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  1. #1
    Senior Member juf2m's Avatar
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    To make a long story short, I am a newish cyclist. This is my 2nd year. I have a wonderful bike (a Lemond Reno) which was purchased for me last year by Paul (cydewaze on this forum), my boyfriend. Last year, I started with clipless pedals and fell down a couple of times, scraping my knees. Then I rode my hybrid in Toronto and had to break suddenly to avoid something that would have ruined my tires. That left me with blood gushing out of my knee.

    This year, I am living in rural MD with Paul. After falling with the pedals AGAIN this year and slicing a major wedge out of my knee, we got much better pedals and now I am a pro with them. FINALLY I thought I could move on with my goal to do 100K this year. Well, I started training in earnest 2 weeks ago. I have been making such great progress, getting stronger and beating my own distance records. I actually did 53 miles on the weekend (85K), my longest ever ride, and felt pretty good afterwards!!

    Two weeks ago, I was exhausted after doing this 13 mile loop near home. Today I did a double loop of it and felt just fine...I could have even done it a third time, but since I was going to do a more challenging ride tomorrow, I thought this would be a good warmup after my day off yesterday.

    I was on my way home and started down this nature trail, which is about half asphalt and half wooden bridges. It rained here yesterday so the path was still damp. Paul keeps telling me not to brake in the middle of a turn, so I was very careful, but I guess braking strongly even while going straight on the damp trail is a BAD idea (it's very steep). This time I didn't topple over. Oh no. I heard a hiss and thought "uh oh" as my picture went upside down. I FLEW through the air (good thing the clipless pedals are on a loose setting!) like superman and landed on my shoulder several feet from the bike. I think I even rolled over a few times from the force. I lay there in a daze for a little while. My shoulder hurt so I wondered if I had dislocated it. Fortunately not, although it hurts to put it in certain positions or to push with it. I then noticed that my knee, the one I ruined last time got RE-RUINED. Even worse this time. Blood and dirt and rocks all over it. It is torn up and hideous.

    QUESTION 1)

    How much abuse can the same patch of skin take? Can I keep wrecking it over and over?

    Anyway, I slowly got up and collected my water bottles which had fallen out of their cages and inspected the bike. The chain had fallen off, but I now know how to re-thread it so that was fine. But I discovered that the rear derailleur got bent so that when you have it on the lowest rear cassette gear it rattles like crazy against the spokes. Hopefully Paul can fix that. I rode all the way home except for the final hill because of the derailleur.

    Once home, I tried to clean out the mess, but the dirt is literally ground in and I can't get it off the wound! I have no idea what to do. I did my best, and hopefully the blood and slime will make the dirt slide off eventually. I phoned Paul and he said "maybe this sport is not for you." Which made me really sad because it's the only sport I even remotely enjoy doing!

    I am very depressed. Which brings me to question 2, the title of this thread, do you think I was just not meant for cycling? Is this a message from the cycling gods to quit before I end up in the hospital???



    Last edited by juf2m; 05-31-05 at 02:01 PM.

  2. #2
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    My girlfriend has gone through a similar experience though not quite as bad. The day she test drove her Poprad she fell because of the pedals and slightly fractured her arm. She got over that and then fell in a cyclocross race and hurt her ankle. Got over that then fell on a dirt road commuting. It seems to go on. You sound like your tough enough to take it so stick with it. Let me ask you this: Do you fear riding? I ask because I see this in my girl friend. She is afraid of gravel on the road for example like it's going to grab her and throw her off the bike, and the experienced or dumb perhaps rider like my self will just plow through it. The reality is that being afraid is more dangerous then riding forcibly. This may not be your case but at any rate I would not say that cycling is NOT for you. Thats a bit harsh. Give it more time and less injuries. Keep the rubber side down

  3. #3
    scofflaw
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    wow I'm really sorry you got hurt so bad. Do you have medical insurance? I'd think
    I'd get myself checked out. Road rash can be the equivalent of a third degree burn.
    you might need stitches.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    My wife has recently started cycling. She was cycling to work everyday. The first week she had three crashes, but she persevered. On week number four she was hit by another cyclist (his fault, he knocked her down so hard that her rear wheel popped out of the frame. Her frame was also bent. He then took off)

    She is eagerly waiting for her new frame so she can get back to cycling.

