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  1. #1
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    My Wife has a Bad Crash -- Riding Not Worth It?

    Last Sunday, my wife and I drove to Redding California from the coast in order to ride in some warm weather. We rode along the Sacramento River Rail Trail (MUP).

    RiverTrail.jpg

    At one point she was a little ahead of me, descending a hill. I came around a curve, and found her on the ground, bloody and not moving. She was totally non-responsive at first, and I called for an ambulance. It was hard to describe to them exactly where we were, but the Garmin Edge 205 helped by giving latitude and longitude.

    She gradually recovered consciousness, but had no memory of the crash, and kept asking the same questions over and over. Her helmet was cracked.

    The ambulance got there 30 minutes later. A fire emergency truck also came, and the took the bikes back to the station. She started vomiting in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. At the hospital we found that she had one broken rib and four cracked ribs. Road rash but no other broken bones. She had bleeding on the surface of the brain, and was put in the ICU.

    In addition, when scanning the abdomen, they found a cyst on the pancreas, which will have to be removed soon.

    The bleeding on the brain stopped, and she'll make a full recovery. She was released yesterday (Tuesday), and we are home now. We'll probably exceed the deductible on her insurance, so the crash will cost us $5,900.

    ----------------

    She says she doesn't ever want to ride again. She may change her mind, but I understand how she feels.

    Right now, I'm kind of feeling that it's not worth it. When someone was killed on my regular route it didn't phase me at all, but seeing my wife bloody and unconscious on the ground makes the whole thing more real in a way you can't appreciate until it happens to you. If I didn't have a century coming up, I'd take a break.

    Have any of you thought about quitting after something like this? Did you change your mind?

    After a crash a few years ago, I was thinking about this, and a friend say "It doesn't have to be all or nothing. You might, for example, just avoid riding on dangerous roads." But what could be safer than a paved MUP, right?

    Actually, I think that the cause of my wife's crash was that the curves on a MUP are unexpectedly sharp. That is, much sharper than you ever experience on a normal road.

    She still doesn't remember the actual crash.
    Last edited by TromboneAl; 03-27-13 at 08:51 AM.
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  2. #2
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Some people shouldn't be riding, and it has little to do with competence imho. If someone says they don't feel comfortable cycling anymore I think that's it, case closed - it is foolish to argue.

    Jeez, just imagine if you pushed her to keep riding and she had another fall, you'd feel like a criminal.
    Last edited by FrenchFit; 03-27-13 at 09:02 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mustang1's Avatar
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    Glad your wife is better.

    If she is unfomfortable riding, thats ok. accidents can happen at any speed but things happen harder when travelling faster. thats why I always coast downhill and enjoy the scenery, and put effort only into uphills where it is beneficial for health reasons.

    Like someone said, it doesnt have to be all or nothing. Your wife might be comfortable on a bike just riding slower.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    I've had two heart attacks, The first while riding, the second about half hour after a twenty mile ride. I'm still at it. I ride in traffic, occasionally take lanes, but try to be real smart about it.

    Everything in life has risks. Some activities, like cycling, increase that risk. These risks are manageable, i.e. don't skip taking meds, (I no longer do) slow down for unfamiliar curves, if there is high density, high speed traffic don't take that lane, etc.

    Just some things to consider. It seems like a big decision for you two. Whatever you decide, good luck.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

  5. #5
    Older I get, faster I was con's Avatar
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    Very sorry to hear about your wife's crash. I'm glad she will be ok.

    To ride or not? No wrong answer there, they both are ok answers.

    Those of us that do activities with more than the "normal" amount of risk evaluate the risk vs reward aspect of our activity from time to time. Doing so is the intelligent approach to living. Pay no attention to anyone that gives you the "get back on the horse" analogy. Trust your wife's instincts and yours.

    Best of luck

  6. #6
    Climbing Fool terrymorse's Avatar
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    The lifelong health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks.

    Many of us have had serious injuries. Most of those have gotten back on our bikes, and are happier because of it.

