ipod or not, the first indication is the feel of the bike.

  6. #6
    Senior Member StrangeWill's Avatar
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    I would definitely not shrug off any weird behavior, especially on roads you commute on which you know how they "feel".

    Should have got off and checked and listened if you wanted to be 100% sure, not saying it's mandatory, but it helps get rid of doubts.

    Most of all, get better soon!
    Last edited by StrangeWill; 10-11-08 at 10:24 PM.

  7. #7
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    dont put your hands out when you fall. Seems simple but is hard in practice.

  8. #8
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Blowout? A blowout - whether through the sidewall or as a result of the bead pulling over the rim edge (the latter unlikely, at least with the cheap Continentals) would leave you with a tube with either a large shot-like, jagged circular tear in the tube, or a large longitudinal gash. Both would have produced a sound akin to a gunshot, and would have left obvious evidence.

    The OP does not indicate any unusual damage having occurred to either tire or tube, and I would have expected either to have been immidiately noted had it been the case. For that matter, a rapid flatting - which is what it sounds to be - would coincide with the story given.

    I'd say common sense pretty much sums this one up. If it feels funny, stop immidiately and examine your machine. It is a good thing to give the front tire a glance too before you hit the brakes as well, for if it so happens to be flatted - as in your case - you'll know to utilize the rear brake only, and refrain from steering sharply off the road.

    -Kurt
    Last edited by cudak888; 10-12-08 at 12:14 AM.

  9. #9
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Tire blow-outs are very loud; if the tire blew before the crash, even with the iPod you would've heard it. You probably would've felt a flat early as well.

    Also, I don't think a flat tire would cause the front wheel to go sideways. More likely is that while you were paying attention to the rear wheel, you hit something that turned the wheel. The tire could've gone flat at any time after the crash, too. Another possibility is that the front QR's may have been loose.

    Unfortunately, some crashes simply cannot be avoided....

  10. #10
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    Sounds like you had a slow flat on the front, which is very, very dangerous, as you unfortunately experienced. The front loses pressure, but doesn't blow out completely. You may feel something funny, but its not obvious you have flatted and keep going. Then, when you go around a corner, crash!

    I had 2 slow flats, two days in a row, on the front a couple of weeks ago and I almost crashed twice going around a corner! Its very scary to lose pressure in the front. You can ride a flat rear all day, even around corners, but just a low front will put you down quickly.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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  11. #11
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    Tire blow-outs are very loud; if the tire blew before the crash, even with the iPod you would've heard it. You probably would've felt a flat early as well.

    Also, I don't think a flat tire would cause the front wheel to go sideways. More likely is that while you were paying attention to the rear wheel, you hit something that turned the wheel. The tire could've gone flat at any time after the crash, too. Another possibility is that the front QR's may have been loose.

    Unfortunately, some crashes simply cannot be avoided....
    Actually... making a turn with a flat front tire will do exactly that... The tire rolls sideways, the metal hits the ground and the bike just slides out from under you. Not fun at all.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  12. #12
    Old Fogy
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    Where I ride, we are plagued with goat head thorns. One soon learns what a flat tire feels like.

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    I had a somewhat similar situation on my Motorcycle last year. I had an "gut feeling" my rear tire was low somewhere in the middle of Indiana (I do really long rides). About an hour into Ohio, and the steering started to feel really funny. Like it was going into a tankslapper. Because it was the steering, I assumed it was the front tire or loose steering head bearings. Being in the middle of nowhere, at dark, with drizzling rain I decided to keep going to the next town about 30 miles away.

    Big mistake. A few miles later my rear tire blew out and I was very glad for the several motorccle safety and training courses I had taken. I knew exactly what to do, but it was a wild ride getting it off into the ditch (no shoulder) The weekend was spent finding a new rear so that I could ride home on Monday.

    Moral of the story? You know your bike better than anyone. You know what things should feel like. When something feels funny, get off and investigate. Your unfortunate story only confirms that.

  14. #14
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    There are two things to talk about here, first the prevention of these kinds of flats, and second the ways to mitigate the injuries of a fall.

    For the first, several people have commented on the tire itself. I would take that to heart. Beyond that, you can put the inserts into the tire which help prevent thorns and things from flatting the tire. Checking the tire inflation at least weekly is also very important in preventing pinch flats.

