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My Recent Wrecks - need for change, it would seem

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My Recent Wrecks - need for change, it would seem

Old 12-03-23, 11:22 PM
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Talking about not being mentally ‘with it’; I had a rather sobering experience a few weeks back on a totally flat road. Worse yet, I have ridden it a few hundred times as it’s my main arterial to gain access to several other roads. Anywho, this road has a series of 15 and 20 MPH hairpin turns which I always just cruise though after setting up. This one time, I had breezed through the first right hander and rode another 100 yards to the second and just started the second and I failed to setup for the turn and just blew straight ahead and hit the brakes before going off the other side of the road. WTF happened in that instant? Don’t recall what I was thinking about, just being shocked at blowing it. If I had gone off the road into the brush, it would have been a very low speed, uneventful crash. Have been through that set of turns about 5 times since and you better believe I snap to attention.

As a result, I am now hyper-aware on fast downhill curves to set up the corner correctly and get my weighting correct. Just hoping that I don’t space-out again in less accommodating circumstances.
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Old 12-04-23, 05:29 AM
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don't like guardrails at the bottom of fast hills with a turn. I get flashbacks to when I saw the aftermath of a motorcycle/car accident on the FDR Drive NYC, (early 1980s) where the motorcycle rider must have flown up in the air & came down on the guardrail, separating his top half from his bottom half. his lower torso was on my side pointing toward my lane, the FDR has no shoulders so we had to all move to the right lane, or drive over his feet & I could see thru the guard rail on the underside of the railing & saw the top half, with the open abdomen facing me. practically perfectly perpendicular to the railing. it had just happened & there was only 1 cop directing traffic, & no one had covered the body halves. we all rolled past in slow motion. I had a buddy w/ me who saw it too, & if he wasn't with me I would not have believed what I had just seen

haven't biked to work in a cpl years. there's this fast hill, with a turn & a guard rail at the bottom. my nightmare is some kind of conflict w/ an overpassing car which may want to go straight instead of turn & we get into a split second confusion & I wind up cut in half on this railing



rode this hill many times. one time I broke a spoke at the top of the hill. I heard a "TWANG!" but continued anyway. by time I made the turn at the bottom, the rear wheel was so far off, it started rubbing & I was stranded roadside

on another occasion, a passing car was following me, trying to pass me, on the hill, but they weren't passing me, just hanging off my left shoulder, & waited until the turn to pass me. I think, because they actually wanted to go straight. what the heck man, I'm going over the speed limit, just wait behind me. freakin cars. since then I started riding the hill smarter, taking more control of the lane

but who doesn't love speed & screaming down a hill?

doesn't help if the roads are wet


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Old 12-04-23, 06:05 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Ogsarg
From motorcycling, I learned that you should never get anywhere near your technical and equipment limitations on anything other than the track or other controlled conditions
I wouldn’t even go there on the track with 2 wheels. My mate is into bike track days and thought it was okay to push the boundaries until he eventually came off. He was relatively lucky in making a full recovery, but he couldn’t walk properly for about 6 months. He certainly changed his attitude after that. MAMILs take a lot longer to bounce back from injury than their former 20 something days.
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Old 12-04-23, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Trav1s
I know nothing about the original poster's age but make this response in light of the time I have worked with aging people and a significant stint working in hospice...

Cognitive decline is real and shows up in subtle ways that most people miss. I wonder how gradual loss of depth perception and peripheral vision might be at play. I've watched hours of training on this subject and found Teepa Snow's work to be fascinating and insightful. I'm inclined to believe that sensory decline causes us to miss things that we would have noticed and ignored or managed differently in our younger years. Add in slower response to our observations and it compounds the challenges.
I am a bit over normal retirement age, and I think it’s accurate to say that these dimensions of cognitive decline contributed to my wrecks, and that I need to factor that into how I ride going forward. Thanks for that.
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Old 12-04-23, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by marko_1111
Man I was on Marshall Road 03 November and typically ride that route out of Marshall as an extension to my daily. I'm usually on a black and more recently red Trek, but on the 3rd I was on a loaner silver Emonda.

So I've seen a couple of beautiful vintage jerseys on that road recently. Are you the guy who stopped when I pulled over with a drill bit in my rear tire? If not I think you're the other rider with the vintage jersey I admired enough to mention to my girlfriend. She remembers.

Honestly, it's the exit from the tunnel on the east side of 36 that I dread after slipping on the wash from the drainage - that never goes away after a rain - more than a couple of times.

So sorry to hear of your crash and surgery to repair, certainly on a route I myself have ridden too many times to count, and especially if that fantastic jersey is toast.

I'm a bit older myself, but unfortunately have not much advice regarding retirement of downhill racer. I'm this old and still ride Flagstaff and don't wear a helmet unless I'm doing something dangerous.

