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How to fall?

Old 06-03-07, 09:55 AM
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BugsInMyTeeth
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How to fall?

Fellas,

Had the wife out on the trails with me today (Durham Forest). She's new to the game, and I'm really, REALLY, impressed with how well she does. She's not as fast as me, but she's basically taking everything I do, all on a kinda cheezy Giant Sedona (sort of a 'comfort' mountain bike).

Anyhooo..

I've been teaching her this and that, trying to let her ride and get the feel of what to do and how to do it as the different problems occur in the trail.

She had a bit of a spill, I didn't see it since she was tailing me, but she wiped out, and I guess the bike landed on her leg a little hard. She's a very good athelete, and used to be a ski instructor. While brushing her self off, she mentioned that, as in skiing, she needed to learn how to fall. She asked for me for some advice, and I think the best thing I could think of was... "Uh.. well... errr.. try not to,"

I never really thought of this before, most of my wipe outs and spill put me into auto-pilot, and I just seem to do whatever it takes to take the least amount of injury possible. I'm not sure I can teach that.


Just curious, any advice for the lil' lady? How do you fall properly?
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Old 06-03-07, 10:15 AM
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Toss the bike if you can, and kinda just tuck and roll.

Although it usually happens so quickly i dont have a chance to do anything and just hope i dont hit any trees/big rocks.
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Old 06-03-07, 10:24 AM
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what Flak said, plus to get keep elbows tucked, but not so much so it doesn't help break the fall. Also, tell her roll her fingers into a ball, as if making a fist, and just try to be "loose" and not fight the fall. This is also good for motorcycle spills(don't ask how I know this).

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Old 06-03-07, 10:27 AM
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If you are out of control and have time to recognize that you must abort, try to cut as much speed as possible before you take the inevitable spill. Wiping out is usually not this predictable, however.

I normally try to tuck in and roll with the fall. Although, since I ride with clipless pedals, my bike is often still attached to me, making matters somewhat more difficult.

I still can't figure out if it's better to keep my hands on the handlebars, or to try to catch myself with my hands during a fall. I've hurt my wrists a lot by trying to catch my fall.

Anyone else? Is there a graceful way to fall??
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Old 06-03-07, 10:43 AM
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1. Spot your landing
2. Arms out, elbows slightly bent
3. Repeat 'til you can do it with style

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Old 06-03-07, 10:46 AM
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Really? Arms out?

My natural reaction is to keep them in, and let my body, not my limbs, take the smack. Arms break. I've learned this from skiiing/snowboarding for years.

Good to hear your opinion though... keep them coming.
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Old 06-03-07, 11:01 AM
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Depends on how fast you're going when you bail, or at least it does for me.

Low-speed tip-over kind of crashes (i.e. wedge a wheel between some rocks/roots or come to a sudden stop on top of a log, etc) try to get a foot out if clipped in just to make getting back up easier and try to soften your landing by catching yourself with your arms (if you're not super-breakable). Sometimes you can grab a nearby tree and not fall over in the first place.

Mid-speed crashes (i.e. flowing some tight single track and the front wheel washes out) just hope you don't hit trees and sharp rocks. Not a lot of time to react in these situations. These are usually the crashes I don't see coming.

High-speed crashes (downhill/landing jumps/etc) curl up and try to roll with it, don't fight the fall or you'll break. Don't try to catch yourself or you're hosed. Also applies to motorcycle crashes, as someone noted above. Strangely, even though I'm going very fast when I wreck like this, I seem to know in advance that it's going to happen, especially if it's landing a jump. Don't get the take-off right, and it doesn't matter what you do, you're a passenger until you (crash) land.
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Old 06-03-07, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by BugsInMyTeeth
Really? Arms out?

My natural reaction is to keep them in, and let my body, not my limbs, take the smack. Arms break. I've learned this from skiiing/snowboarding for years.

Good to hear your opinion though... keep them coming.
Remember though, you aren't falling in snow, so there's a real possibility you could **** up your face/neck/head (even if you're wearing a helmet) should you land on them. I'd rather break an arm or skin a hand than sprain my neck or lose some teeth.
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Old 06-03-07, 11:31 AM
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I try to break my fall with my arms just long enough to tuck and roll. If you ride enough, falling without getting to banged up will become 2nd nature.
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Old 06-03-07, 11:50 AM
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dont ever leap from a bike at speed. bodies like to tumble.
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Old 06-03-07, 11:57 AM
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I try to give both feet a good hard twist and free myself from the bike. That way you can tumble a little easier instead of just getting slammed. Gastro's right if you can see where you're going to land that can help you figure out which direction you should panic in.
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Old 06-03-07, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Flak
Toss the bike if you can, and kinda just tuck and roll.

