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Old 03-02-09, 07:49 PM   #1
robtown
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My first fall

I've read reports of 20mph crashes and over the handle bar flips with dread. To me, damage to the bike would be secondary to broken bones, collapsed lungs, etc.

We had a late winter snow storm - 6" in my area of Northern Virginia last night. With wind gusts in the 20's and bright sunshine I headed out this morning at about 10:30 am. I rode my cyclocross bike with studded tires and the Bionx electric assist system. While the tires help with ice the unploughed residential roads caused the bike to shimmy somewhat. Plowed but packed roads where much better.

I made it to the MUP and cruised with the wind at my back for the first mile. Unfortunately, the snow was not as pristine as it looked. Earlier traffic, or something left the foundation layer rough. Hitting one section at about 10mph I lost my balance and crashed to the left (non drive!) side. The bike took minor damage. The mirror popped off, the chain came off the crank, the left brake lever was twisted, and the handlebars were slightly misaligned.

I landed mostly on my left shoulder with hands still on the drops - my shoulder, upper arm, and neck are sore. The nice thing about winter outfits is it provides a lot of padding. My helmet smacked the MUP on the left side so it's time to retire it (it's served since 2004).

I pulled off the MUP onto a main 4 lane thoroughfare and backtracked for a couple miles. Though progress was exhausting I made it to work. The return trip tonight in 24F weather with some headwinds was full road riding.

For this 50+ guy this fall was sufficient excitement. I did get a few rep points at work for continuing my hard core riding habits.
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Old 03-02-09, 08:03 PM   #2
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Good job robtown,

I remember my days of commuting through the snow in St. Louis that the occasional fall is part of the program. And you're quite right about all the extra clothing making fine padding. Who needs air bags?

Good thing that neither you nor your bike were hurt.

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Old 03-02-09, 08:05 PM   #3
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I feel your pain........no, not really.........you're feeling it.
Sounds like it's time to break out the ibuprofen.
As a 3-season-commuter, I'm sure glad the 4th season is about over. Haven't fallen in ice/snow for a long time. Hang in there and be careful.
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Old 03-02-09, 08:08 PM   #4
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Congrats Robtown, you are now an official 4-season rider.

Don't forget to post pictures. Of the recovery pie.
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Old 03-02-09, 08:46 PM   #5
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I am impressed you even went out... sorry about the fall, but as they say "there are 2 kinds of cyclists... those who have fallen, and those who WILL fall..."

I am looking forward to a quick thaw (unlikely) so I can commute on the bike-- but it's 24 miles each way-- not something I want to do at <10mph...

train safe-
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Old 03-02-09, 08:50 PM   #6
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That sounds ouchie!!!

I nearly tombayed on Sunday, darn pedestrians acting like they own the MUP, but somehow managed to get the foot out of the pedal.

I would have fallen on concrete, but in 80 degree weather, at 2 mph. If I have to fall, I'd take that to the one you got!
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Old 03-02-09, 09:00 PM   #7
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You must have gone down quickly given that you landed with your hands still on your handlebars.

Kudos for finishing the ride, and the subsequent ride home after work. How long is your commute?
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Old 03-02-09, 09:20 PM   #8
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You must have gone down quickly given that you landed with your hands still on your handlebars.

Kudos for finishing the ride, and the subsequent ride home after work. How long is your commute?
It's about 17 miles round trip. The one-way commuting time is about 33 +/- 2 minutes pedaling time and 1-5 minutes of stops. Of course, in bad conditions (e.g. strong NW wind going home) it can take a good 45 minutes.
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Old 03-02-09, 09:23 PM   #9
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I can feel your pain because of going down myself. One positive thing about it though. You get to get a new helmet
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Old 03-02-09, 09:24 PM   #10
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Of interest to me is that you kept your hands on the handle bar. I had a 14 MPH fall in the rain in December. Of course it hurt the old body to hit that hard, but nothing broke. I found myself on the pavement with my hands still on the handle bar. I survived with only bruises and a large "strawberry" and no damage to the bike. Did it help to keep my hold on the handlebar? I do not know. What do you think?
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Old 03-02-09, 09:52 PM   #11
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Robtown,

Your next step is to enter cyclocross races. You get to do slow speed falls all the time.
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Old 03-02-09, 10:03 PM   #12
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Robtown,

Your next step is to enter cyclocross races. You get to do slow speed falls all the time.
Yes, the next step is landing in mud. They may make me remove my Bionx kit, though it would make the bike easier to carry.

