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Old 07-21-14, 02:41 PM   #1
jeromephone
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serious accident

on May 31 I clipped the back tire if the bike in front of me going 15mph i vaulted over and proceeded to break 7 ribs and collar bone as an added bonus I had a collapsed lung. Spent the last 7 weeks in the hosiptal. Bike is OK. I don't know if I can get back on the bike or not. I ahould be ok physically but don't know if I can get over the mental hump. Has anyone else gone through this type of accident and how did you comeback or not. As a side note helmet saved my life, and if I had been a smoker I would not have made it. I did reach my weight loss goals for the summer even without riding
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Old 07-21-14, 02:46 PM   #2
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DF Crashed Jan 11,2014..Emergency Brain Surgery March 14.

Just got a GreenSpeed GTO trike. Got in 43 miles last week my first riding since the crash.



My first ride..Just a test.

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Old 07-21-14, 02:54 PM   #3
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^ Wow. Now that's an idea.

I had a bad crash back in 2008. Mine was on a descent at about 24 MPH. Just like you, I broke several ribs, my collar bone in a couple of places, had a collapsed lung and some pretty wicked road rash.

Visiting me in the hospital, my sister quipped "Well, maybe he'll finally give up cycling after this."

My wife looked at her: "If you really think that, you don't know him very well."

I would have laughed, but with the broken ribs, it would have killed me.

But I DID have a time really letting it go on descents anymore. My crash was caused by a mechanical failure ... a blown tire from what I think was an improperly installed tube. I now "pack my own parachute" so to speak, and I check my tires often. But still ... there is that little voice back there when I get to 25-30 MPH that reminds me how sudden the fall can be and how behind every corner lurks a possible deer or other obstacle.

My descending skills have definitely improved since then, but I still struggle with the fear issue. Or is it just common sense?
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Old 07-21-14, 03:04 PM   #4
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Yes. On 7/24/14 it will be one year since the crash. The result was a 5 hr. and later a 4 hr. surgery to fuse C1 & C2. Also had surgery to repair my nose, lip, hand, etc. Came home from hospital on 8/1. By November I was back on the cross bike and road bike. A year later I am riding better than ever. Really. Best of luck with your recovery.
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Old 07-21-14, 03:19 PM   #5
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It's been 15 years since my crash.... 6 sutures and 36 stitches in my head to stop the bleeding and reattach my scalp plus, as an added bonus, a crushed T9 vertebrae. I sat in that ditch bleeding and immobile while my brother biked out and returned with the rescue guys (nearly 25 minutes). I had to be strapped down to a back board and walked out to the nearest road where the ambulance was. I had to hold my brother's t-shirt on my head with both hands for compression to slow the bleeding until rescue got to me.

I still can't bring myself to ride the technical and expert trails I used to ride. For me it's a cross between still being able to hear the sound of my head impacting the bottom of that tree trunk, and realizing I can have just as much fun with less risky style of riding.

So, yea, your choice of riding styles and mounts may change, but don't let it stop you from getting out and enjoying yourself.
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Old 07-21-14, 03:43 PM   #6
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Five years ago I endo-ed while riding with my grandson and broke both my elbows.

I think that I'm FINALLY returning to normal. In my case, the mental anxiety was far more difficult than the broken elbows. I did a bunch of sessions with a psychologist that may have helped a little but didn't really do the job.

I don't know if I pushed myself too hard to get back to riding again or if I didn't push myself hard enough. Switched to recumbents to eliminate pressure on my elbows. I can tell you that several times I drove down to the Katy Trail with Mrs. Grouch and our new Screamer tandem recumbent but wasn't able mentally to overcome my anxiety enough to ride. I've had a bunch of falls during my recovery period. They've resulted in at least 2 concussions and a broken hip. That's made me even more anxious and Mrs. Grouch isn't too happy anymore about me going out by myself either.

It's been five years but I'm finally able to ride without excessive anxiety. I can't point to any one thing that has helped me to overcome it. One thing for sure, I never completely gave up. Maybe that's it.

Ask me again how I feel this time next year.
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Old 07-21-14, 04:21 PM   #7
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I have yet to crash but I'm aware of the possibility of serious consequences for a person of 75 y.o. I pay very close attention to anything that may cause a crash. It is easy to daydream on the bike since cycling is meditative but losing track of surroundings may be deadly. To be wary I believe is the correct response so I would not try to diminish this response.
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Old 07-21-14, 04:28 PM   #8
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I have had only one truly serious crash (left crossed by motor vehicle -- overnight in the ER, double fracture of left clavicle, permanent "dueling scar" over left cheekbone, concussion), but that was 38 years ago, and I think it was much harder on my wife, who almost never rides in traffic, than it was on me.

