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  1. #1
    this portrait of karma transplant's Avatar
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    crashing and keirin

    i remember reading/hearing somewhere that keirin riders are instructed to keep holding onto the handlebars if they crash... is this: (a) true and (b) a sound practice?

  2. #2
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    It's generally a sound practice. If you put your arm out, you almost guarantee yourself a broken collarbone, if not a broken wrist, etc. Plus you want to be steering for whatever steering you've got, right to the bloody end. If all you're doing is twisting the bike out of the way of someone about to T-bone you, you've done something, and you can't do anything if your hands aren't on the bars. There's also the matter that if your hands leave the bars, the bars tend to spin around and nail your top tube. For those who value their bikes above life and skin, that's a consideration. As for requiring it, it's part of general training in the Japanese keirin schools along with tumbling exercises and bump-and-steer tricks and so on, plus all the technical, training, and other stuff. There's even a small illustration showing how to fall on the banking in the keirin training book, but riders don't really take that book too seriously these days.

  3. #3
    oldsprinter oldsprinter's Avatar
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    And always fall to the right...

  4. #4
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    That's what I was told by the senior experienced racers at the track -- if you crash, hang onto your bike. It'll protect you, as long as you stay attached to it. But if you come unclipped, or let go of your bars, you're just dead meat.

    And in talking to some of the guys who have crashed, the ones who walk away with the fewest injuries do seem to be the ones who managed to stay clipped and hang onto their bars. Not a completely fool-proof formula, but it does seem to reduce the number and severity of the injuries.

    Unforunately, knowing this and being able to do it are three different things. The pattern of my injuries shows that I tend to let go of my bars, no matter how hard I try to hang on. So, you just have to do the best you can.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member classic1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by transplant
    i remember reading/hearing somewhere that keirin riders are instructed to keep holding onto the handlebars if they crash... is this: (a) true and (b) a sound practice?
    I was always taught by blokes from the old school to 'hang onto the bars and ride it into the ground' to avoid broken collarbones, broken arms/wrists and skin off the palms of the hands. This last one is a good point in Oz as gloves only offer limited protection and we often race on rough bitumen tracks.

  6. #6
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    Dammit, I wish I read this thread 2 days ago. 6 weeks out of the saddle and into a sling.

  7. #7
    oldsprinter oldsprinter's Avatar
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    I guess in reality 99% of people put their hands out. So I guess it's about trying to break your fall without breaking your hand - kinds like catching a cricket ball, move arms back as contact is made.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 11.4
    For those who value their bikes above life and skin, that's a consideration.
    I did the math in my head one day after seeing a few crashes where people were severely injured and the bikes barely scratched, and vice versa, and decided even expensive bike parts end up costing less than the deductible and out of pocket expenses of a serious injury. There's a finite amount of energy in any crash and it has to get dissipated somewhere. If it's just scraping sking and lycra it's not so bad, but if it's a high energy crash I'd rather dump as much energy as possible in the bike.

    As for requiring it, it's part of general training in the Japanese keirin schools along with tumbling exercises and bump-and-steer tricks and so on, plus all the technical, training, and other stuff. There's even a small illustration showing how to fall on the banking in the keirin training book, but riders don't really take that book too seriously these days.
    My SO was a competitive gymnast and has more than once landed on her feet after an endo, then hopped on the bike and rode away, sometimes with spectators. She made me go to adult tumbling (it's pretty fun, and in LA a lot of the evening crowd are stunt people) for about a year and I think that helped a lot with both my balance and my reactions when upside down.
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    I'll also second some sort of tumbling practice. I did Aikedo for a number of years and have managed to walk away from a 40+ mph crash with just a bunch of road rash after doing 3 front flips instead of landing on my face. Saved me some teeth! Haven't crashed on the track (yet) so I don't know how well it translates when you're strapped in though

  10. #10
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    +1 on tumbling.

    I took Judo for a while as a kid, never got above yellow, but could tumble like crazy. Before I stopped the standard run/jump/tumble exercise was to have 4-6 students stand in a row with their heads bowed (think of a bunch of kids who just got reprimanded) and have the other students run at them, jump over them, land hands first on the floor beyond them, and roll out to a trot or similar. Figure 5 or so feet vertical and perhaps 15 feet flight distance. I don't think I could do it right away now but probably with a couple years of classes!

    I started racing about when I stopped with the Judo but the idea with the classes was to impart some instinctive muscular memory and reactions when falling. I've had some spectacular crashes and think that my early Judo training has helped me significantly to avoid serious injury.

    safe landings,
    cdr

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