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Old 07-31-09, 04:43 PM   #1
iDevourPie
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Electric or Static Shock from Bicycle?

Hey everybody. I have had a weird thing happen to me as I rode, but I have no idea exactly what happened.

Is it possible to get zapped by a bicycle? If not, what could it have been?
I heard a loud snapping sound and a sharp sting in my ring finger, which was next to the lever on my road bike. My finger, and only my finger, swelled up really quickly and the tiny, freckle-sized spot that felt the stinging sensation turned red and leaked a bit of fluid and blood, but it didn't get inflamed like a bug bite usually does. I felt something similar in my right hand later, but the sound was a lot quieter, the pain was way less intense, and nothing swelled. In case it's relevant, the swelling went down completely in just 1 day, leaving a little freckle-sized spot flush on my skin that still hurts after 2 days.
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Old 07-31-09, 05:48 PM   #2
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That's weird. I've never gotten shocked from my bike, but I wouldn't say it's impossible. I used to do electrical projects a lot, and I have gotten shocked by some pretty high voltage capacitors, but I have never had noticeable swelling that lasted for a day.

How exactly were you holding you hands? You say your finger was "next to the lever" but that's not very specific. Do you think the spark jumped from the lever itself? Also, what were the weather conditions that day?
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Old 07-31-09, 06:36 PM   #3
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Yes, its static electricity being discharged. It happens to me after a ride on low-humidity days. I get a shock when I touch any metal parts (such as the metal handle on my front door. A bicycle moving through the air and making (or making its own) wind, insulated from the ground by its tires, could create a static electric charge on the bike. When you get off it could cause a small shock as the charge gets discharged.
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Old 07-31-09, 07:09 PM   #4
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Sounds like you got stung by a wasp.
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Old 07-31-09, 07:28 PM   #5
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BurnMyEyes, I was holding the hoods, with my index and third above the levers, the ring and pinky below/next to the levers, and the thumb wrapped around the top of the hoods.

tntyz, I've considered the wasp thing, but the loud snapping sound that accompanied the sting doesn't quite fit the wasp idea. But maybe you're right. Can a sting caused localized swelling to just one finger and disappear in a day? Also, does numbness come after a wasp sting?
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Old 07-31-09, 08:14 PM   #6
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I've never heard of, or experienced, static electricity on a bicycle. Which isn't to say that it's not possible.
Sounds like a stinging insect.
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Old 07-31-09, 08:42 PM   #7
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Is the mark facing outwards from the bike? Could it have been a stone fired out from a car tire?
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Old 08-01-09, 11:07 PM   #8
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Great question, coldfeet. The mark is pointing inwards. There weren't any cars around when I felt the sting...actually, I think the fact that the mark is on the inside of my ring finger (on the larger of the two joints) where it contacts the hood makes it unlikely that a bug hit me.
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