I always maintain a generous following distance, and I am often the last person down a hill. My offroad riding is decidedly nontechnical (chicken is more accurate), and I choose my routes and travel times as carefully as possible when riding in traffic.
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Old 07-21-14, 05:16 PM   #9
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I'm recovering from a broken collarbone that needed surgery due to a cycling accident. At first I asked myself a similar question. But over time I realize accidents and misfortunes can happen at any time and any where.

The pleasures of riding my bike hugely outweigh the risks.

Good luck in your recovery.
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Old 07-21-14, 05:24 PM   #10
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I haven't crashed since I returned to riding. Crashed hard enough in my youth to severely bend the frame, but fortunately landed on my head and escaped with "only" a concussion. I wore a helmet after that (one of those padded leather strip types that were the choice of the day and probably did little good), but I was back riding in a couple of days. But I was 17. I suspect I would react much differently now.
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Old 07-21-14, 05:42 PM   #11
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I experienced a bad crash that scared me in its potential to have made me into a quadriplegic. I ended up giving up racing but once I was able I continued to ride. I just got on the bike and did it. Confronting fear is not always easy but if you want to ride then take away its power by forcing yourself. Each outing will defuse more of the fear. I will say that you won't find me riding 55 mph down mount baldy road for anywhere near a flock of geese (another story)
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Old 07-21-14, 05:52 PM   #12
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A buddy of mine broke a collarbone on a fast (40+ mph) descent two summers ago. He was a former downhill ski racer, but never really had the crazy gene, just competent. He's riding at 100% in everything but the the downhills, where he's slowed down to something a bit more age (58) appropriate.

I broke a hip 12 months ago in a crash. Generally, I'm riding stronger than at any time since I picked it up 4 years ago. Last week I hit 48 on a few descents, but I'm babying the corners a bit more.

At some point, I suspect that the joy of riding pushes fear back into the corner where it belongs. How soon and how far probably depends on the person.
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Old 07-21-14, 06:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
^ My crash was caused by a mechanical failure ... a blown tire from what I think was an improperly installed tube.
that's why I ponied up for a set of tubeless wheels and tires. about 2 weeks into my use of them I was doing 47mph down a short but very steep hill and flatted. Or should I say, "not flatted". When I got to level ground I knew something had happened and stopped and the rear tire was leaking goo but still had plenty of air. The puncture was huge and it didn't seal as well as I would have liked but it sealed enough that I didn't go down and the LBS is exchanging the tire in spite of the fact it's normal wear and tear. How's that for a good LBS and a successful use of tubeless? I do high speed descents regularly and flatting at speed is my biggest fear.
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Old 07-21-14, 06:48 PM   #14
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I only did 3 ribs but my collar bone was shattered in 5 places, and I did it 5 hours from the nearest hospital over 80mi of dirt roads after just having passed by a huge grizzly bear along the roadside. It took two ambulances to get me to the hospital after an hour's drive over rough roads while sitting up in a car after having laid on the ground for 30minutes. hah! After two months my very first ride was 32 miles. I was pleased. My titanium clavicle doesn't even light up airport security checks. Shame. After I knocked off my first ride I hardly gave it a second thought. I'm much more fixated on my last bike race where I managed to work myself into a second heart attack. I can't seem to hold myself in check very well so my issue isn't how to come back...it's how to stay at 95% of my effort instead of killing myself at 110%. Like Nike says, "Just Do It". Seriously. Don't obsess. Just go out and ride. The meta-analysis just gets in the way.
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Old 07-21-14, 07:00 PM   #15
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9/1/11 hit a big pothole at 39.8 mph (per computer). Got airborne and flew off the road into the woods, cracked my helmet on a rock, also turned out to have fractured C7. After 6 weeks, I was told I could run but not ride. That did not make sense, so I started riding again. I subsequently had surgery to remove a bone fragment that was pushing on the C7 root, but that only sidelined me for a week.
I will say it was a while before I was comfortable on fast descents, and I am still more vigilant than I used to be in those settings.
I also now keep my cell phone turned on so I can be found if off the road. When I crashed, I was not visible from the road. If I had serious head trauma and had been alone, I could be there still!
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Old 07-21-14, 07:35 PM   #16
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Thankfully I've never had a serious crash. Just my personal opinion, but despite their lack of height, I think my lowracers are safer than regular bikes, for several reasons. I'm only 13 (or less) inches off the ground, so there's no distance to fall; anything I hit, it will be feet-first; and it's impossible to touch my front wheel to someone's back tire. Sure there are drawbacks, and I neither expect nor WANT others to get one; but overall I'm pretty happy with them.