    So, to answer your question, the number is at least more than four times a month!

    Hope to see you riding soon!

  5. #5
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    I would probably have to be physically incapacitated before I gave it up. I don't think there is a limit to the amount of abuse one patch of skin can take. It may scar but hey, chicks (or dudes in your case) dig it.

    And for some background, I avoid professional medical attention for the most part because of the absurd cost. It's been several years since I've been to a doctor, I think. I actually can't remember the last time I went in. If I broke a bone, I'd go in. Short of that, I let all my injuries heal naturally. It's an incentive to stay healthy, and hence an incentive to ride. Of course, that works best if you can avoid falling.

    You seem to be having a streak of bad luck with that though. What exactly happened? Did you get a punture flat in the front tire? I've gotten my share flats flats, but it's never caused me to fall, although at high speed a sudden flat in front could certainly cause a fall. You also imply that braking somehow caused the incident, but it's not clear what you mean. Normally, I would say braking on steep hills is a good idea, so I don't really understand what happened.
    Bring the pain.

  6. #6
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    First,let's look to the injuries. Hydrogen peroxide should help get the foreign material out of the wound. Just keep putting it on and let the bubbles do their thing. If it's really bad,seek medical attention. From what you describe about your shoulder,you prolly want to go to the doctor anyway.

    As for your knees,ever consider kneepads? Seriously,some extra protective gear might be a good idea.

    For your second question,only you can decide. I Googled your bike;looks like a pretty fancy piece of kit for someone who considers themselves a newbie. Maybe you should try something less radical and work on your basic skills awhile longer. When I learned to ride a motorcycle,I started on a 200cc trail bike. I've seen plenty of folks get 750cc+ sport bikes for their first ride and then bin them because they couldn't handle the power and/or handling. Not everyone learns at the same pace. Maybe you just need to take it slower.

    Hope this helps.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes/Novato,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Brompton S6L,Dahon Speed Pro TT

  7. #7
    Senior Member juf2m's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for the replies so far!

    First of all about hydrogen peroxide. I have swabbed it thoroughly and there were bubbles, but I didn't soak it. I could do that I suppose. I did read in a magazine recently that it is bad to do that because it kills the white blood cells that do the healing. Does anyone know if that is true?

    I am in the process of immigrating here, and I do have travel insurance but it has a $250 deductible, so if I were to get stiches it would probably be less than that, so we'd have to pay the cash which we don't really have at the moment. I'll get Paul to look and see what he thinks.

    No, I am not afraid yet of riding, but if this continues, I might become overly cautious. I keep trying to be more aggressive, but at this rate I will be crawling down hills at 1mph!! I did not get a flat (although I did get one mountain biking a few weeks ago..yet another mishap I forgot to mention!) but what I think happened was that when braking the wheels locked up and because the road was damp they just slid and threw me off somehow. It all happened too quickly to figure out.

    As for the type of bike I have, it's a very sturdy bike, not at all twichy, and very comfy for riding long distances. I actually do feel quite safe on it. The reasoning behind getting it was that it is a very good quality road bike, easy to handle for a newbie like me from what we've researched. Granted it IS awfully nice for someone as new as me, but the idea was that as I get better, we won't have to spend a fortune buying upgrade bikes because this one should last me a long time. Let's hope I don't ruin the thing!!!

  8. #8
    Chronic Tai Shan ofofhy's Avatar
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    "aggressive" + "newish" = road rash

    Practice a less "aggressive" style and then move up. If in rain/wet, it's just like driving a car, you need to be a bit more cautious.
    From Craig's List: IF its a singlespeed that means----all the other parts are broken cut off and dumped...dont buy singlespeeds, the bikes will make your balls fall off

    * no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

  9. #9
    Senior Member Seanholio's Avatar
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    Hydrogen peroxide is a bad wound cleaner. While it does clean things, it also damages tissues and the white blood cells.