Although it usually happens so quickly i dont have a chance to do anything and just hope i dont hit any trees/big rocks.
That's a good point, I never thought about that before.
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Old 06-03-07, 12:25 PM
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I've found that most of the time, if the crash involves the bike flipping forward, I can usually unclip and get my feet forward quickly enough to walk/run out of it. Requires some flexibility and core strength, but I usually try to do a touch-toes/running thing (and hit the ground with my hands to stop my body's forward rotation if necessary)

In terms of things where you're definitely gonna get comfortable with the ground, I also do the arms out, elbows bent approach. As some folks said before, the main thing is to keep your eyes open and look for the soft stuff. This will be easier if you do things which require a lot of body awareness (such as gymnastics, or in my case, pole vault)
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Old 06-03-07, 01:58 PM
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Tell her to fall in whatever way she can in order to avoid an unwanted sexual advance from her steer tube/stem assembly.
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Old 06-03-07, 04:20 PM
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um...i know im guilty of it and i'm sure alot of you are too, but putting your arms out is probably the worse thing to do. If you try to break your fall by landing with your arms out your running a really high risk of fracture or maybe a break to the wrist. Trust me, Ive done it. Wrist fractures suck because they tend to take a while to heal, if they heal at all. Resulting in surgery. Thats what happened to me. My wrist wouldn't heal, so doc had to pop a screw in there. He told me I probably would have been better breaking my arm.
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Old 06-03-07, 04:33 PM
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Thats how I see it. My arms curl up and do their best to protect my face and chest.
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Old 06-03-07, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Tra!l !
dont ever leap from a bike at speed. bodies like to tumble.
unless heading toward a serious drop/fence/other obstacle that would be worse to hit than it would be to take a tumble. Then just let the bike go. You can fix your bike. Usually for less money, pain, and time than you can fix yourself.
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Old 06-03-07, 06:47 PM
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yea well, i was meaning like ditching really fast. let the bike slow down before u ditch. but yea if there is a cliff in front, freaking ditch!
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Old 06-03-07, 08:43 PM
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Just try to keep the momentum going as you hit the ground. The amount fo force that goes into your body is proportional to the loss of momentum. I have become quite good at crashing, can tell you wha tto do and what not to do.

I usually try to clear the bike (if it is at speed or in a tight tree situation), put myarms out with a slight bend in the elbows and just take the hit with my arms (do not try to resist with your arms, that is when you break them) the arms are out to guide my body into the ground, tuck your chin to your chest and roll.

In a low or mid speed crash with trees you will be surprised how good it is to actually hug a tree as opposed to hitting one while still on the bike (by hit I mean with enough force to fling you off the bike after hit). As you come in, standing on pedals, let go of bars and fling yopurself to the tree, compress arms on impact and basically hug it. However above certain speeds yoyr ribs take a bashing.

Finally if in the air and you know you will probably crash on landing, it is oftern best to keep bothe feet on pedals and try to ride it out. A DH pr Freeride bike has 8 or so inches of travel, let iot take the hit, not your body. And if it is that big that you will still get flung after the landing, just tuck and roll.
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Old 06-03-07, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by BugsInMyTeeth
Really? Arms out?

My natural reaction is to keep them in, and let my body, not my limbs, take the smack. Arms break. I've learned this from skiiing/snowboarding for years.

Good to hear your opinion though... keep them coming.
breaking ribs is never fun. did that in snowboarding.

1. get the **** out of ur pedals.
2. get the **** off ur bike.
3. dont aim for rocks/trees/logs
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Old 06-03-07, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Hopper
In a low or mid speed crash with trees you will be surprised how good it is to actually hug a tree as opposed to hitting one while still on the bike (by hit I mean with enough force to fling you off the bike after hit). As you come in, standing on pedals, let go of bars and fling yopurself to the tree, compress arms on impact and basically hug it. However above certain speeds yoyr ribs take a bashing.
terrible idea.

after 4 broken ribs and a ruptured spleen i learned to stay away from trees. they dont bend at all, dont move at all, id rather hit rocks and hope i break one rib rather then all but one.
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Old 06-03-07, 09:11 PM
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I am pretty good at getting out of bad situtations when I am dirt jumping, but when I am trail riding, there isn't much that you can do.
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Old 06-03-07, 09:30 PM
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Wow! Some of these replies are a lot to remember when you have .35 seconds before you hit the dirt/tree/rock. I would think instincts would kick in and do whatever feel right to prevent serious injury.
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Old 06-03-07, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by BugsInMyTeeth
Really? Arms out?

My natural reaction is to keep them in, and let my body, not my limbs, take the smack. Arms break. I've learned this from skiiing/snowboarding for years.
.
Skulls break worse.

It all depends on the circumstances of the crash. But someone should know how to tuck and roll. The best way to learn is probably to take an intro course to Aikido.
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Old 06-03-07, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by willtsmith_nwi
Skulls break worse.

It all depends on the circumstances of the crash. But someone should know how to tuck and roll. The best way to learn is probably to take an intro course to Aikido.
or any martial arts has their own form of the "roll" i know in judo we had one.
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