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My First Crash

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My First Crash

Old 08-25-21, 08:41 PM
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Random11
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My First Crash

I've been riding a few months short of four years and had my first crash today. Riding solo at a pretty good clip on a residential road, when I ran over a stick I didn't see in time, which caused me to hit the curb. And when I hit the curb, I went down. One fortunate thing is that I landed on the grass on the other side of the curb. No road rash. I had a dislocated finger and severely strained the ligaments in my shoulder. I pushed the dislocated finger back in place myself, and when I got home the injured shoulder looked very different from the good one, so I went to the doctor. Ligament damage and swelling, he said, and 4-6 weeks to recover. Could have been worse considering I went down at cruising speed.

I was riding my new Cervelo Caledonia that I've had for about two weeks, and the bike seems to have come through with no damage.

The whole thing happened so fast. I've read some threads here about how to fall during a crash (hold onto the bars as you go down, for example), but this happened so fast I have no idea what I did. One moment I was enjoying the ride and the next moment I was lying on the ground. What happened in between I don't know. Makes me think you can't really plan ahead for how to fall. One moment, you're riding. The next moment, you're down.
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Old 08-25-21, 09:49 PM
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sorry to hear. Crashing, however, isn't uncommon for riders. I've had more than my share.
sorry to hear of the injuries, but you did good in setting the dislocation asap, The ligament will take a bit of time.
If I may offer... if your MD has advised, or not... I recommend icing the shoulder area as frequently as you're able. Surprisingly, this will shorten your heal time considerably.
I won;t go into all the detail of how I've come to realize this... LOL!
Most commonly you'll hear of RICE, of which 'compression is not gonna work much on your shoulder. But icing will.
https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/rice-method-injuries
There's much point/counterpoint on 'icing' - your decision.
I will say that I have much experience with similar injuries, multiple ligament replacements and joint injury/separation recoveries.
In comparison to my prior use of icing (short and less frequent), every instance of longterm use of icing has resulted in shorter and stronger recovery.
...just sayin...
in any case, a speedy recovery is hoped for. ... a good sports Physical Therapist's advisement will be very helpful.
Thx
Yuri
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Old 08-25-21, 10:07 PM
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If you can walk away from a landing, it’s a good landing. If you use the airplane the next day, it’s an outstanding landing. - Brigadier General Chuck Yeager

I think the best training for preparation of a bicycle accident is to ride dirt bikes as a kid...
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Old 08-26-21, 09:04 AM
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If one is a recreational rider the chances of you "planning" how to fall are pretty much zero.
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Old 08-26-21, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
...In comparison to my prior use of icing (short and less frequent), every instance of longterm use of icing has resulted in shorter and stronger recovery...
Thanks for the advice, Yuri. My doctor did suggest icing, which I've been doing. Too early to tell if it will help with recovery, but it does make my shoulder feel better.
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Old 08-26-21, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
I think the best training for preparation of a bicycle accident is to ride dirt bikes as a kid...
Ha! Too late for me.
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Old 08-26-21, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
If one is a recreational rider the chances of you "planning" how to fall are pretty much zero.
I think it would be better to learn how to avoid accidents than to survive them. I'm pretty sure avoiding sticks will be on that list now.
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Old 08-26-21, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
I think it would be better to learn how to avoid accidents than to survive them. I'm pretty sure avoiding sticks will be on that list now.
It almost goes without saying, but I didn't see it until it was too late. It was about an inch and a half in diameter and about two feet long, so not something you'd choose to run over, but also, you'd think the bike would be able to go over it with no problem. And it probably would have been no problem if it didn't alter my line of travel to cause me to hit the curb. Maybe I should be more of a curbtender!

I've read about cases where sticks get caught in people's spokes causing a crash, so I do try to avoid them if I see them.
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Old 08-26-21, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
I think it would be better to learn how to avoid accidents than to survive them. I'm pretty sure avoiding sticks will be on that list now.
True, but you can't mitigate the risk to zero, so it's still worth anticipating what you might do if it does happen.
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Old 08-26-21, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
Thanks for the advice, Yuri. My doctor did suggest icing, which I've been doing. Too early to tell if it will help with recovery, but it does make my shoulder feel better.
great! taking a little further...
with as often as I've been in 'recovery', I 1st rented then bought a ice therapy machine. This - Ossur Cold Rush Therapy System.
one of the best purchases I've ever made...
you might be able to rent under Medicare or your insurance...
Plenty of info on ice therapy on the web/google, like here 'Best Ice Therapy Machines for Knees & Shoulders"
I found the Ossur system is great to manage temp and also a great pad for difficult areas like the the shoulder.
now always readily available for my use.. LOL!
not accident prone, just involved in quite a few activities in which injury is not uncommon, cycling being the least problematic in that sense... LOL!