    The best way to clean the wound is will clean water (boiled and cooled or distilled, or a saline solution from the drug store). Use a syringe to force dirt out of the wound. Yes, it will hurt, but it will clean things out.

  10. #10
    Respect Your Hill spindog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juf2m
    I keep trying to be more aggressive, but at this rate I will be crawling down hills at 1mph!! I did not get a flat (although I did get one mountain biking a few weeks ago..yet another mishap I forgot to mention!) but what I think happened was that when braking the wheels locked up and because the road was damp they just slid and threw me off somehow. It all happened too quickly to figure out.
    Just a thought on braking downhill - don't forget that the left controls the front brakes and the right side is for the rear brakes. If you tend to get nervous and just do the "death grip squeeze" on your brakes, you will be in trouble. Locking up your front breaks on a downhill will send you over the handlebars for sure.

    Also, remember to look where you want to go. If there is soft mud, don't brake - work with it and pedal through it and keep looking forward. If you look down, that's where you are likely going

    Don't give up, I'm sure that you are having a bad luck streak. Hope your injuries get better soon.

  11. #11
    Senior Member DonD's Avatar
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    Keep the wound clean. Once it's clean, smear some bacitracin ointment on it and cover it with a clean bandage, changing it at least daily. I would not wait for the blood and slime to get the dirt out. An infected wound is a bad thing.

    - Don

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    Dont ride so aggressive until you have had more practice with the brakes and emergency steering. Practice in emergency counter steering in an large empty parking lot (maybe with jacket and knee pads on). This will be a lot more effective in emergency situations than brakes. Practice gradually increasing braking force until you get to the max - when your back wheel is about to lift off the road. Keep on riding until it kills you - at least you will die happy!

  13. #13
    Back in black cydewaze's Avatar
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    Well we just got done cleaning out the wound on Jess's knee (Jess is juf2m) and while it does look worse than last time, it's not the worse I've seen. I hosed it out with some saline wound cleaner (that spray can has some mustard to it, wow) and swabbed it down. I then applied one of those new "advanced healing" adhesive bandages to it (poor girl just got the last one off of the same knee). I think it'll heal up fine.

    The bike itself looks ok, though it took a hard hit on the drive side, and I think the hanger's bent. Gonna take it in and have it aligned since I don't have an alignment tool.

    Thanks to everyone for the kind words. This is only Jess's second season on a bike, and her progress has been absolutely impressive. She gets stronger and stronger after each ride, and I really don't want her to get discouraged.

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I've crashed many times and I still get up and continue to ride.

    Just a few examples:

    In 1997, I crashed and cracked my ribs. Two days later I was back on the bicycle again.

    In 2003, I crashed and scraped up my right elbow pretty badly, as well as scraping and bruising my legs (I was riding a loaded touring bicycle which fell on me in the process). I stood up, picked the bicycle up, and continued on a grueling 6 day tour of Wales.

    January 1, 2004, I crashed on ice and burst the bursa in my left knee. The whole leg from the knee down turned purple and swelled up. I kept riding.

    In 2004, I crashed on gravel and tore up my left knee and left shin pretty badly, similar to a burn injury (I know, I've had a bad burn injury). I rode 100 miles to get back to civilization where I could tend to it.

    I've crashed in clipless pedal related incidents several times, usually landing on my left knee (my poor left knee has taken a beating).

    But I love cycling, so I'll continue to do it.

    Incidentally ... I try to avoid "nature trails". I find them too narrow and too variable. IMO, the road is safer.

  15. #15
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by juf2m
    QUESTION 1)Which made me really sad because it's the only sport I even remotely enjoy doing!...do you think I was just not meant for cycling?
    You've answered your own question. If you enjoy cycling, find ways to do it without injuring yourself! You are obviously a bicyclist at heart. Find ways to make yourself less likely to crash or fall over. If I were you, I'd consider ditching the pedals and shoes and going to plain platform pedals. Also, ride carefully in treacherous conditions. Bicycling is worth doing for a host of reasons, and especially if you enjoy doing it! Don't let wipe outs keep you from bicycling - just find out how you can avoid wipeouts!