    Concerning the fall itself, there are many things that can be done in falls to help prevent injuries. But some of them take practice. Note the injuries that you received were on bony parts of your body.
    Quote Originally Posted by Amor Fati
    I hit the pavement hard and scraped up/bruised my ankle, knee, hip, elbow and shoulder on that side. I knew right away that I had at least broken my arm on the right side. Interestingly, the x-rays showed that i had not broken my ulna, which actually made contact with the pavement, but rather the radius bone heads on both arms, presumably from trying to brake my fall. I came home with splints and slings on BOTH arms. It was absolutely ridiculous. Luckily, the orthopedic surgeon told me three days later that the radial heads set fast and that the splints/slings were unnecessary. Still, despite that fact that I'm not completely immobile, I am significantly debilitated even two weeks later.
    These bony parts of the body are very susceptable to injury. In parachute jump training (Fort Benning, a long time ago), we were taught to land on the soft parts of the body. In a jump, that is the balls of the feet, calf, thigh, side of the back, and roll over them. Always tuck your head and keep it from hitting the ground. Later, I took a lot of training in judo. In judo, you learn how to dissipate the shock of a fall, and minimize it. We practiced jumping over each other, and rolling once we hit the tatami mats. But again, the first thing is to tuck the chin/head into the chest. We learned that our body follows our head, and where we look is where we will hit. If we look at the point of impact, we will hit that point with the top of the body. If we look behind us, then we will roll through the fall. If we put our hand out (one hand), we can roll along the soft tissues of the body--the heel of the hand, lower arm, upper arm, shoulder muscles, and over ont our side. If being thrown, where our whole body hits the ground simultaniously, we learned to slap the ground with our whole arm to dissipate the forces just prior to our body's impact. All of this can be learned, but it takes time and effort.

    If you have no training in falling techniques, the best advice is simple to keep your hands on the bike's bars as you fall, and tuck your head. This will give you the best opportunity to dissipate the fall without breaking much. I had one such fall years ago, turning uphill on a slick road to a side road, when the bike came out from under me. I hit hard on my left side, and probably cracked a rib, but otherwise had only scraps.

    Finally, it is important to wear a helmet. Even with these techniques a head strike is very possible. I had one of those too, where I knew that my hands were on the bars, and I had tucked my head (from the injuries sustained, I was able to reproduce the fall). But because I was upside down at the time, my head hit hard. The helmet dissipated the force of the crash, and although I did receive a concussion, I'm still around to write this.

    Concerning the IPod, consider that if you are turning the volume up enough to hear it over traffic noise, you probably have it over 90 decibels. Take that setting, and listen to it in a quiet area. If it is pretty loud, then there's a good chance that over time you will be damaging your hearing. It's not possible to tell whether this was a factor in your accident, but consider this potential for long-term damage to your hearing when you decide whether to use the IPod while riding. This is a big problem with any of these types of radios-music players. Here's one article about it:

    http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/t...Pod_safety.htm

    And here's a study on the problem too:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez



    John
    Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 10-13-08 at 10:26 AM. Reason: add the paragraph on the IPod.
    John Ratliff

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by amor fati View Post
    Almost two weeks ago now I crashed while I was riding to work. I was going down my normal route through a quiet residential area at somewhere between 15 to 20 miles per hour. Suddenly, I noticed that I could seem to feel every little bump in the road with my butt. I did a quick check to make sure my back tire hadn't gone flat. It appeared normal so I calmly went into a right turn to follow my normal route. That's when my front wheel went sideways, the bike flew off to the left and I went down on the right. I hit the pavement hard and scraped up/bruised my ankle, knee, hip, elbow and shoulder on that side. I knew right away that I had at least broken my arm on the right side. Interestingly, the x-rays showed that i had not broken my ulna, which actually made contact with the pavement, but rather the radius bone heads on both arms, presumably from trying to brake my fall. I came home with splints and slings on BOTH arms. It was absolutely ridiculous. Luckily, the orthopedic surgeon told me three days later that the radial heads set fast and that the splints/slings were unnecessary. Still, despite that fact that I'm not completely immobile, I am significantly debilitated even two weeks later.
    You have my sympathies. I broke the radial head in my left arm June 7th. It surprises me that your orthopedic surgeon did not think a splint or sling was necessary; mine put me in a wrist-to-upper-arm cast for two weeks and physical therapy for several weeks after that. I have full use of my arm back now, but it still hurts a little when I extend it fully. Maybe it's an age thing (I'm 53).
    s ofereode, isses swa mg. ("That passed away, this also can.")
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  16. #16
    8speed DinoSORAs Ed Holland's Avatar
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    Ouch. Sorry to hear your troubles amor fati

    I had a very lucky escape from something similar. Unbeknown to me, the front tyre was leaking air, until part way into the ride I turned into a sharp bend and the front wheel immediately lost grip and slid across the tarmac. How it didn't go out from under me I'll never know, but I managed to stay upright. Frightening - there was no warning, nothing to feel or hear.