I will say I pay more attention to when I need to focus and remind myself of my best advice to everyone who might otherwise be distracted - now isn't the time to be careless.

Oh, and glad your bike's ok. I, too, have an amazing ability to protect my bikes in the event of a fall. Trouble is it's with my body. Apparently you, too.

Cheers
Thanks for your kind comments. My destroyed jersey had three big horizontal color bands, green at the top, then white, then red at the bottom. I might have been the second rider you speak of; the time of the wreck was something like one pm. My helmet was a big help on this wreck - abraded outside surface, several deep cracks going completely through the inner foam, but no headaches and no unconscious time tells me it did its job nicely. Bought a replacement Bell Stratus exactly like the damaged one a week later. I have quit Flagstaff above the amphitheater due to age. I still like Fourmile and Sunshine Canyon.
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Old 12-04-23, 02:12 PM
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75yr old here ,wrecked badly on head and right shoulder a couple of weeks ago.
I was doing about twenty mph made a sharp change of direction and over the bars I flew.
I'm wearing an adductor sling after surgery to reattach a large portion of the ball of the humerus
and a plate to stabilize a crack lower in the humerus.
I was a mile from home and must have switched off. The unnerving part is that I used to
anticipate a crash ( years of mountain biking) and try to tuck and roll.
There was none of that, just a split second of I'm coming off and splat to the tarmac and no
slide or bounce.
Several of my fellow cyclists have switched to trikes here, before that I kept saying I see an ebike in my future now it's a trike.
Things aren't the same the older you get.
Let's be careful out there.
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Old 12-04-23, 02:52 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by spokes5678
75yr old here ,wrecked badly on head and right shoulder a couple of weeks ago.
I was doing about twenty mph made a sharp change of direction and over the bars I flew.
I'm wearing an adductor sling after surgery to reattach a large portion of the ball of the humerus
and a plate to stabilize a crack lower in the humerus.
I was a mile from home and must have switched off. The unnerving part is that I used to
anticipate a crash ( years of mountain biking) and try to tuck and roll.
There was none of that, just a split second of I'm coming off and splat to the tarmac and no
slide or bounce.
Several of my fellow cyclists have switched to trikes here, before that I kept saying I see an ebike in my future now it's a trike.
Things aren't the same the older you get.
Let's be careful out there.
Do you remember all the moments of the wreck? I do remember everything that happened during my 2023 wreck, never could remember anything from 2021 wreck.
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Old 12-04-23, 05:04 PM
  #33  
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70 yo now. Been riding over 55 years. Who knows how many times I've gone down. (Didn't own a car and rode year round in Massachusetts, Michigan and in winter, wet California Bay Area into my 30s. Raced a few years. I've back off a lot. And I've changed tires to the ones that (assuming I do my part) cannot come off the rim even if they blow out completely at high speed. Well into double figures on broken bones.

With tires/wheels I trust, I now sometimes go rather fast on descents with moderate corners but the days of laid over cornering are long gone. Happy to remember the days of doing crazy fast turns with riders on both side, front and rear but just leave them as memories. Arrive at the bottom with "I could have gone faster". But "I arrived."

Last edited by 79pmooney; 12-04-23 at 05:05 PM. Reason: Posted too soon
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Old 12-05-23, 09:11 AM
  #34  
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Get your eyes checked if it hasn't been done recently. You may be developing cataracts. I had cataract surgery at age 60 as did my father. Living at altitude and being outside a lot can contribute to early development.
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Old 12-05-23, 02:03 PM
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Cycling isn’t as unforgiving of trivial mistakes as aviation -- “AS” being the key word. In either sport, spend enough time at the margins, make enough “it’ll be OK” calls, skimp on prep, never review your last flight/ride in terms of what went wrong or nearly wrong, and you start stacking the odds in favor of the house. That’s a personal call and I get it, and as long as a person’s riding solo, I respect it.

Aviation mags and now youtubers talk about stacking events, or “aligning the holes in Swiss cheese” or tumblers in a lock as they review NTSB dockets of accidents. The analyses are generally clinical and respectful to the departed, and are useful to the rest of us as they help us recognize when our day tries to go terminally pear shaped.

Cycling accidents don’t have an NTSB database, and we almost never have an emotionless analysis of the event or the things leading to it. We can only do that for our selves and our close friends, but mostly we won't. If I dumped a bike at anything other than walking speed more than once a decade … I’d have to start asking, "How do I break that chain before too many things get lined up?"as always, YMMV
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Old 12-06-23, 06:58 AM
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About five years ago, in my early 60s, I realized I was enjoying the climbs more than the descents. A recent change to disc brakes and 28 mm tires helps a little. I'm often the first one up a hill (love that feeling), but the last one down (and I'm fine with that--no competition from me). The other day on Mt Lemmon I was able to keep up with an older, stronger climber for a few miles, because he was even more cautious than I on the descents. (There's a series of rolling hills in the seven miles up to the ski area.)