    A life lived in fear is a life half lived. Ride bike!
    Managing Director, Undiscovered Country Tours

  7. #7
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    These are always tough discussions. I am keenly aware of the dangers of cycling, having lost one friend to a low-speed fall (he struck his unhelmeted head against a curb, but got up and rode another 60 miles, until he fell and hit his head a second time) and having suffered a clavicle fracture and concussion myself while commuting home in 1976. I also realize that I would probably be a hypertensive diabetic, based respectively on my mother's and father's family trees, if I followed the average American lifestyle, and I can obtain a higher rate of cardiovascular fitness through cycling than through running, because of orthopedic breakdown issues. Bicycling is the only sport I have ever truly and deeply loved, because it touches so many aspects of my life, including fitness, pleasure, transportation, environmental activism, mechanical tinkering, camaraderie, and saving money. Your wife needs to understand what caused her crash, she needs to take some time off to recover from the TBI, and then she needs to decide, without any pressure from anyone, whether cycling is right for her.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  8. #8
    Senior Member metalheart44's Avatar
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    I hope for a full recovery for your wife. Seems as if her reaction is normal after an accident with those types of injuries, but as time passes and she puts the crash in perspective, things may or may not change. In the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event, I would think avoidance of the activity that caused it is a common reaction.

  9. #9
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Praying for a full recovery....
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  10. #10
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    I've had two heart attacks, The first while riding, the second about half hour after a twenty mile ride. I'm still at it. I ride in traffic, occasionally take lanes, but try to be real smart about it.

    Everything in life has risks. Some activities, like cycling, increase that risk. These risks are manageable, i.e. don't skip taking meds, (I no longer do) slow down for unfamiliar curves, if there is high density, high speed traffic don't take that lane, etc.

    Just some things to consider. It seems like a big decision for you two. Whatever you decide, good luck.
    +1

    Life is risky.

    The way I finally came down on the issue is this. I can accept the virtual certainty of rapidly declining health (let's face it ... I'm no spring chicken, and I'm no gym rat either) and a infinitesimal risk of catastrophic injury, or I can accept the significantly reduced probability of declining health (or at least deferred) and accept a small, but more significant risk of catastrophic injury.

    I've chosen the latter. And if I were to run out and get killed on the road this afternoon, I wouldn't regret my choice.

    Even if riding a bike doesn't extend my life expectancy one second, it's made my life fuller, more experential learning experience.

    Like they say ... it's not the years, it's the miles ... and I wouldn't trade my miles for anything.

    PS: Sorry to hear about your wife's crash. This is your time to shine as the worlds most attentive husband.

    PS2: Tegaderm rocks for the road rash.

    PS3: Don't be shy about asking for pain killers for the cracked ribs. They flippin hurt.
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  11. #11
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your beloved's injuries. That is a sad day indeed. Sounds like she is competent, but speed and "who knows" caused substantial injuries. She will let you know what she is comfortable with in the future. Your support will be huge right now, but you already know that. Prayers for you indeed.
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  12. #12
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    That is a traumatic event for her. Let her heal physically, mentally and emotionally on her own and at her pace. She may not admit it but she might be riding just for you and might not enjoy cycling on her own. Let her find her way back to do what she wants.

    That said, MUPs are not that safe. There are many safer and more relaxing places to ride but you might need to drive there. That's okay if it gets your wife more comfortable riding again.

    Everyone has their own fears and it's wrong to try and judge what others should do. I mean that for other posters advice. It's your wife and should be her decision.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  13. #13
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    I just uploaded the Garmin Edge data. I never turned the Garmin off, so you see the ride, and then the bikes' trip on the fire truck to the fire station:

    CrashSiteFar.jpg

    Here is a closeup of the site of the crash:

    CrashSiteClose.jpg
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Give her time... lots of time.

    Ten days ago I knocked myself out after getting caught in a gap in the road.
    My memory starts with a small group escorting me home about .5 mile from the shunt.
    It took several days to get back on the bike as I was still dizzy. (did have an MRI)
    My left deltoid is still sore but getting better fast.

    Odd how yellow/green/blue bruises keep showing up during the first few days.


    Ribs take time to mend. DO NOT make her laugh!

    Wish you folks the best.

  15. #15
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
    The lifelong health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks.

    Many of us have had serious injuries. Most of those have gotten back on our bikes, and are happier because of it.

    A life lived in fear is a life half lived. Ride bike!
    "A life lived in fear is a life half lived."


    Wow, lots of self-serving rationalization in that statement... Nietzsche would be proud, assuming his syphilis riddled mind could have made the connection.

    Seriously, there are many health benefits cyclists enjoy for sure, but they can had in gym classes, running, mediatation ... lots of very accessible alternatives.