    I would echo the others who say if your bike feels or sounds strange, stop and check it out. Once, moments from a big downhill my bike went all wobbly. Looking for a broken spoke, flat tire etc I was horrified to see that the rear dropout had fractured from the chainstay and the rear wheel was flapping around...



    Ed
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by amor fati View Post
    Anybody got any opinions on how I could have avoided this accident or mitigated my injuries?
    Sorry to hear of your painful incident. The front tire went flat prior to the crash. That's what you felt which caused you to check the back tire. So your big mistake was not checking the front tire too. Why didn't you, out of curiosity? Then when you tried to turn on your flat tire you went down. It's easy to say you could have fallen more athletically and avoided injury but I wasn't there so who knows. I don't agree with people who say it is best to deathgrip the bike in a crash. That's a recipe for head trauma, at least a broken collarbone. OTOH, holding arms out stiffly will cause a broken collarbone as well. I do know it's better to mess up your arms and shoulders than your head. Ideally you use the hand and forearm as spring to break the fall and initiate roll onto shoulder and over. Lastly, there are flat-free tires available, but that's throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Widsith View Post
    You have my sympathies. I broke the radial head in my left arm June 7th. It surprises me that your orthopedic surgeon did not think a splint or sling was necessary; mine put me in a wrist-to-upper-arm cast for two weeks and physical therapy for several weeks after that. I have full use of my arm back now, but it still hurts a little when I extend it fully. Maybe it's an age thing (I'm 53).
    I broke both of my radial heads in 1982. They still give me some problems with specific activities. Riding a bike in a position that puts too much pressure on them still hurts. One of the reasons I am so much more comfortable on a road bike vs. mountain bike ... because I can shift positions enough so I never am limited by pain.

    As for the splints: way back then my orthopod told me the same thing: splints weren't needed for long at all. "A couple of weeks" is actually a ver short time compared to most casts for breaks. I also have this vague memory that he said they weren't really necessary for even that long to maintain the position of the broke n bone, but would help comfort for a couple of weeks. I think OP's and your ortho's advice were probably similar or the same.

    My "funny" story is that when I was first splinted, both elbows were bent in such a way I could not feed myself or take care of bodily cleanliness, if you know what I mean.

    I asked the hospital OT for some adaptive devices - like long handled eating utensils and nose picking device, and maybe some sort of wand device to wipe my rear. The doctor overheard me and decided that the angles my arms were in was not necessary and re-splinted one arm more straight and the other more bent so I could reach for things with the less bent arm (phones, food, etc. etc), and reach certain parts of my body for dressing and hygeine ... and also with the bent one, bring things to my mouth at meal time (and pick my nose!).

    To OP: work really, really hard on your PT. That break can limit your range of motion and cause lingering pain. Anything you can do to work on range of motion and strengthen the muscles, etc. around the joint will help a lot. My arms in my mid-50s give me a lot less problems than they did in my 30s and 40s and I attribute this to becoming a serious XC skier - the proper arm motion in classic and skate skiing really strengthens the tricepts which I believe really helps my elbows.

    Your Ipod had nothing to do with your accident, IMHO. Not being aware of the feel of the bike and how to handle it probably had everything to do with it... but probably more so, just bad luck. You go out in the world and do fun things and every once in a while you fall down. Definitely more dangerous in the short term to watching TV.

  19. #19
    Philologist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    As for the splints: way back then my orthopod told me the same thing: splints weren't needed for long at all. "A couple of weeks" is actually a ver short time compared to most casts for breaks. I also have this vague memory that he said they weren't really necessary for even that long to maintain the position of the broke n bone, but would help comfort for a couple of weeks. I think OP's and your ortho's advice were probably similar or the same.
    I remember mine saying that if the broken fragment of bone had gone into the elbow joint, it might have taken surgery to correct it; but since it had broken away from the joint, I just needed a cast for a couple of weeks to keep it from moving around until it had reattached itself. When he removed the cast he said that I should be careful because it wasn't completely healed yet and could break off easily again, but that he didn't like leaving a cast on an elbow any longer than absolutely necessary because the biggest problem with this sort of injury was the possibility of permanent decrease of range of motion. So he sent me straight from his office into physical therapy to start stretching and flexing exercises, with a strict warning not to put any weight or pressure on the joint. In particular, he said if I fell off my bike again, to not try to catch myself with my hands!

