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I've just survived a bicycle crash

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I've just survived a bicycle crash

Old 12-18-19, 08:54 PM
  #1  
kinsler33
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I've just survived a bicycle crash

I've joined this group solely to post a safety warning. This is actually about an old Schwinn bicycle to which I added a gasoline motor, but it pertains to everyone here as well, for my speed was below 15mph and nothing involved the motor or any other alterations to the bike. Kindly bear with me:On October 21 I was riding my China-converted old Schwinn down an ordinary bumpy street. What I remember was a loud bang and I was lying in the street. Paramedics took me to the hospital, then to a bigger hospital, where they fixed my broken neck (first cervical vertabra, repaired with a 3" vertical bolt threaded up my spine, plus a broken collarbone, plus seriously stretched nerves. After four days in the hospital I've been recovering at home, living on lots of pain killers.

The bike was taken in by the local police, and it's only in the last few days that I've learned what actually happened by inspecting the bike. Witnesses said that I flew over the handlebars, and that happened because the front wheel solidly locked up at maybe 15mph. The wheel locked up because a single rivet that held the top front fender brace failed, allowing the U shaped brace to flop around and ultimately contact the tire tread. The tire wrapped the fender brace around the axle/fork junction, thus winching the brace tight against the tire tread. It's still immovable, and when I feel better I shall post some pictures.

I'm posting this to several groups, including bicycling groups which won't like it. I was wearing a bike helmet, which might or might not have saved my life: the side of the helmet was scraped away by the road surface, as was skin on my shoulder. You may be familiar with the forged-steel Schwinn fork: mine is thoroughly bent, and a pedal broke off with a piece of the crank still attached.

It saddens me, but I won't be rebuilding the bike, though the engine and the rest are okay. I'll likely be buying a lightweight motorcycle, which makes a better vehicle in general for someone my age, which is 72. I'll also be buying a lightweight bicycle to help get my strength back.

Moral: Inspect your bike every time you ride it, for any motorbike or bicycle will vibrate itself to pieces after a very short time. Until Honda and them began making better bikes in the '60's a pre-ride inspection was standard for all riders, and now I know why. Yes, mine was an old bike, but new ones aren't necessarily built so well either.
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Old 12-18-19, 08:59 PM
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Rajflyboy
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Glad you are ok. I guess we just never know when something weird will cause us to get hurt (and yes a good walk around before riding is very very smart).
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Old 12-18-19, 09:08 PM
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bpcyclist
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Wow, what a nightmare. I am very glad you survived.
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Old 12-18-19, 09:09 PM
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CliffordK
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Sorry about the accident, and it sounds like a rough time in the hospital. Hopefully ultimately you'll have a full recovery.

I think the point is to pay attention to rattles and whatnot. Perhaps an issue with the motorized bike is that they make heck of a racket, which could easily have masked the issue as it was developing.

Locking up the rear wheel is uncomfortable, but generally something that can be recovered from. You discovered what happen when you lock up the front wheel.
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Old 12-18-19, 10:22 PM
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Congratulations on surviving and doubly so for the willingness to get back on. Good luck and heal fast!
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Old 12-19-19, 03:55 AM
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canklecat
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Yikes. Best wishes with your recovery. Been there. My C1 and C2 were damaged when I was hit by a car 18 years ago, and reinjured last year when I was hit again. It's a difficult recovery and takes lots of physical therapy, massage and stretching every day.

I'm very wary of fenders and removed them from my errand bike until I replace the mounts with break-away mounts. But I might just skip that and try clip on plastic mud guards. A friend uses those on his commuter bike and says they work well.
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Old 12-19-19, 05:09 AM
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bampilot06
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thanks for the post. hope you make a speedy recovery.
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Old 12-19-19, 05:43 AM
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livedarklions
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Good reminder. It's always tempting to ignore a rattling fender on a bike because it seems like a minor annoyance. I find a brake and connection check is mandatory before a ride, and really only takes about thirty seconds. Especially important to check the bolts on racks. They can be fine for years and then mysteriously shake loose.

Glad you survived and thanks for the reminder.

I think you're making the right choice not going back to the Schwinn. I think it's a bad risk to retrofit a gasoline engine to a bike that was never designed for it.
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Old 12-19-19, 06:38 AM
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I think most (all?) current fenders come with breakaway stays on the front. Even with that I'm never really comfortable riding my full fender bike. Sounds as if the clip on type might be a good choice. I agree that if you need a motor, gas or electric, go all the way.

