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Finally crashed for the first time!

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Finally crashed for the first time!

Old 07-18-20, 07:28 PM
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curieux88
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Finally crashed for the first time!

I finally crashed for the first time!

I decided to explore a new town for a 30mi ride. It wasn't too busy, so i figured it would be great cruising ride. About 6mi in, I ran over a smooth pot hole (concave into the ground?), swerved around, and then fell/crashed. I was going at 20mi/h, but i think swerving helped to reduce the speed.

I got pretty nasty scratch on my elbow, and probably strained my wrist. It wasn't too bad. the bike seems to be in a great shape, except one of the shifters got misaligned, and the wheels need to get trued.

This got me to think that i never learned to fall.

When I used to row, we learned how to get back on the boat. I was told by friends with judo experience that they always learn how to fall first. same with skiing and snowboarding.

For this fall/crash, I naturally put my hand out (strained my wrist) and then landed on my elbow.

Is there a better way to fall than what i did? What could I do better when i fall to better protect myself and the bike?
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Old 07-18-20, 07:35 PM
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Don't take your hands off the bars. Then hope for the best. I had an incident-free 2019, and have gone down three times in 2020... all in the month of June.

AFAIC, there is no "learning to fall" for a bike crash, short of not trying to stop yourself with your hands (which really applies to any kind of fall, really.) All of my trio happened so quickly that one moment I was riding, the next I was on the ground. As a matter of fact, that's every crash I've ever had. Riding, then not.
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Old 07-18-20, 07:53 PM
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It's very hard to prepare for a crash as they happen in an instant. And while I'd like to remember not to put my hand down as a brace, thats's nearly impossible to do. It's instinct. I wish I had in my 2 crashes as both resulted in sprained wrists and one in a hammer finger on my left hand which will never heal properly. It's the price of being a cycling hobbyist.
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Old 07-18-20, 11:19 PM
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Welcome to the club!
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Old 07-18-20, 11:53 PM
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The thing about hands also applies to feet; I put a foot out once at max speed--felt the bike drop and reflexively tried to steady myself--blew a knee.

Stay loose if you can. Roll when you hit if you can. Hold on to the bike on the way down if you can (that's how you keep the extremities in: cling to your precious). Breathe and take stock afterwards. Unless there's traffic, it's fine to lie there and take a little rest.
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Old 07-19-20, 01:24 AM
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I would personally not advise death gripping the bars. Itís an easy way to lose all the skin on your knuckles (which, to be fair, might be preferable to breaking a bunch of bones). You could get some reinforced gloves to prevent that though.

I think most people do usually put their hands down to keep their face off the ground, but you want to keep your hands as far forward as possible. Ie slap the ground with flat palms rather than stick your arm out to the side like a pole jamming into the ground.

The absolute ideal would be to look to the sky and fall on your back, then immediately roll. But thatís so sophisticated - Iím not sure if I could develop that reflex on the road. Iím sure many MTBers (sethís bike hacks?) have done so, though. Could be worth looking into.
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Old 07-19-20, 05:20 AM
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As for above advice >>> I read, I chuckle

April 2011, I landed on my back on a partly cloudy mostly blue backed sky --- as per smashndash -- "...The absolute ideal would be to look to the sky and fall on your back..." = A minor broken neck, broken clavicle, Nerve damage and bike was OK

April 2020 (12 weeks ago tomorrow) my hands remained in contact with the bars --- as per
DrIsotope -- " ... Don't take your hands off the bars..." = impact on left side resulting in Shoulder injury, cracked scapula, 2 cracked ribs, punctured lung and bike OK

Me thinks you got lucky it wasn't worse. Heal fast and be well.

BTW -- Do not let it get you down. 7/10 was my 70th birthday and my Birthday Ride was 141 miles. Rode a "Recovery Ride" on Tuesday of 101 miles, yesterday a short 44 miles with a 12 mile TT mixed in and next Sunday is my "Pete Cornel Memorial 100 Mile Ride" https://www.waymarking.com/gallery/i...6-0b7df3db4e5f

https://obits.mlive.com/obituaries/a...1098&fhid=5988

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Old 07-19-20, 09:12 AM
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Don't get old!

At 20, the ground didn't hurt and the scabs barely lasted a week.

At 40, this impact I very bruising, makes it hard to sleep, and the scabs linger for weeks.
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Old 07-19-20, 09:57 AM
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I had my first crash when I was, what, 5 or 6 years old?
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Old 07-19-20, 10:33 AM
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Decide not to fall. Don’t assume cyclists fall all the time. Get stable on the bike. Take no advice from those who do fall all the time. Last time I fell was August 1999. Others I know, others who also ride all the time and rack up big miles, have gone 40 years without a fall.