    Respect your spouses decision, it's her decision and not yours.

  16. #16
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    Sorry to hear about the wife's crash and injury.Perhaps help her find another activity.Hiking -bird watching comes to mind.I wouldn't even bring up the bike.If in a year or so she decides to hop on again then it was her decision.If riding starts again take the lead and slow it down.I know I speed it up at times and almost crash,saying to myself WOW that was close.Whats even worse I do it on the same trail into the same curve all the time.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    I hope your wife recovers fully.

    I do find it a bit odd that you are the one that started this thread though-
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...Off?highlight=

  18. #18
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear this TromboneAl, and hope your wife recovers completely and quickly. I dont have any wisdom to share other than it could take a while for her to feel comfortable riding again. if she can get back on the bike and ride at a moderate pace that would be great too.

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    +1 on best wishes.

    So, the turn , it was down hill into a switchback? I note, a Trombone has 2 bends like that ..

    I have a blank time spot between turning onto Cal 1 heading south from Jenner,
    on my motorcycle, and finding my self in Santa Rosa's medical hospitality.

    that was in the lower 1970's
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-27-13 at 10:55 AM.

  20. #20
    Beicwyr Hapus Gerryattrick's Avatar
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    Best wishes to your wife for a full recovery. Having had a couple of serious falls myself I know it can be difficult to get on the bike again.

    Whatever decision your wife makes will be the right one for her no matter what advice others give.

  21. #21
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    First, let me say I hope she recovers from the physical injuries fully and quickly. And, I hope both of you fully recover from the emotional trauma of the experience. It must have been one of the longest 30 minutes of your life waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

    In terms of your question about thinking about not riding after something like this, the answer is yes. Every time I go down hard I wonder if it's worth it. I know the feeling a serious concussion, not remembering what or how it happened. I also know the feeling of having to pay out of pocket expenses that aren't being covered by insurance. But for me I find that I'm a better, nicer, better adjusted person when I do ride. So, eventually I get back on the bike, sometimes with high anxiety for a bit, and start riding again. You and your wife have had very real trauma, and how you manage it will be as individual as each of you are. There is no "single right" answer in situations like these. What works for one may not work for another. My only advice (which I know you didn't solicit) is that support for whatever she decides is warranted.
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  22. #22
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    You might want to look at a tadpole recumbent for your wife at some point. Much better stability. Also more comfortable.

    As to remembering the crash.....I doubt she ever will. retrograde amnesia about the e=crash is very normal, especially after a concussive brain injury and associated bleed. It happened to my wife a couple years ago and she still doesn't remember the fall.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

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  23. #23
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Yikes. That is one sharp curve. I had a nasty crash out riding solo when I first started riding on a very similar scenario. I certainly would not even suggest she ride again. You really need to have confidence in your riding ability and after what she's endured I'm betting she'll never really enjoy riding again. It's probably just not worth it......

    My best cycling buddy was hit and almost killed by a car. No one enjoyed or got more out of riding than he did. It's taken him a couple years to work through a lot of the mental issues of being comfortable out on the road but he's back riding again. My brother has also been hit by a car, broken hip, etc. It took him a couple years to regain his confidence-especially on descents and curves.
    Ride your Ride!!

  24. #24
    Senior Member osco53's Avatar
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    http://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/index.php

    When she sleeps at night get real close to her and whisper over and over, Tadpole Trike, Recumbent Tadpole, Tadpole Trike, Recumbent Tadpole..

    I Also ride a Motorcycle, In traffic, fast, all over central Florida.
    The Odds/stats say I am 37 times more likely to crash and get hurt or killed than when In a Cager (Car).

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  25. #25
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    First, I'm very glad she'll be o.k. This is probably almost as traumatic for you as it is for her.

    Quote Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
    The lifelong health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks.

    Many of us have had serious injuries. Most of those have gotten back on our bikes, and are happier because of it.
    I think the numbers bear this out. If the choice is between sitting on the couch or riding, you're safer riding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    You might want to look at a tadpole recumbent for your wife at some point. Much better stability. Also more comfortable.
    I agree with this as well. It's certainly worth trying. At this point in my life, I like being on two wheels. I'm quite sure that at some point, I'll prefer three.

    But as other have pointed out, give it time. Let both of you heal and see where you are.

    Cheers,
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