We talked about the Mt Evans climb in Colorado, and agreed that we're not doing that one anymore unless the pavement above tree line is repaired. That's a horrible descent, especially for a senior.

In my mountaineering days, I tried to keep in mind a common mantra, "Getting up is optional. Getting down is not." And another, "All accidents happen on the descent." I've taken a straw poll of hiking and backcountry skiing accidents, and most happen within a mile of the car. All of mine have. You mind starts to wander toward beer and pizza, the game on TV, etc. If it happens to young people, it's probably worse with old people.

I had a high speed wobble once at Windy Point on Mt Lemmon. Talk about a Code Brown!
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Old 12-06-23, 09:15 AM
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Fortunately all my recent crashes have been lower speed. The last one on an "easy" trail in South Mountain Park here in Phx. Narrowly missing a cholla cactus landing on some rocks instead. The bike was OK. Bled pretty good by didn't need stitches. When my boss saw it the next day she said I needed "adult" supervision.

On descents, I've always been chicken. You're going faster and fall further before the impact than if you're going up.
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Old 12-06-23, 09:43 PM
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I've had four significant crashes, and all involved downhill curves. In all cases, I left myself little margin for error with high kinetic energy. Always a stackup of risks - high speed, turns, and either darkness, sand, or wet roads.

I should be like my friend Jay, who climbs like a maniac and descends like a grandma.
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Old 12-07-23, 12:37 AM
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In addition to some decline in cognitive abilities, there is often some reduction in reaction time, and when combine all this with some loss in field of vision in some cases, caution may be a good thing.
Someone mentioned use of trikes… seems like a good idea but even with a trike, descending on a hilly road with blind turns is always going to be risky. Unlike in my younger days, I’m not adversely against slowing down, especially around blind turns.
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Old 12-07-23, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by downtube42
I've had four significant crashes, and all involved downhill curves. In all cases, I left myself little margin for error with high kinetic energy. Always a stackup of risks - high speed, turns, and either darkness, sand, or wet roads.

I should be like my friend Jay, who climbs like a maniac and descends like a grandma.
Seems like a smart man!
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Old 12-07-23, 07:06 AM
  #41  
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Lately, I've been hanging back with some slow descenders on downhills. A couple of them really keep the speed down -- I wonder if they've seen bad accidents.

I would usually let off the brakes on a downhill with good sight lines and no sharp curves, hitting 40 mph or more. But the downhills at 25-30 mph are way more interesting -- I can look around a bit and enjoy the ride, instead of being laser focused on the immediate section of road surface.

~~
In the last 6 years, I've twice pinch flatted the front wheel on a newly paved, straight downhill. Each time, it was an unseen single chunk of gravel kicked out onto the road. At downhill speed, it's a pinch flat, at slower speeds, just a bump. Both times, the road was straight and I kept upright, but there's not much directional control with a front flat. The "tubeless ready" rims kept the tire beads on the rim -- good -- but there's not much steering control on a flat front tire!

Last edited by rm -rf; 12-07-23 at 07:41 AM.
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Old 12-07-23, 07:14 AM
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I gotta thank the OP and others here for the sanity check. I've always been somewhat careful on descents and haven't crashed yet, but maybe it's time for "grandma mode." The guy I rode with on Mt Lemmon the other day was doing that, I respected it.
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Old 12-07-23, 07:23 AM
  #43  
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Kinetic energy scales by the square of the speed. So fast crashes are way more damaging, and braking takes way longer. And this has to affect turns with bad traction.

This math video was extremely surprising to me. Calculating a Car Crash - Numberphile

The situation: Car A is going 70 mph, and is passed by Car B going 100 mph. At that instant, they both see the road is blocked ahead, and both brake as hard as possible. Car A just barely stops in time. How fast is Car B going when it hits the barrier? Spoiler: it's going 71 mph! Wait, what?!

Since seeing this video, I'm noticing how much more braking effort is needed and how much longer it takes to slow down on fast downhills.

Last edited by rm -rf; 12-07-23 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 12-07-23, 11:10 AM
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Fascinating. 1/2 mv^2 It’s all about v (velocity). If I had gone into that curve at 15 mph rather than 25 mph I would have had just 36% of the 25 mph energy to dissipate in the crash. Or, just 36 percent of the force to handle in the turn, completely avoiding the crash due to mellower cornering.

I learned that kinetic energy equation 48 years ago. Time to act on that old knowledge.
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Old 12-07-23, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by randallr
Fascinating. 1/2 mv^2 It’s all about v (velocity). If I had gone into that curve at 15 mph rather than 25 mph I would have had just 36% of the 25 mph energy to dissipate in the crash. Or, just 36 percent of the force to handle in the turn, completely avoiding the crash due to mellower cornering.