    The PT did wonders. When that cast first came off, I couldn't move the arm much more than when it had been in the cast. But each therapy session loosened it up a little more, and they gave me exercises to do at home too. By the time they said I didn't need to come to therapy anymore I had gotten almost all my range of motion back, and my home exercises plus normal daily activities got it all back within another month. It aches a little now after a long ride, and heavy lifting or mowing the lawn leaves it feeling sort of weak for awhile, but it's so much better that most of the time I forget all about it.

    My "funny" story is that when I was first splinted, both elbows were bent in such a way I could not feed myself or take care of bodily cleanliness, if you know what I mean.
    It was tough enough with only one arm immobilized; I can't imagine what it would be like with two! Mine was bent at a 90-degree angle and I couldn't reach out far enough to pick anything up, or inward enough to reach my face. I'm right-handed and never realized how many things I used my left hand to do. Even putting on socks and shoes was a challenge. My son cooked corn on the cob one night and I had to hold it vertically in my right hand and turn my head sideways to eat it because I couldn't get my left hand close enough to my mouth to hold it with both hands. My family thought my "cornsicle" was very amusing.

    The toughest part, though, was taking showers. The orthopedic surgeon and the nurse who put on the cast told me all sorts of horror stories about what would happen if I let it get wet, so to take a shower I had to wrap my arm from fingertips to shoulder in Saran wrap, then put a plastic shopping bag over my arm and secure it with a rubber band. Then I had to keep my arm crooked up above my head the whole time I was in the shower. I shower every morning and even a short shower was exhausting. But at least my shoulder muscles got plenty of exercise!
    s ofereode, isses swa mg. ("That passed away, this also can.")
    from Deor, in the Exeter Book (folios 100r-100v)

  20. #20
    Senior Member amor fati's Avatar
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    Hey, I just wanted to say I really appreciate everything that anyone has contributed to this thread. Sorry I haven't responded sooner but using the keyboard is not exactly easy right now. However, I have been checking back in a couple of times a day to see if anyone has posted anything new. I don't exactly feel glad that at least some other cyclists has gone through what I'm going through but I am glad to hear that you all have gotten back on your bikes OK. I am interested to know how you played out the first few weeks back on the bike as i assume another fall would be disastrous during that time period. I am glad to hear that most of you say that my ipod is probably not to blame. I really like having a bit of music in the background while I'm doing my daily ride. I am going to abandon Gatorskin tires, especially the assumption that they are "puncture-resistant". I am also going to move to a slightly wider front tire, i.e. 700x25. I will always wear my helmet now, as I happened to be the day of the accident. Though I did not sustain any head injuries I do recall tapping my helmet on the pavement after my shoulder hit. I have always been sort of on-again, off-again with the helmet (pardon the pun) but assumed it would come in handy if I had a collision with a car. I NEVER suspected my own bike would betray me to such an extent.

    For future readers of this thread I think it might be important to include the fact that the orthopedic surgeon only kept me splinted and in slings for THREE days. Since then my arms have been "free". Perhaps he did this out of pity for my state but he assured me that this bone set fast and that it was very important to keep the elbow moving as much as it could to prevent long term loss of motion. Had I been splinted for several weeks I would have physically survived thanks to my devoted girlfriend but I think I would have lost it mentally.

    If anyone has any questions about the particulars of my accident feel free to ask. I'll try to get back to you asap.

    Oh, and also, this may be the topic for a whole other thread, but can't someone make a road bicycle tire that one can have as much faith in as a car tire? I mean, I don't feel like I need to drive my car around with a tire patch kit in the trunk, but I never feel comfortable going out on my bicycle without a spare tube, some tire levers and a wrench to take my wheel off. Any thoughts?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by amor fati View Post
    I am interested to know how you played out the first few weeks back on the bike as i assume another fall would be disastrous during that time period.
    I did have another fall a couple of weeks after I started riding again, but it wasn't at all serious. I had just gotten on the bike in my (very steep) driveway and was trying to maneuver around a couple of cars parked there by walking on tip-toe while sitting on the saddle, and lost my balance. At first I instinctively started to catch myself with my left hand but realized just as it touched the ground that it was a bad idea and instead let that arm go limp and fold up under me. All that happened was that it was a little stiffer than usual that day, but the next physical therapy session cleared that right up and I didn't lose any progress in my recovery. Other than that, there were no incidents, bike-related or otherwise.