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Of interest to me is that you kept your hands on the handle bar. I had a 14 MPH fall in the rain in December. Of course it hurt the old body to hit that hard, but nothing broke. I found myself on the pavement with my hands still on the handle bar. I survived with only bruises and a large "strawberry" and no damage to the bike. Did it help to keep my hold on the handlebar? I do not know. What do you think?
I'm not 100% sure I held the handlebars but I don't remember removing my hands; it happened fast and I was trying to retain control. I have read that trying to break your fall with your arms leads to broken bones so I'm thankful it was quick.

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I can feel your pain because of going down myself. One positive thing about it though. You get to get a new helmet
I've got that (or my head) covered - I tend to accumulate bike gear on Craigslist or through sales way in advance of need. I'm good for any type of jersey for years to come. The helmet's fasteners were about shot already. The only down side is that helmet had all of the reflective tape that's useful for night riding.
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Old 03-02-09, 10:50 PM   #13
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I've entertained the idea of adding an e-motor to one of my bents or uprights to use as a commuter. After they finish the rail trail paving this fall, I'll have a fully paved trail system that runs from my house to my office. Don't know how long it will be, I suspect about 13 miles or so, each way. At my speed, that would probably take me about 70 minutes. An e-motor would cut that to around 45-50, a more manageable number.
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Old 03-02-09, 11:10 PM   #14
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Glad you and the bike are okay.

I've never ridden in snow, nor fallen off a bike into it. It's hard for me to imagine riding in it.

Props to you for doing it, though, and surviving the brutal winter weather.
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Old 03-02-09, 11:28 PM   #15
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Welcome to the road-rash club, I have a seasonal membership.
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Old 03-03-09, 12:33 AM   #16
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Glad you weren't hurt robtown.
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Old 03-03-09, 04:25 AM   #17
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But: was it a club tombay event?


Glad your ok though.
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Old 03-03-09, 05:16 AM   #18
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For this 50+ guy this fall was sufficient excitement. I did get a few rep points at work for continuing my hard core riding habits.
I would say that is indeed hardcore. We got somewhere between close to 10 dowm in S. Md. and I had zero intrest in riding my bike in it!
Glad you made out okay btw.
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Old 03-03-09, 06:39 AM   #19
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I am impressed you even went out... sorry about the fall, but as they say "there are 2 kinds of cyclists... those who have fallen, and those who WILL fall..."
The problem is, everyone is in the second group, even if they're already in the first group, too.
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Old 03-03-09, 08:41 AM   #20
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Congrats Robtown, you are now an official 4-season rider.
+1 Glad you weren't seriously injured and that the bike didn't come out of it too badly.
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Old 03-03-09, 08:59 AM   #21
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You sir are a hard ass. Glad you were not injured and the bike is basically OK too.
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Old 03-03-09, 11:11 AM   #22
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Any fall that acts that quick is not a nice one. At least you can get a new helmet - so take care on choice.

Had plenty of offroad falls but not many of them caused damage to me or the bike. At least most of the landings were soft but one memorable one was on the Tandem. Front tyre blowout at 35mph and straight over. Front tyre was shredded but The only injury was to the pilot. He still doesn't know how he did it but he finished up still in the saddle but his torso twisted right round and his arms were round my neck. Couple of days later and he couldn't move. The memorable part of it was that at the bottom of the hill was a Pub. We had to call for SAG, and that pint of Guinness was fantastic while waiting for the wife.
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Old 03-03-09, 12:03 PM   #23
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Glad you and the bike are OK.

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