I learned that kinetic energy equation 48 years ago. Time to act on that old knowledge.
Yeah, that downhill blast I did (once) @ 45mph made me think just how much of a dent I'd put into the first tree I met on the way off the cliff. Twenty mph is one thing. But, that 45mph was a whole different problem.

In a car, I've been slammed into at a closing rate of ~40mph. But imagine 80mph and driving into a stone wall.

I'm so glad that my sole injuries, over the years, have been to soft tissue. Of course, some of those got torn badly. So far, at least, the old bones are still intact and the joints about what one would expect in early decrepitude. Could have been far worse, for all the adventurous days I've had in the past half century (and more) in the wilderness. Rock scrambling, cliff jumping, bodysurfing, cycling, tree swinging at ~50ft+ above the ground, ... Got the t-shirt and the hat, though.

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Old 12-07-23, 01:07 PM
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randallr is due a big thanks from the rest of us for starting this thread. Maybe some will take the info provided to heart and be scared slow(er).
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Old 12-07-23, 01:24 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by rm -rf
Kinetic energy scales by the square of the speed. So fast crashes are way more damaging, and braking takes way longer. And this has to affect turns with bad traction.

This math video was extremely surprising to me. Calculating a Car Crash - Numberphile

The situation: Car A is going 70 mph, and is passed by Car B going 100 mph. At that instant, they both see the road is blocked ahead, and both brake as hard as possible. Car A just barely stops in time. How fast is Car B going when it hits the barrier? Spoiler: it's going 71 mph! Wait, what?!

Since seeing this video, I'm noticing how much more braking effort is needed and how much longer it takes to slow down on fast downhills.
This, or a similar, video should be required in all driver training courses. What an eye opener. Thanks for posting. Wow
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Old 12-07-23, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
This, or a similar, video should be required in all driver training courses. What an eye opener. Thanks for posting. Wow
Yep. Physics 101. Kinetic energy is (mv^2)/2, so if you double your speed, you quadruple the energy that needs to be dissipated in coming to a stop. If it is a crash, that energy is dissipated doing you injury. If it is skidding to a stop, your brakes/tires. I try to remember that on fast descents. lol
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Old 12-07-23, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
don't like guardrails at the bottom of fast hills with a turn. I get flashbacks to when I saw the aftermath of a motorcycle/car accident on the FDR Drive NYC, (early 1980s) where the motorcycle rider must have flown up in the air & came down on the guardrail, separating his top half from his bottom half. his lower torso was on my side pointing toward my lane, the FDR has no shoulders so we had to all move to the right lane, or drive over his feet & I could see thru the guard rail on the underside of the railing & saw the top half, with the open abdomen facing me. practically perfectly perpendicular to the railing. it had just happened & there was only 1 cop directing traffic, & no one had covered the body halves. we all rolled past in slow motion. I had a buddy w/ me who saw it too, & if he wasn't with me I would not have believed what I had just seen

haven't biked to work in a cpl years. there's this fast hill, with a turn & a guard rail at the bottom. my nightmare is some kind of conflict w/ an overpassing car which may want to go straight instead of turn & we get into a split second confusion & I wind up cut in half on this railing



rode this hill many times. one time I broke a spoke at the top of the hill. I heard a "TWANG!" but continued anyway. by time I made the turn at the bottom, the rear wheel was so far off, it started rubbing & I was stranded roadside

on another occasion, a passing car was following me, trying to pass me, on the hill, but they weren't passing me, just hanging off my left shoulder, & waited until the turn to pass me. I think, because they actually wanted to go straight. what the heck man, I'm going over the speed limit, just wait behind me. freakin cars. since then I started riding the hill smarter, taking more control of the lane

but who doesn't love speed & screaming down a hill?

doesn't help if the roads are wet

On our mountain roads, they used to use 6x6 compressed wood beams to hold the guard railing. Lately, they have begun using steel I-beams of about the same size. And without caps ... nothing but the bare exposed beam. They have sharp edges and look to be far more dangerous if one were to run into them.

I hope to never find out.
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Old 12-13-23, 06:16 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Seattle area
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72 here. Clearly some cognitive decline, but I still ride fairly strong. No accidents in years (touch wood) even tho my riding includes some steep descents. What I learned and adhere to is the mantra = 'speed may not be my friend'. My mileage is down some in recent years, probably around 2,000mi/year, but I also stopped driving to the MUP and ride much more on public roads from my doorstep; hence = the first descent of every ride is twisty with gravel edges.
On a road kinda like this - just tilted, with gravel driveways for most residents.


Last edited by Wildwood; 12-14-23 at 11:27 AM.
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