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Old 08-24-08, 12:37 PM   #1
speedlever
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Lessons learned

I almost hesitate to share this story because I feel pretty dumb. But if it helps someone else avoid a problem, it will be worth sharing a story that highlights a bad call on my part. I always seem to have to learn lessons in expensive and painful ways, and the trend continues.

Yesterday on a group ride, I crashed hard. Nothing broken on me (that I know of) or the bike, but I have a lot of soreness and pain to deal with. It broke my helmet and I have some pretty good sized goose eggs and abrasions, etc. Shoulder and hip are pretty painful too. I'll probably go see the doc tomorrow just to make sure I don't need further attention.

The cause of the crash was entirely my fault. I was closing on the rider in front of me and violated his wheelspace. I hooked a wheel when that rider suddenly moved over, not knowing I was there and down I went, fortunately on the grassy side of the road.

In retrospect, I should have just drug a brake to kill the closure speed and stay out of his wheelspace. But as I've done many times before (with no issues), I just eased up and moved off to one side of the rider I was closing on, just getting my front wheel inside his wheelspace while my speed bled off so I could maintain my spot in the paceline.

If you're going to get in somebody's wheelspace, make sure they know you are there. Either pass them or stay behind them, but don't get in that blind spot and expect to emerge unscathed.

Lesson learned... the hard way, of course.
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Old 08-24-08, 12:49 PM   #2
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I'm glad you broke your helmet...................



Cause it might otherwise been your head.
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Old 08-24-08, 12:53 PM   #3
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Been quoted here many times on BF "protect your front wheel!"

Every ride out I start with saying to myself "Make it home in one piece"
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Old 08-24-08, 01:41 PM   #4
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+1 on the communication. Even with a mirror there is at least one blind spot. On a multiday ride with 2500 riders, I used a little toy store horn to announce that I had pulled up behind. An and "on your left" if I was to pass (we were all atuned to the "on your left". It's a little harder in small, casual groups, because you feel a little silly, but it's better than a broken helmet.

Thanks for posting. We all need these fundamental reminders.
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Old 08-24-08, 02:05 PM   #5
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Generally you can get a free replacement helmet, or so Ihave heard. I have never broken one, but some manufacturers may/will?? replace.

Glad you seem OK.
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Old 08-24-08, 03:31 PM   #6
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Yup, I've violated the 'wheelspace' rule more than a few times. Guess I was just lucky.

Hope you recover easily.
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Old 08-24-08, 03:55 PM   #7
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Find a similar size friend and head out to the local grassy area. Riding slow, take turns bumping into each other's hips and shoulders (you can actually get to the point of leaning onto each other's shoulder and ride for a while like a pyramid) .

Then try rubbing wheels , bumping in from both sides. After a few spills, you'll learn how to react without getting taken down.
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Old 08-24-08, 04:32 PM   #8
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Thanks for the well wishes all. Unless I find out otherwise from the doc tomorrow, I'll be back on the bike ASAP. I hate it when stuff comes up that interferes with my bike riding... and conditioning. Ah well, life happens.

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Originally Posted by reiffert
Find a similar size friend and head out to the local grassy area. Riding slow, take turns bumping into each other's hips and shoulders (you can actually get to the point of leaning onto each other's shoulder and ride for a while like a pyramid) .

Then try rubbing wheels , bumping in from both sides. After a few spills, you'll learn how to react without getting taken down.
Honestly, I'm not sure I have an interest in learning to ride like this. While there may be value in bumping wheels intentionally, do the same bumping dynamics at low speed operate at 20+mph? I sure as heck don't want to do 20mph wheel bumps just to learn a new skill that I hope never to have to use. Or am I just sticking my head in the sand here?
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Old 08-24-08, 04:35 PM   #9
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Yup, I've violated the 'wheelspace' rule more than a few times. Guess I was just lucky.

Hope you recover easily.
Louis,

I've been lucky so often in this regard that I came to think nothing of it. My thinking has dramatically changed after yesterday's experience.

Ignorance is bliss, they say. Just wonder what else I'm blissfully ignorant of...
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Old 08-24-08, 04:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revolator View Post
Been quoted here many times on BF "protect your front wheel!"

