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Old 06-08-09, 10:35 AM   #1
shmulb
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First wreck

Last Tuesday my wife and I were riding home from work. There were thunderstorms in the area and we were trying to stay ahead of them. At about the 10 mile mark (with 4 to go) we were in an area that must have had a downpour a few minutes before we got there. The roads were little rivers. Our last set of railway tracks crosses the road at a steep angle. My wife was in front and hit them at about 13-14 mph. Her bike just slid out from under her and she went down, I swerved to avoid her and went down landing on her bike. We pulled ourselves and bike off the road and looked for damage. Fortunately neither of us seemed too badly hurt, although her hip seemed swollen and her elbow was bleeding. While we were cleaning up a cop came by (a bystander thought a car had hit us and called 911). We had straightened her handle bars and the bikes seemed OK. We refused an ambulance and rode the rest of the way home (with a 3 mile uphill).Adrenalin can do wonders for your hill climbs.
Once we got home my wife looked at her side and had a massive hematoma on her hip. A few hours later she decided we better go to the hospital andf have it checked out. X-Rays showed no bone damage, just bad bruising.
I had our LBS check out our bikes and aside from bar tape on hers and some minor tweaking there was no damage.
She is still badly bruised and cannot ride yet. She went to the gym to do some weights today.
I have only a small bruise on my arm and have ridden a few times since.
Moral of the story, believe it when they say that wet roads and railway tracks are dangerous. and when the cop offers to call an ambulance, dont let the adrenaline do the talking.
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Old 06-08-09, 10:45 AM   #2
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I had something similar happen to me back in January visiting my daughter in MS. A cop was just filling his tank at a station right there and thought the van behind me had hit me too. Mine was freshly wet road from a brief shower and hit the oil spot in the road as I turned a corner. Lived on ibuprofen for a couple days.
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Old 06-08-09, 11:14 AM   #3
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I don't think health ins covers a voluntary ambulance ride.
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Old 06-08-09, 11:23 AM   #4
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Wet tracks are nasty, especially when they cross the road at an angle. Glad to hear that it's "only" bruising.

Heal fast!
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Old 06-08-09, 11:43 AM   #5
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Wet tracks are nasty, especially when they cross the road at an angle. Glad to hear that it's "only" bruising.

Heal fast!
That's what I was thinking too. You can also do some serious bike wheel damage that way too. I have some friends who won't ride one of our favorite routes because it contains a nasty, narrow angle railroad track crossing.
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Old 06-08-09, 12:19 PM   #6
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Glad you are both okay... bike crashes are not to be taken lightly!
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Old 06-08-09, 01:15 PM   #7
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Do you think your wife plans to keep riding after she's better?
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Old 06-08-09, 02:06 PM   #8
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Note to self: Remember to WALK over the tracks if it's raining.
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Old 06-08-09, 02:56 PM   #9
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You don't say how long you've been riding, but if this is your first wreck and you're 50+ then you've been either very lucky, very skilled or both! I've been riding since '68 and I've had so many wrecks and crashes I've long ago lost count.

True, wet RR crossings are slippery . . . don't think I've crashed for that reason; yet! Hope you bounce back quick and go for another 50 years without having a wreck or crash!

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Old 06-08-09, 03:09 PM   #10
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Sorry about the Accident but you know what to avoid in the future.

After a knock like this you are both going to be a bit stiff. The gym work is just like a recovery ride. It will get the joints moving again and it will ease some of the bruising- provided you treat it as recovery and not as a Training session.

Luckily- I don't cross many Railroads on my rides- but your incident has warned me for when I do come across them in the future.