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Old 12-19-19, 06:50 AM
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Happened to me once, almost the exact same thing. I was going slower than 15 mph, but still had enough speed to fly over the bars and land on my shoulder. I was wearing a helmet. I got a bit of road rash and a separated shoulder. It was a combination of loose stay with aggressive cx tires that had treads sticking out the side that caught the stay.

Glad you survived. Live and learn.
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Old 12-19-19, 08:26 AM
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I am sorry to hear of your crash. I have only crashed a couple of times in the last 45 years of cycling. It is NEVER painless! Even the benign road rash hurts . The worst I ever had was a face plant at 12mph which resulted in 5 broken facial bones and a broken left hand . I had a helmet on and was fortunate it wasn't worse. The hardest part , for me , was the 10-12 weeks off my bike, Joe joesvintageroadbikes.wordpress
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Old 12-19-19, 09:26 AM
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This reminds me of the safety issue with cantilever brakes, which were particularly popular on mountain bikes and touring bikes of the 1980s.

The reflector bracket acted as a catch arm, but many people either took them off or left them off when they came loose - this left a potential time bomb in place; if the main brake cable snapped, the short relay cable joining the brake cantilevers dropped onto the tyre, stopping the wheel dead.

Anyone using cantilever brakes must ensure there are catch arms mounted, such as the stock reflector brackets.

Here's an example of someone who's fate lies with a crushed cable and an M6 nut. If that fails, brake failure will be the least of the rider's problems - and fast.


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Old 12-19-19, 09:51 AM
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^^fear mongering at its finest^^
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Old 12-19-19, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
^^fear mongering at its finest^^

What the hell would you have to do to a bike to get the front brake cable to snap? Use catgut?
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Old 12-19-19, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeyMK View Post
Here's an example of someone who's fate lies with a crushed cable and an M6 nut. If that fails, brake failure will be the least of the rider's problems - and fast.
he'd be safer with a fender to catch that cable
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Old 12-19-19, 10:06 AM
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The redesign of canti brakes with the cable from the lever running straight through to one of the canti arms solved this problem.
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Old 12-19-19, 10:06 AM
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I added a quick release to a rear fender after a little (rear wheel) mishap, which as mentioned above, was not a big safety problem, meaning the wheel locked up but I just came to a skidding stop







this is what happened w/o the Q/R when a stick caught my spokes & rear derailer


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Old 12-19-19, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by kinsler33 View Post
a safety warning
thanks for sharing. hang in there. best wishes for your recovery
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Old 12-19-19, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
The redesign of canti brakes with the cable from the lever running straight through to one of the canti arms solved this problem.
like this? or is this something else?

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Old 12-19-19, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
What the hell would you have to do to a bike to get the front brake cable to snap? Use catgut?
Even if it did, serious injury would not be a certainty.
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Old 12-19-19, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
like this? or is this something else?

That is a V-brake.

More like this one:

Where the main cable from the lever goes straight through to the housing in the right side (or left, depending on your vantage point). So if the main cable snaps, the brakes would just open up. There'd be no cable to catch onto the tire.
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Old 12-19-19, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Even if it did, serious injury would not be a certainty.
Agreed, but the whole sequence of events starts with a really unlikely one.
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Old 12-19-19, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
What the hell would you have to do to a bike to get the front brake cable to snap? Use catgut?
Just use a brake lever too long. The exit to the cable housing can get worn and chafe the cable. Since it's under the bar wrap, it's not easy to check. I've broken front brake cables this way on year 'round commuters. Never with a canti caliper though the bike the cable snapped on has worn cantis in the past.

(I'm a fan of long canti bridles. I'm not sure it could stop the relatively smooth tires I use (usually Paselsa). I'll look next time I'm in the garage.)

Ben
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Old 12-19-19, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
The redesign of canti brakes with the cable from the lever running straight through to one of the canti arms solved this problem.
Yep. The later versions of cantilever brakes (Shimano 1990's) had a splitter with only one cantilever side hooked up to the smaller cable. Then the main cable continued through the splitter sleeve, and down to the other side of the brake cantilever. So if either cable snapped, only a loose piece would fall on to the tire. It was highly unlikely to cause a crash.
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Old 12-19-19, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
That is a V-brake.

More like this one:

Where the main cable from the lever goes straight through to the housing in the right side (or left, depending on your vantage point). So if the main cable snaps, the brakes would just open up. There'd be no cable to catch onto the tire.
Yep, that is what I was describing. Not a death trap. Anything falling on to the tire has very little tension in it and would just flop forward. If the shorter cable fails, you could have one of the cantilevers engage the rim lightly, but it wouldn't stop you flat.
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