Every ride out I start with saying to myself "Make it home in one piece"
Although I've never seen that particular adage before, I AM a recent convert to protecting that front wheel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojo Slim View Post
+1 on the communication. Even with a mirror there is at least one blind spot. On a multiday ride with 2500 riders, I used a little toy store horn to announce that I had pulled up behind. An and "on your left" if I was to pass (we were all atuned to the "on your left". It's a little harder in small, casual groups, because you feel a little silly, but it's better than a broken helmet.

Thanks for posting. We all need these fundamental reminders.
You're welcome. And I've got the pics to show what happens when you violate fundamental biking safety rules.

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Generally you can get a free replacement helmet, or so Ihave heard. I have never broken one, but some manufacturers may/will?? replace.

Glad you seem OK.
I figure for $30 or so for a new helmet, it's not worth the effort to get the helmet replaced. But that's an interesting story. Wonder if anyone here has had their helmet replaced after a crash?
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Old 08-24-08, 05:15 PM   #11
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First off, glad you are in one piece. I once did the same thing and ended up with a cracked rib and a concussion, found that out later that night after riding back 20 some miles from where I crashed, fortunately didn't take down the guy in front or behind me.

With respect to the helmet replacement, it all depends on the manufacturer and the type of helmet. Bell has a deal on some of their higher end helmets where you get 30% off when buying the same helmet you cracked. Most LBS know the offers and will process the discount and/or replacement.
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Old 08-24-08, 06:13 PM   #12
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Having lost a valued friend and mentor in a similar incident, I always maintain a safe following distance, just as I do when motoring. My friend struck my rear wheel 160 miles into a double century, sustaining a blow to the temple. He completed the ride, headed out for a third century, and struck another friend's rear wheel at the 220-mile mark. This time he went into a 3-week coma, then expired when moved to another hospital. He made a number of mistakes that day, and the cumulative effect was tragic. A helmet would have helped in these relatively low-speed falls against the curb. Stopping after the first fall, or at least at the 200 mile finish line, would have helped. Not drafting so closely, not trying to be so efficient, would have helped.
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Old 08-24-08, 06:53 PM   #13
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Years ago I was a bit of a hell-raiser and hugged others in group rides. Wheel touches took me down a number of times. With all the accelerations and slowdowns in group riding it's not always possible to feather the brakes lightly or quickly enough and, besides, gripping your brakes tends to make the overall group more jerky and unpredictable. Being mindful of the wheel overlap with the guy in front helps...but don't look down constantly-- better to look ahead a little past him mostly to anticipate the group "flow".

Fully agree with speedlever above that practicing "bumping" at low speeds is good. Often, it's the sudden shock and surprize and then over-reaction after contact that brings us down.

At 60, I feel more brittle and vulnerable these days and mostly avoid the dumb moves I once thought were fun. Once in a while, however...........
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Old 08-24-08, 07:01 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by speedlever View Post
Louis,

I've been lucky so often in this regard that I came to think nothing of it. My thinking has dramatically changed after yesterday's experience.

Ignorance is bliss, they say. Just wonder what else I'm blissfully ignorant of...
I'm much more careful now than I used to be, and slightly less ignorant.
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Old 08-24-08, 07:07 PM   #15
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snip

Fully agree with speedlever above that practicing "bumping" at low speeds is good. Often, it's the sudden shock and surprize and then over-reaction after contact that brings us down.

snip
Actually, I was questioning the recommendation to practice low-speed bumping and whether low speed bumping had the same dynamics as high speed bumps.

My crash happened so quickly, I'm not sure what happened although I know what caused it. I don't recall the mechanics of the fall itself. When I saw that rear wheel move over, I knew I couldn't avoid it and knew what was coming although I've never hooked a wheel before... and don't care to do it again.

I haven't ridden pacelines all that long. But I was taught to tuck in closely to the rider in front to draft. There's close... and then there's too close (wheel overlap).

I'm glad no one else went down due to my error.
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Old 08-24-08, 07:09 PM   #16
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I figure for $30 or so for a new helmet, it's not worth the effort to get the helmet replaced. But that's an interesting story. Wonder if anyone here has had their helmet replaced after a crash?[/QUOTE]



I crashed pretty hard a month ago by rubbing my front wheel against a sharp transition between the shoulder and the road. I have a bruised hip, a cracked rib, lots of road rash and a cracked helmet. I cannot imagine the blow to the head I would have had without the helmet. Anyway it was a Trek helmet and I did send it back and they replaced it no charge.
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