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Old 07-21-14, 08:27 PM   #17
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On the day of my eighteenth birthday, hit some gravel, went over the handlebars and knocked out my two upper front teeth. Did this in front of a girlfriend that was just about to dump me for my best friend. It was not a good eighteenth birthday. The only good thing was my bicycle, a Falcon, was not damaged.
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Old 07-21-14, 08:51 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by jeromephone View Post
on May 31 I clipped the back tire if the bike in front of me going 15mph i vaulted over and proceeded to break 7 ribs and collar bone as an added bonus I had a collapsed lung. Spent the last 7 weeks in the hosiptal. Bike is OK. I don't know if I can get back on the bike or not. I ahould be ok physically but don't know if I can get over the mental hump. Has anyone else gone through this type of accident and how did you comeback or not. As a side note helmet saved my life, and if I had been a smoker I would not have made it. I did reach my weight loss goals for the summer even without riding
From my experience no one else knows either. Serious trauma is a life changing experience. What the new life is depends on each individual. There are no wrong answers. There is only your answer for you.

No shame is not riding a bike again. No glory if you do.

As digibud says: "The meta-analysis just gets in the way."

Give it time. Your answer will come to you.

Last edited by HawkOwl; 07-21-14 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 07-21-14, 09:14 PM   #19
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I'm only 13 (or less) inches off the ground, so there's no distance to fall; anything I hit, it will be feet-first; and it's impossible to touch my front wheel to someone's back tire.
Best ad I've ever seen for bents. Sweet looking ride too. Tell us a bit about it in a separate thread, eh? Drop me a PM to alert me if you do. Thanks.
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Old 07-21-14, 09:50 PM   #20
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I did the collarbone, lung, but only 5 ribs (Good God, those hurt) about three years ago. It was right about this time of year, and I lost the rest of the season waiting for the pieces to grow back together. They did, eventually, and I was back on the bike the next Spring, slower and more cautious than before. It took a while to feel fully confident on the bike again, and I'm still SUPER careful with expansion joints. (My crash happened when I dodged a pothole at 25 mph, only to have my front wheel drop into a stripped out expansion joint. The wheel stopped cold and me and the rest of the bike flipped right over. Thank God for my helmet, which I cracked open.)

Take some time, heal, and start slow. Things get better when you can take a deep breath again without wanting to scream then pass out.

Last edited by bransom; 07-22-14 at 08:19 AM. Reason: To fix a typo
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Old 07-21-14, 10:12 PM   #21
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Yesterday a very large buss passed by me so close I could've reached out and touched it. Any closer and I could've been one of you guys talk'n about your crash (or maybe not!). I'm giving serious thought to practicing prudent caution at ALL times.
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Old 07-22-14, 06:17 AM   #22
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From my experience no one else knows either. Serious trauma is a life changing experience. What the new life is depends on each individual. There are no wrong answers. There is only your answer for you.

No shame is not riding a bike again. No glory if you do.

As digibud says: "The meta-analysis just gets in the way."

Give it time. Your answer will come to you.

Good advice. The gene I have makes me get back on the bike to know that I can. Then whatever I do after that is my call and not a result of fear. Just my way of doing it and everyone has to find their own way. It's all good.
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Old 07-22-14, 10:10 AM   #23
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Wow...
Glad all of you healed up as well as you have.
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Old 07-22-14, 10:24 AM   #24
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My crackup a year ago broke my helmet, knocked me out, and left a lot of road rash, pulled tendons, bruised muscles. My doc's take...should've broke my hip. It was 6 weeks before the STP. Aside from being sore and incredibly lucky...I really debated about riding the 204 mile two day ride, as I basically had really low miles in May though was on my 2500 mile year average. I could pick up maybe a few hundred in June. I healed slowly with a gimpy groin muscle but...I rode the STP and that was a real confidence builder. And as my friends reminded me, biking year round keeps the body in shape. That being said I really watch the descents & corners as well as at my age (59), the healing is slower. I also watch the tires as I was used to pushing them to the limit on wear.
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Old 07-22-14, 10:25 AM   #25
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Perhaps one of my Life Mottoes will be useful:

"Whatever you do;
Do it for fun, or
Do it for survival, or
Don't do it at all."

To me this applies to most everything.

In this thread you will primarily see posts from those who those who went back to cycling. The many who didn't probably don't even know Bike Forums exists.

I'm not suggesting you do or do not return to cycling. I am supporting you as you decide what is best for you.

Last edited by HawkOwl; 07-22-14 at 10:30 AM.
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