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Old 09-04-12, 01:39 PM   #1
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After the Fall - When the Rubber Didn't Meet the Road(Warning: Pic)

My cyclometer tells the tale: One moment I'm moving on my bike at 23 mph, and in the next I'm at zero. So does my credit card statement: a $3.50 brake cable purchase ended up costing me a few hundred dollars.

Through an installation error on my part the day before, the brake cable housing got stuck inside the brake lever mechanism, and locked the front brake against the wheel. At the time, I was traveling, on a beautiful Sunday a little over a week ago, over rough pavement on famed Mulholland Drive, in the Hollywood Hills above Los Angeles. As I touched the brakes after going over a bump the brake locked. As the bike came to a sudden halt, I found myself irresistibly and instantaneously pulled over the bars. In the next moment, I was looking up at the sky, my view blocked in part by the bike above me. And then I thudded onto the pavement.

Somehow, when I hit the road, my bike shoes unclipped themselves from my pedals. As I lay still - and conscious - on the road, my bike continued on without me for another ten yards or so.

Four months earlier a riding acquaintance had died after flipping off his bike and breaking his neck. A month ago a good friend flipped over his bars, and broke his collarbone. Those two accidents had weighed heavily on my mind, particularly the latter accident, and each time I've gone for a ride the past month, I've told myself to be careful. I hadn't flipped off my bike in at least a couple of decades. At my age, 64, I figured my bones were fragile enough to easily break in a fall, and I reminded myself at few times before and during the ride to be extra careful.

So my first thought, as I crashed onto the road, was that I'd broken my collarbone. I thought that because I'd hit awfully hard. Hard enough that I didn't want to move at first.

By now, another cyclist in my group discovered me, ascertained that I was able to talk, directed the few cars that came by around me, and got my bike off of the road. Meanwhile, I carefully tried to move my right shoulder, which seemed to take a major part of the hit. Success, and no pain. Left shoulder, check! Legs? They moved without pain. The back of my head took a hard hit, too, yet as I lifted it slowly, it felt fine. Apparently I'd come down on a steep angle, crashed onto my side and back, and in so doing managed to keep my old collarbone safe.

As the other cyclists in my group arrived, I scooted off the pavement and onto the dirt at the side of the road. "I'll call 911!" someone said.

"Do NOT call 911," I suggested. "Just let me lay here a minute, I'm feeling a little sick to my stomach." I rested a minute, then I took someone's helping and and pulled myself to my feet.

My back stung and my jersey was full of holes and spotted with blood. I had a purplish lump forming on my left leg, above the knee. My right elbow was scrapped, two lumps were forming there, and there was some bleeding. My right hip was scrapped, too, and above my hip a couple of dark bruises had already formed, no doubt due to the blood thinning medication I'm on. Some of the foam at the back of my helmet, when I looked at it, was squished a little, a testimony to the force with which I went down.

"Amazing," someone said. "You're going to be sore tomorrow, though," she added. In fact, just about everyone, all of them around my age, opined the same thing. "You are going to hurt tomorrow!"

Rather than call my wife for a ride home, I remounted my bike and pedaled off with my friends for another 20 miles of biking over the mean streets of L.A. That night I went to bed, dreading the morning. Yet, when I awoke, I felt only my usual aches and pains. Maybe I'm not as fragile as I thought.

And that installation error? It cost me a new helmet, a new iPod shuffle (it was in my jersey pocket - now it's got a dent in it's shiny exterior and it doesn't work), and of course another brake cable.

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Old 09-04-12, 01:44 PM   #2
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I'm going to state the obvious, that looks like it hurt, even though you say you don't hurt bad. I think your continued riding probably loosened things up somewhat. Man I am glad you were not hurt worse. I'll leave the smart remarks to others, karma can bite you in the butt real fast. Heal up fast and be safe.

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Old 09-04-12, 01:44 PM   #3
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Whoa! Glad you are OK, but what was the installation error that caused the accident and why didn't it prevent you from riding before and after the accident?
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Old 09-04-12, 01:59 PM   #4
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They may not hurt now- but that road rash is going to sting. The riding probably got the damage out of the muscles but still surprised you are not hurting more.

The sadist in me now but it is proven to work. That road rash and the best treatment for it is Surgical Spirit. It will sting like hell for a little while but then it will ease the soreness out of the cuts. Repeat whenever the soreness comes back and it will give relief for a few hours at a time. When putting the spirit on does not sting anymore- then change to baby oil or a Body lotion to keep the skin supple while it mends.

How do I know it works? A Sadist medical Orderly in the Marines. It also works on blisters by the way.
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Old 09-04-12, 02:34 PM   #5
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Those two black spots at the bottom look cool.
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Old 09-04-12, 03:51 PM   #6
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It looks like you took the HTFU a little too far. You must be one tough bird for that not to hurt. I would still be playing all my sympathy cards.
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Old 09-04-12, 04:01 PM   #7
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That's going to leave a mark. Wait it already did. Glad your ok.
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Old 09-04-12, 04:12 PM   #8
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That looks like a successful tuck-n-roll. Glad you're okay. Keep an eye on those bruises though. Clotting could be a problem.
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Old 09-04-12, 04:19 PM   #9
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Ouch glad it wasnt worse and they look sore.