as for accident avoidance, way better than figuring out how to survive a crash. With lowside, highside .endo (what you did) and every varient and combination, one almost never has time to 'plan and compensate'.
best is good riding habits - vision well ahead, not directly down in front or at the wheel... Looking ahead always alerts you to the coming conditions and considerations - best #1 avoidance technique. If riding in a group, be choosy on whom you ride behind. Their lack of attention filters down and becomes your nightmare/crash. Always consider where you're riding in a group, having an 'out' when possible. Ride steady not squirrly. A practice regimen on a nice road, practice riding the white line... improves your steadiness.
Look past the rider in front of you to determine conditions as best you're able. Use hand signals to warn of hazards, NOT shouting voice.
Develop and ALWAYS use scanning to be aware of conditions 280 around you... It's hard at first, but becomes automatic after some months ... Be Predictable in your riding style.
I avoid groups which I know the riders unpredictable and only have an inner awareness. Being aware of surroundings and movement also is a great plus, you'll enjoy the ride more, because you see more.
Given the size of the branch, you must have not been attentive (in spite of what I preach, I find myself lapsing on occasion - then give myself a mental 'slap upside the head'...).
Don;t do that! LOL! Be in the moment, in the ride.
lots more... but primary is your attention to ride...
Thx
Yuri
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Old 08-26-21, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
True, but you can't mitigate the risk to zero, so it's still worth anticipating what you might do if it does happen.
I can see being able to plan falls in a mountain bike scenario where you are constantly avoiding hazards but an accident on a leisure ride is usually on you before you can react. I know you commute so I'm sure you've acquired a lot of experience in close calls that you have figured ways to avoid them. And yes, after hitting the curb a few times I have become curbtender...lol.
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Old 08-26-21, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
I think it would be better to learn how to avoid accidents than to survive them. I'm pretty sure avoiding sticks will be on that list now.
Spend enough time in the saddle and at one point or another you're going to go down. Among people who really put in the time, I don't know of an exception.

In my case, it's probably on average once a year. Very few serious consequences, though. Probably the worst was a broken hand, about 7 years ago.
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Old 08-26-21, 04:48 PM
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Glad you are OK. I've had a few too which is why I prefer big fat tires to skinny race tires the older I get. I just don't bounce as well as I did at 25. I rolled completely over an approx. 30 lb dog once on my Surly LHT with 26X1.75 tires. Apparently neither of us got seriously injured, but he hasn't chased me anymore since.
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Old 08-26-21, 05:19 PM
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I was struck from behind by an inattentive driver. He hit my hip as he was passing, causing me to somersault over my handlebars. The bike pretty much came with me, as I was clipped in (at least for the first part of the maneuver.)
Here's what I did: I analyzed my speed, my degrees per second rotation over the bars, and distance to the pavement. This gave me everything I needed to calculate the angle at which I would strike terra firma (plus or minus 10 degrees, as I'm not particularly good with math.) I then positioned my head, shoulders, arms, and torso in such a manner as to minimize the actual angle of impact, thereby reducing the possible trauma forces my body would encounter upon landing.

Nah, I'm lying. It happened so fast all I remember is the THUD of being hit, and then lying in the middle of the road, bleeding. The woman in the car behind the offending vehicle, who witnessed my cycling gymnastics, told me what happened post-strike. Honestly, you can think about how you should fall all you want, but sometimes, things just happen so quickly you're pretty much at the mercy of physics. OTOH, one of our club riders was descending a fairly steep, curvy section of road at about 45 MPH when his front tire blew out. He knew he was going down and managed to remember to hold the bars so as not to break his collarbone. It worked - he didn't break anything, but he looked like he had played Slip'n'Slide on a giant cheese grater.
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Old 08-26-21, 05:44 PM
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I have had 3 serious crashes in my cycling career of about 25 years, and for me at least:

Crashes are a matter of when, not if.

I know people who claim to go through cat-like gyrations to limit the damage from crashes. I know a guy who claims to have TWICE flew over the handlebars and somehow ended up on his feet. That is not me. It happens WAY too fast to even think I could respond. Even if I could, I am certain it would be by instinct.
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Old 08-26-21, 06:00 PM
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I've had crashes where it seemed like every part was in slow motion. As I went over the bars I remember tucking arms in and trying to roll. The last bad one I had, the ground just flew up and slammed into my face. Go figure.
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Old 08-26-21, 06:02 PM
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Agree with the folks who say that's hard to plan or practice your falling technique.

I'm not totally sure about the "hold on to your bars" strategy. Sure, you'll save your collarbone, but what I really care about is my head. I know about tucking and rolling but depending on the direction you're headed down, that isn't always possible, And if I'm going over the bars with my head pointed down, I want my amrs out to soften the blow.