    Of course, I still had one good arm to put my weight on while riding. Since you have to be more careful with both arms, I'd suggest staying out of the drops and on top of the bars as much as possible to minimize the weight you put on them. Be sure to ask your surgeon how soon you can start riding again and what special precautions you should take. Mine let me start riding (carefully!) a week after the cast came off, or a little over three weeks after the accident. Above all, if you fall, don't try to catch yourself on your hands!

    For future readers of this thread I think it might be important to include the fact that the orthopedic surgeon only kept me splinted and in slings for THREE days. Since then my arms have been "free". Perhaps he did this out of pity for my state but he assured me that this bone set fast and that it was very important to keep the elbow moving as much as it could to prevent long term loss of motion. Had I been splinted for several weeks I would have physically survived thanks to my devoted girlfriend but I think I would have lost it mentally.
    I think the only reason my orthopedic surgeon put me in a cast for a couple of weeks was because the radius bone was moving around a lot after the accident. I didn't even realize at first that it was broken, because there was virtually no pain. So I got back on the bike and finished my ride, then went home and had lunch. But I noticed right from the start that putting any weight or pressure on the heel of my hand (leaning forward on the bars, closing doors, pushing down with my hands while getting out of a chair, etc.) caused a "popping" feeling in my elbow. It didn't hurt, but it felt (and sounded) exactly like snapping my fingers. Sometimes I could see the bone move under the skin at the elbow when this happened. I thought I had just dislocated something, so I waited till after lunch ( a couple of hours after the accident) to go to the doctor. He did an x-ray and told me I had a "proximal radius fracture" which really surprised me. The "popping" was the broken end of the bone jumping in and out of the joint. This was a Saturday and the earliest I could get an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon was Tuesday, so the regular doctor put me in a sling (no splint) for three days.

    When I saw the surgeon on Tuesday the bone was still moving around and making that popping sound. I think he put me in a cast as much to stop to keep the bone from moving at the wrist as at the elbow, because the cast immobilized my wrist as well. Even after the broken part was healed and the cast was off, it still "popped" out of the joint once more during physical therapy a couple of weeks later, though that was the last time. Now it just "cracks" once in a while like cracking a knuckle. There never was any real pain until I started physical therapy, and even then I never needed anything stronger than over-the-counter pain relievers like Advil. They kept asking me to rate my pain on a scale of one to ten, and I don't think it ever got over a four or five even during the most rigorous therapy. Most of the time it was a one or two. Now it's just a little bit sore if I stretch my arm all the way out straight.

    Oh, and also, this may be the topic for a whole other thread, but can't someone make a road bicycle tire that one can have as much faith in as a car tire? I mean, I don't feel like I need to drive my car around with a tire patch kit in the trunk, but I never feel comfortable going out on my bicycle without a spare tube, some tire levers and a wrench to take my wheel off. Any thoughts?
    Well, most of us carry already-inflated spare tires in our cars, plus the tools for removing the wheel, so it's not like we aren't prepared for flats. I'd be uncomfortable driving any distance without a good spare in the trunk. Carrying a whole spare wheel on a bike is not usually an option, hence the need for patch kits. Back in the days when car tires were skinny and had tubes, and were easier to get on and off the rim, I suspect people carried patch kits for them too.
    s ofereode, isses swa mg. ("That passed away, this also can.")
    from Deor, in the Exeter Book (folios 100r-100v)

  22. #22
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amor fati View Post
    Oh, and also, this may be the topic for a whole other thread, but can't someone make a road bicycle tire that one can have as much faith in as a car tire? I mean, I don't feel like I need to drive my car around with a tire patch kit in the trunk, but I never feel comfortable going out on my bicycle without a spare tube, some tire levers and a wrench to take my wheel off. Any thoughts?
    The only reason one has extra security with an automobile tire is the fact that balance of the vehicle is not as crucial for handling.

    Then again, combine a tire failure with a vehicle that has a center of gravity far higher then it should, and you will have problems. Look at the Ford Explorer and the Firestone Wilderness tires - there stands a poster child to this theory.

    As for durability, keep in mind the fact that the use of the auto tire makes it sensible to build it thicker (and consequently, heavier). A bike tire is little more then a scaled-down version of this, but the hazards that may puncture either tire - and consequently, the tube - remain the same size. It is a nail vs. 1/2" of rubber + a steel belt, or the same nail vs. 4mm of rubber and a Kevlar belt.

    -Kurt
    Last edited by cudak888; 10-14-08 at 10:50 AM.

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