Riding on a dirt road, I came across an erosion cut in the road. I slowed a bit and thought I could pop my front tire over the ditch and misjudged something and ended up with the tire landing in the ditch. The result was I went over the handle bars and landed pretty hard on my left side.
So, the question, what should I have done? At this point, I'm thinking I should have walked the bike over the ditch. Second idea would be to learn to fall better. What do you do when you come upon an obstacle? How do you decide to ride over or avoid it all together?
Marin Pt. Reyes, Gary Fisher HiFi Pro, Easy Racers Gold Rush recumbent, Cannondale F600
The simple answer is to gain experience with lifting the front and rear wheels over obstacles. Start in an easy environment, such as a parking lot, and practice going over single items like curbs or logs. A search will yield lots of threads here on learning how to "bunny hop" over things. Lifting the front wheel to clear obstacles while in motion is pretty easy to learn; getting the back wheel up takes a bit more practice and is easier when your feet are attached to the pedals (clipless or toe clips). With practice you'll learn how much speed and lift you need to get over an obstacle of a given height or width.
As far as falling goes- in a sliding type of fall, you can bail off the bike and stay on your feet if you're fast enough (I'm usually not). If you're going over the handlebars, it's best to tuck and roll with the fall, rather than trying to stop yourself with your arms and hands. I rolled with a fall last weekend, jumped right back on my feet with my best "I meant to do that" look.