And going onto UK Cures- Witch hazel for the bruises- Zinc Oxide for the abrasions- and a Tall snort of brandy. None of which work- but after the brandy- you don't care.
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Old 06-08-09, 07:10 PM   #11
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We have been riding for about 2 years now, and until now the worst "crash" was topplling over when forgetting to unclip.
My wife will definitely ride again, we have Bike Virginia in 2 weeks ! She is going swimming tommorrow and has been walking around quite a bit.
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Old 06-08-09, 08:21 PM   #12
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Glad everyone is recovering. I was fortunate to learn about wet tracks from a young man in front of me. Was on the York County Heritage Trail when the thunderstorm came. We were racing for the tunnel for shelter. Didn't make it BTW. Anyway Trail crosses from one side of tracks to other, and young guy being faster then this olde guy, hit the tracks on an angle and down he went. After some cuss words he did mention he should have known better regards wet tracks. I've since learned that heavy painted road markings are also slippery when wet. And as they discovered on the Giro d'Italia, so are cobble stones.
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Old 06-08-09, 08:42 PM   #13
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Ouch! Happy to hear you and your bride made it through without debilitating medical issues. This serves as a good reminder to the rest of us to be cautious around railroad tracks, wet or dry.

This reminds me of a crash a couple of years ago. Huge knot on my right hip, a big knot on my knot head, two black eyes (after a couple of days), and some colorful road rash for good measure.
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Old 06-09-09, 04:17 AM   #14
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I'll go to some pretty extreme lengths to only hit RR tracks at a 90degree angle. A couple of times even on busy roads I've "taken the lane" in front of a following car so I could swerve back over the tracks at the right angle. Haven't gone down yet, but I haven't done it very often when they were wet either.

Is it possible, or likely, to go down on wet tracks if you hit them at 90 degrees? Hard to see how, but I'm not sure.
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Old 06-09-09, 06:24 AM   #15
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I'll go to some pretty extreme lengths to only hit RR tracks at a 90degree angle. A couple of times even on busy roads I've "taken the lane" in front of a following car so I could swerve back over the tracks at the right angle. Haven't gone down yet, but I haven't done it very often when they were wet either.

Is it possible, or likely, to go down on wet tracks if you hit them at 90 degrees? Hard to see how, but I'm not sure.
That's always good. Even a dry track can have a big gap by the rail that might catch your wheel. 90 degrees crossing on a wet track is OK.

Another key is to be balanced on the bike, reducing the need for the tire's side traction to keep you upright.

I've seen two riders crash on wet RR tracks. One needed elbow surgery.
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Old 06-10-09, 09:44 AM   #16
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That's always good. Even a dry track can have a big gap by the rail that might catch your wheel. 90 degrees crossing on a wet track is OK.

Another key is to be balanced on the bike, reducing the need for the tire's side traction to keep you upright.

I've seen two riders crash on wet RR tracks. One needed elbow surgery.
Thats why we were not at Sundays ride. Still hoping to do the RR this Sunday. SB
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Old 06-10-09, 09:52 AM   #17
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I'ld prefer to roll over wet tracks to stepping on wet tracks though stepping over wet tracks is probably the safest. I too take tracks at a 90 degree angle. Working in a Chemical plant with tracks in almost every roadway has made me very aware of track crossing techniques and safety.

I wish your wife a very speedy recovery.
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Old 06-15-09, 07:26 AM   #18
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How did your Sunday ride go?
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Old 06-15-09, 09:57 AM   #19
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Wouldn't it be better to make a habit of getting off the bike and walking it over R.R. tracks?
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Old 06-15-09, 11:44 AM   #20
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And going onto UK Cures- Witch hazel for the bruises- Zinc Oxide for the abrasions- and a Tall snort of brandy.
Witch hazel, zinc oxide, brandy. Repeat as necessary. The brandy, not the other stuff!
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Old 06-15-09, 11:55 AM   #21
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I admire your grit to keep riding on home.

Here in Bonn, Germany the street car trains (Strassenbahnen) have deep rails cut into the street. Making the turn onto the street where our classes are held means watching out for 2 different sets of rails set flush to the pavement and crossing into the street on broad curves. Dozens of cyclists safely navigate the crossings every day but they scare me to death. A 32-mm tire can drop into the slot with ease (I know, I did an experimental test). And riding up the street requires riding parallel to the tracks next to the curb or along several 2' wide asphalt strips running down the middle. Crossing to my garage door entry is an effort in 90 degree concentration. And I haven't tried any of that in the rain, yet.

Thanks for the warning...
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