That's actually how I broke my hand - launched over the bars and prone, I put my arms out. I don't know if I would have hit my head or not, but I'll take the broken hand as a price to ensure that I don't.
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Old 08-26-21, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
OTOH, one of our club riders was descending a fairly steep, curvy section of road at about 45 MPH when his front tire blew out. He knew he was going down and managed to remember to hold the bars so as not to break his collarbone. It worked - he didn't break anything, but he looked like he had played Slip'n'Slide on a giant cheese grater.
I also always "remember" to hold the bars during high speed crashes. Or may be crash just happens so fast that there is no time to remove hands from the bars or do anything else...
Anyway, for me such falls "in the riding position" result in landing on one of the hips. And hip fractures. Right now working from home recovering from the second one...
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Old 08-27-21, 11:43 AM
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I had plenty of practice falling off mountain bikes in my youth (right up to the age of around 40 when I finally decided to stop hucking off every drop/gap in sight). I don't know if I've just been incredibly lucky or all those early mtb crashes (especially in my teens) have helped me to mitigate crash "damage" but I've never really hurt myself too badly in all these years. Having said that I can only remember falling twice on a road bike. The first was a sideways slide across the road when turning too sharply on an icy road (suffered a bit of road rash) and the other was when I ran into the back of someone who braked suddenly in a pace-line. Went over the bars but very fortunately landed on grass and walked away (or rode away to be more accurate). FWIW my strategy when going over the bars is to hold on to the bars initially and then as you rotate over the front wheel release and try to tuck and roll over. It does tend to result in the bike getting flung high into the air (and potentially crashing down on top of you if you are unlucky), but I find that preferable to letting go and doing a "Superman" onto your face! YMMV
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Old 08-27-21, 12:56 PM
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I suffered a similar shoulder injury from my first crash as an adult a few years ago (hit a chihuahua in a barrio in Phoenix at good cruising speed, age 60+). I cleaned up my act nutritionally--good food and hydration, stopped alcohol and caffeine consumption--and used ice and hot tub therapy on it. It felt fine for riding so I kept riding, but I couldn't lift and certainly couldn't lift the front wheel over obstructions for about 18 months afterwards. But I eventually got a full recovery out of it and I wish the same for you.

My bike also escaped without a scratch. I think I rolled it off the ground during the slide that hurt my shoulder and hip. I also got one scraped knuckle that still bears a scar.

On a hiking trip a few years ago, I turned around on a steep scree descent to see how my older partner (aged late 60s at the time) was doing. I turned just in time to see him trip, and witnessed the most amazing thing. He scissor-kicked in mid-fall and managed to land safely, like a cat, though not quite on his feet. As he dusted himself off, he said, "All those years of falling on the judo mat (he's a black belt) finally paid off." I agree that intensive training, as well as natural athletic ability, can lead to improved landings.
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Old 08-27-21, 02:02 PM
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Glad to hear you're Ok most importantly. I had my first road bike crash earlier this year (since I last rode road bikes in the 80's that is...) and it happens in an instant in some cases, in mine hands off relaxing upright and wind blast, crossed handle bars, on the ground bam. I was more pissed and injured pride than anything, although my shoulder and leg were scuffed up, I put the chain back on and continued my ride with blood dripping down my leg. Amazingly though, considering how scratched up my shoulder was, my jersey was hardly noticeable where it hit the ground, and it's just a cheap Alibaba replica vintage one.

I grew up BMXing and have had scars for over 35 years that are still there I crashed so much, that and skateboarding. But crashing as a 50+ is definitely a little more nerve wracking, things break easier and take longer to heal. Anyhow, stay safe and ride on!
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Old 08-27-21, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post

I know people who claim to go through cat-like gyrations to limit the damage from crashes. I know a guy who claims to have TWICE flew over the handlebars and somehow ended up on his feet. That is not me. It happens WAY too fast to even think I could respond. Even if I could, I am certain it would be by instinct.
Yeah very few of us are cat-like or Spiderman and should serve as a warning/wisdom to those who eschew helmets. To the three times in my life I went airborne during a crash, there was no figuring out which way was up or down and I hit the ground ragdoll-style.
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Old 08-29-21, 09:45 AM
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Neither here nor there…I’ve been watching the Vuelta this week. I’ve seen riders hit the deck at high speeds and they hop up and get back in the race. It’s amazing.

However, at 50 or 60 and beyond…we just don’t bounce anymore.
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Old 08-29-21, 08:26 PM
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Between biffing during track days on motorcycles or taking up dirt motorcycling in my 50’s and biffing much, much more, I kinda learned how to crash: Don’t do anything. Don’t tense up, don’t let go of the bars until on the ground. Other words, don’t try to break your fall.

In December, my wife shattered her wrist, breaking her fall on her bicycle. It’s a normal reaction, unfortunately.
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Old 08-29-21, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark View Post
I've had crashes where it seemed like every part was in slow motion. As I went over the bars I remember tucking arms in and trying to roll. The last bad one I had, the ground just flew up and slammed into my face. Go figure.
With an assortment of motocross racing and skiing crashes in my history I have had a number where everything slowed down ....and a number where it was just WACK. My theory is that if your brain has time to realize something really bad is about to happen it slows things down, if it doesn't have that1/4 second of warning things don't slow down. I always thought it would be nice to be able to turn that on manually.
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