My mum is also one for Surgical Spirit, you deserve a medal for applying it on bruises like those tho and road rash.

Take care and heal quickly and watch those devilish cables.

At least your bike didnt run over you when it kept going.
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Old 09-04-12, 05:08 PM   #10
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Sorry to hear about your friend not surviving the OTB fall. Sad Day! Glad you survived, but am a bit hurting for your inside my belly. Glad you survived and will have many miles to go. 20 miles home like that. You are Da MAN!
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Old 09-04-12, 05:09 PM   #11
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GLAD YOU R OK!
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Old 09-04-12, 05:13 PM   #12
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I feel your pain!! I had TWO separate big falls in July, both in a peloton going around 21-22 mph. The first one was a lot of strawberries on my back, elbow, hand, hip (very large) and a huge bruise and swelling on my knee. I was on the bike riding the next day.

The second fall occurred two weeks later. A girl fell directly in front of me and I went right over her. Landed directly on my back and tore the shoulder up again ;-) Two cracked helmets so they did their job and a total of around $300 in bike repairs. Two girls got run over in the second accident and both had some broken bones.

Both accidents were caused by the lead cyclist in the peloton making a sudden movement. I don't ride with them anymore.

I thought I came out of the second accident without any permanent body damage but was at the doctor today and it looks like that "hernia" the doctors always said I would get "one day" in my groin has arrived. Get to see,the surgeon next week but I'm still riding although I've cut back on my mileage some.

Sounds like you're OK but falls at speed are never fun.
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Old 09-04-12, 05:14 PM   #13
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You are a tough old bird...
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Old 09-04-12, 05:44 PM   #14
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rumrunn6 wrote:

"what was the installation error?"

I left off a little sheath the fit over the end of the cable housing, which would have kept the housing from getting sucked into the lever mechanism, and locking up the brake.
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Old 09-04-12, 05:51 PM   #15
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Ouch! That looks like a mess, but it certainly looks better on you than it would on me. Considering the speed you were going, you were quite lucky/skilled to come out without any broken bones, deeper wounds or worse.

Heal well and quickly.
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Old 09-04-12, 07:16 PM   #16
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glad you are ok..and that it wasn't worse
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Old 09-04-12, 07:17 PM   #17
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You look too beat up to have got up from the ground and said "I meant to do that". No one would have believed you - no one believed Pee Wee, either.
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Old 09-04-12, 07:21 PM   #18
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Ouch. I'm glad you're okay and able to walk away from it.

I highly recommend Tegaderm for the road rash. I used it after my last crash and the road rash was healed up in less than a week.
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Old 09-04-12, 07:36 PM   #19
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I am hurting vicariously just from looking at the picture. Glad you are able to recover quickly and apparently without any lasting damage.

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Old 09-04-12, 07:44 PM   #20
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Wow, glad you were able to make it home.
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Old 09-04-12, 07:49 PM   #21
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The gods of cycling are very pleased with your blood sacrifice and will reward you for your faithfulness. I asked just how they were going to do that and they gave me a somewhat evasive answer, but I'm sure it will be something really good.

Ive had two or three installation errors and I'm lucky they didn't kill me. For one, I can tell you never try to reuse a Shimano chain pin after you've removed it. That's a very bad idea.
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Old 09-04-12, 08:29 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icyclist View Post
rumrunn6 wrote:

"what was the installation error?"

I left off a little sheath the fit over the end of the cable housing, which would have kept the housing from getting sucked into the lever mechanism, and locking up the brake.
Sheath = ferrule?

Picture at Harris Cyclery.

Yes, I can see how leaving that out can cause problems. I had a shifter cable housing pull through a plastic ferrule and completely bind up the shifting. No more plastic ferrules for me.

Sure got a lot of road rash for want of a 12 cent part! Glad you weren't hurt any worse!

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Old 09-04-12, 11:39 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wait For Me View Post
That's going to leave a mark. Wait it already did. Glad your ok.
Not as much if you try tegaderm or those hydrocolloidal bandages. Slap 'em on for a couple weeks and wait for them to fall off on their own. Doesn't get much easier than that.
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Old 09-05-12, 05:06 AM   #24
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Oooh, that looks like it hurts. and I'm glad to see you weren't hurt badly.
I like the biker tan on your arm.
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Old 09-05-12, 07:25 AM   #25
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Your bruises look eerily similar to the ones I had last October when I fell backwards down a flight of stairs in my home just after a bike ride (was oddly but luckily still wearing my bike helmet).
Only cracked a scapula and believe my fall was caused by a herniated disc.

Interesting to think about such a small detail and how important it is to inspect every aspect of the brakes, tires and other parts of one's bike. Sounds like you did not have a ferrule on the cable, or not a very good one.
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