That last fall was caused by a head-on collision with a truck. A Post Office truck traveling the wrong way in a one way. A one way bicycle path. I was surprised. In retrospect there were multiple ways I could have avoided that collision, but surprise won. Is there a right way to take a hit like that? Never thought about it. The result was forty stitches above my knee and new handlebar tape. Rode the bike home from ER with doctor approval.

If your estimate of your speed is even in the ball park you did fine. Sounds minor. Heal up and get back on the bike. Bikes are very safe, worse injuries while walking.
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Old 07-19-20, 12:14 PM
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I've gotta agree with the above statement.

I haven't raced since 2006 and I probably haven't wrecked since 2004. My worst was on a chill ride, changing lanes, a gap in the concrete was the exact width of the tire. That hurt and was worse than any of the dust ups I had in a race.

The exception to this, I take mega slow speed diggers on the mountain bike. Into soft dirt. I barely count them, especially if no one is watching.
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Old 07-19-20, 02:23 PM
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"Decide not to fall, " he says. Because we're all just out there looking for opportunities to fall down. Every single cyclist I know personally has crashed at least once-- and that doesn't count the mountain bikers, who have a story for every scar.

Excellent advice. Don't plan for eventualities, just don't let them happen! Bend the universe to your will!
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Old 07-19-20, 03:47 PM
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I had to bike to school as a kid, and even then I dont remember of crashing. As an adult I started in riding again to ride with my sons, about 40 years ago, and have continued to ride. Happy to say I have never crashed. Now I mainly ride my trike, so the possibility is even less.
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Old 07-19-20, 07:35 PM
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Glad you got that first one out of the way.

I've had a few crashes as well. One going relatively fast 20 mph--separated shoulder and road rash. One hit from behind--bruised tailbone, hip, and elbow. Three on one ride trying to get home with plowed chunks of snow and ice on the MUP--no damage...these were the slow ones. One leaning a bit too much on wet pavement--road rash and bruises. And a few on black ice with no studs--bruised hip. And one on ice with studs--no damage.

What have I learned from all these mishaps? It's better to not crash.
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Old 07-19-20, 07:40 PM
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Don’t forget to knock on wood...
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Old 07-19-20, 07:53 PM
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crashing is a crash course to many recoverys. not something I'd personally seek. if you do crash, try & protect your head to your best abilities.
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Old 07-19-20, 07:56 PM
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The only at speed crash Ive had was over before I could have reacted any other way. Riding flatbar bar bike on wet path took curve too fast. Hands never left the bar. The initial impact was pavement, but the bulk of the slide was across wet grass. Fortunately, I only had a torn grip, a scuffed seat and nicely bruised butt cheek.

On a slow motion failure to unclip, I just tucked my elbows in titled my head up and mostly fell on my outer shoulder tricep hip. Slight bruising even as a kind of old guy at that point. Not sure if that's the best course of action, but it felt right in the moment.
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Old 07-19-20, 08:09 PM
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I've been riding as an adult for over 45 years and in all that time I've only been down 5 times, and that includes about 13 years of racing! I was very lucky not to crash at all in a race. But martial arts does teach you how to fall, and you have just roll with the accident, don't put your arms or legs, keep your feet clipped in and your hands on the bars, and just roll. Sometimes that's extremely difficult to do depending on how the crash is sending your bike, and whether or not you have time to react, but rolling with the crash will spread out the force of the impact better reducing breaking body parts then becoming rigid and bracing. In those accidents I had I never broke anything, I did dislocate a shoulder twice. My 5th accident was just 9 months ago, that one a car sideswiped me which jerked the handlebar away from me making me steer into a curb, that crash came out really good for me, the bike naturally flipped upon hitting the curb and I just rolled with the force and came out with bloody knees and a bruised shoulder, that was it! not bad for an old man hitting pavement, it didn't go so well for my bike though.

Like I said it sounds easy, well just roll, that's fine and dandy but if the bike is in a bad position that can be real difficult to do, but if you watch videos of pros crashing you'll see most of them attempting to roll with the crash.

The weird thing about me rolling was that I really learned how to do that when I was a pre teen, my brother and I use to jump out of a two story window at our house, and we would simply tuck and rolled on impact, I never broke anything doing that nonsense either, though once my dad caught me and he tried to break my butt! Later martial arts training trained us how to roll, but I think I was ahead of the class in that area due to jumping out of windows.
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Old 07-19-20, 08:17 PM
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I crashed plenty as a kid. Most common both then and more recently is hitting some scree or loose rocks while in a turn and losing the front wheel. Luckily Iíve never had much worse than skinned knees and elbows, but I always wear gloves in case hands hit the ground.