  16. #16
    Out of breath again. suntreader's Avatar
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    If you're crashing a whole lot, then you might want to have an expereinced cyclist ride with you and give you some tips to improve your riding technique. After all, this is supposed to be fun.

  17. #17
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    First point - Unless you find that you hate cycling DON'T QUIT otherwise there's no point even reading the rest of this post.

    Second point - if you ever contemplate quitting see the first point

    Get negative thoughts out of your head, get positive (but stay real) don't inadvertently convince yourself that you're somehow jinxed or that the cycling gods are trying to tell you to quit, that's just garbage that will pollute your head... and if you convince yourself that you're going to crash then you WILL, so don't do it.

    Lots of good advice posted hereabouts already on how to deal with staying upright i.e. slow down a little in tricky situations, maybe get some coaching from a pro or experienced coach, etc. What I could add is something that was taught to me by a flying instructor but I have found that it applies equally when operating any sort of vehichle - teach yourself to ride ahead of your bike. Constantly look ahead - both immediately ahead and further down the road/trail, and continually plan your line and also have 'what if' alternatives. I don't know if I'm explaining it right but I'm sure others will be able to find better words. I'ts about having already decided where you will be when you get there, and where you will go if X or Y happens, it requires a higher level of sustained concentration but like other aspects of training you get better at it the more you practice it.

    Last thing, try to accept that we all do the old horizontal trackstand from time to time, it's just part of the sport. You've had a bad run lately but don't let it get to you, it's nothing you can't easily fix. You're making great progress by the sound of it, and enjoying it - and that's the main thing.

    Cheers,
    Gab

  18. #18
    Senior Member Geoff326's Avatar
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    just stick with it, you'll proly regret it later if u quit
    Cannondale CAAD7

  19. #19
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Put platform pedals on the bike.
    Practice falling?
    Really..it's that the motion\energy has to be dissapated, a roll.
    One point of impact\save will be too hard for the site, like a bone break, deep inclusion.
    I love the clipped power advantage -no way I'd lose the ability to 'toss' the bike or drop it fast. I mtb mostly. A nice practice I like is to feather the rear brake and ride really slow working the resistance and learning to balance with the bike under me.
    Judo or a balance focus sport can help\be good training.

  20. #20
    I Am Online Now! G-Unit's Avatar
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    I think one thing that may help you is to put a visual aid on your bike to keep you aware of unclipping when you need to. Try putting a little sign on your stem that says "to unclip is hip" or something like that.
    I rock peas on my head but don’t call me a pea head.
    Bees on my head but don’t call me a bee head.
    Bruce Lee’s on my head but don’t call me a Lee head.
    Now please excuse me, I gots to get my tree fed.

  21. #21
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Flats.

  22. #22
    Meow! my58vw's Avatar
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    Talking the the person who has been hit twice by cars and still rides vehicularly and races you would have to fall quite a bit to quit. I see crashing as part of the sport it will happen to all of us once in a while...

    But as you get better it will happen less and less...
    Just your average club rider... :)

  23. #23
    Kelly Drive Amateur Boogs's Avatar
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    Keep it up, like others have said, but be a little more conservative. You've gotten some injuries, but cycling doesn't degrade your knees, shins, and feet like running does, and is not as injurious as many sports, so it's ultimately very healthy exercise... just stop riding like a Hell's Angel and you'll be cool.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Unit
    Try putting a little sign on your stem that says "to unclip is hip" or something like that.
    That's cute. Maybe you could make these and sell them.

  25. #25
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    You say that you are trying to be aggressive on the bike--why? Are you racing? Are you trying to keep up with more experienced cyclists? It's important, in my opinion, that you ride within YOUR comfort level, not to keep up with other cyclists who may have alot more experience and better bike handling skills.

    Take it easy. Soi Zen. Wear your helmet. Let's go riding sometime (nice and easy, my aggressive riding days are long over).

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