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Old 07-19-20, 08:32 PM
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If you ride, you're probably gonna crash at some point. Maybe you can control it, but don't count on it. The grass or dirt on the shoulder is better to land on than asphalt. I crashed a few months ago going about 20 mph from trying to take a turn I had no business attempting. Luckily, I went off the road and down a 5-foot bank into some sagebrush. I had some scratches and my ribs on one side were sore for a few days but I was fine and there was not a scratch on the bike. I was able to finish the ride. I'm 59 and well into Clydesdale territory, so it could have been much worse. I guess my take is to get out there and ride. Don't take stupid chances. You can stay in the house all day until you stroke out or something. Be as careful as you can but don't let fear stop you.
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Old 07-20-20, 06:01 AM
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Rowing, I would say, is a great background for making power and moving blood through your body, but not so awesome for developing instincts when you're flying over the handlebars.

If you happened to do them when you're young, football or downhill skiing are great ways for learning how to fall. Anything that gives you the instinct to tuck and land on something large that's not your head comes in handy. Unfortunately, it's harder to gain those instincts the older you get, but not impossible.

I would start on a diving board. Practice crashing into the water. Do a dive like you are going over the handlebars, and try to tuck so you land on your back. You could do some tumbling on grass. But probably the best practice is to crash on your bike where the stakes are lowest. I'd say that's snow biking. You're likely to slip and slide and improve your balance so that you avoid falls, but when you do fall, you'll get used to landing better.

Just don't break your wrist or something learning to fall better.
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Old 07-20-20, 06:59 AM
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About the only way I know not to crash is not to ride.

I hardly have crashes anymore, and that's mostly related to me riding slower and more cautiously than I did in the past. But, all it takes is hitting something your tires can't grip or doing something that makes the bike lose stability and you might be going down. That doesn't include running into things like cars, trees, curbs, etc.

By the way, many people that have had a lot of crashes do learn to crash "better". Off road riding can see to that, but I highly recommend to do this practicing while one is younger. No matter one's age, I still feel the best way to get better at anything on two wheels is to get more experience off road.
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Old 07-20-20, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ljsense View Post

If you happened to do them when you're young, football or downhill skiing are great ways for learning how to fall. Anything that gives you the instinct to tuck and land on something large that's not your head comes in handy. Unfortunately, it's harder to gain those instincts the older you get, but not impossible.
Definitely agree with that.
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Old 07-20-20, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by curieux88 View Post
I finally crashed for the first time!

I decided to explore a new town for a 30mi ride. It wasn't too busy, so i figured it would be great cruising ride. About 6mi in, I ran over a smooth pot hole (concave into the ground?), swerved around, and then fell/crashed. I was going at 20mi/h, but i think swerving helped to reduce the speed.

I got pretty nasty scratch on my elbow, and probably strained my wrist. It wasn't too bad. the bike seems to be in a great shape, except one of the shifters got misaligned, and the wheels need to get trued.

This got me to think that i never learned to fall.

When I used to row, we learned how to get back on the boat. I was told by friends with judo experience that they always learn how to fall first. same with skiing and snowboarding.

For this fall/crash, I naturally put my hand out (strained my wrist) and then landed on my elbow.

Is there a better way to fall than what i did? What could I do better when i fall to better protect myself and the bike?
Another thing to consider is, could you change your approach or technique in riding when that pothole that pops out ahead? For instance, stand on the pedals with your bum behind the saddle and pedal harder while leaning back to lighten the front wheel? If the pothole is only a couple inches deep, this could work well. Keeping the bike stable as it takes the pothole could get you through the pothole. Turning or leaning a bike while the tires are losing contact with the ground from bumps or holes isn't usually a good thing for a bike without suspension. Assuming your bike has no suspension.

This should still work riding over a "smooth" pothole and could reduce the swerving after the hole.

For me, standing on the pedals to let the legs be the suspension, and making the bike react to a lower center of gravity contact point (weight on saddle high, weight on pedals low), plus shifting body weight as needed will make a bike more stable over rough ground.

One way to get use to this is stand on the pedals anytime you go over any "rough" ground.

Last edited by FiftySix; 07-20-20 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 07-20-20, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
Another thing to consider is, could you change your approach or technique in riding when that pothole that pops out ahead? For instance, stand on the pedals with your bum behind the saddle and pedal harder while leaning back to lighten the front wheel? If the pothole is only a couple inches deep, this could work well. Keeping the bike stable as it takes the pothole could get you through the pothole. Turning or leaning a bike while the tires are losing contact with the ground from bumps or holes isn't usually a good thing for a bike without suspension. Assuming your bike has no suspension.

This should still work riding over a "smooth" pothole and could reduce the swerving after the hole.

For me, standing on the pedals to let the legs be the suspension, and making the bike react to a lower center of gravity contact point (weight on saddle high, weight on pedals low), plus shifting body weight as needed will make a bike more stable over rough ground.

One way to get use to this is stand on the pedals anytime you go over any "rough" ground.

well, Iíd agree with your method, which is what I do for small bumps, but I didnít see this pot hole. It was hidden in the shadow. I guess the first thing I need to learn is constantly looking out for pot holes. Haha
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