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Pine Cone???

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Pine Cone???

Old 10-28-18, 08:47 AM
  #1  
cyclintom
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Pine Cone???

Yesterday was certainly a new one on me. I thought I'd seen it all after 40 years of cycling.

I was riding along approaching an overpass that they just finished a couple of months ago. The pavement I was on was rough but not that bad. Suddenly I hit something that threw my bike out of control and I just missed hitting by head on the curb and landed full on my right side. I was trying to get up but couldn't get my balance and this car had stopped and the driver was helping me up. He said that as I had ridden under a tree a pine cone had fallen out of it under my front wheel!

My helmet had some broken areas on it but plainly hadn't struck very hard. But I was pretty disoriented and decided to ride back home. My right hip hurt but not that badly. When I got back home, showered, bandaged the hip which wasn't that bad, I realized that my right rib cage had taken a good hit too. Nothing broken since I wasn't riding very fast - this was supposed to be a recovery ride - but enough pain that it made sleep last night difficult.

I think this was aided in large part because all of the latest sunglasses have lenses that are too small so that you lose a lot of peripheral vision. This makes me think that it may be time to buy up to better sunglasses. My Bolle's are too scratched to use anymore and Oakley's are REALLY expensive. But maybe it's time to bite the bullet.

I was reminded of that insurance commercial where a squirrel threw a pine cone at a car. If so I'll get that lousy squirrel.
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Old 10-28-18, 09:20 AM
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Sometimes the green unopened ones fall off (or get pulled off by vigilante squirrels as in the commercial ) and they're just like rocks, and if they hit you they leave a mark with those sharp points....+ they're heavy !

Could have been worse, glad it wasn't.
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Old 10-28-18, 09:31 AM
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Yikes. It happens. It's that time of the year. I'm pretty good at shooting acorns but the black walnuts (large green pods) will take you down quick. I pass by three of those on my routine ride and I look for them. I've never had problems with pine cones yet but anything hit the wrong way at the wrong time can be hazardous. Most pine cones out now are still dense and hard. If there is a positive, your tumble could have been much worse. There are no buckeyes where I live now but I remember those vividly from when I was younger. Those could cause some serious problems in or out of the pod and the spines are strong enough to poke a hole too.

Last edited by u235; 10-28-18 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 10-28-18, 09:53 AM
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I've had some close calls with pinecones-- I was riding along a tree-lined street, just dazing off, and run straight over a (thankfully) fully opened and dried pinecone. Front wheel hopped up in the air, I almost slipped a hand off the bars. I looked over my shoulder and just didn't see anything. I stopped and rode back to find the scatter of little crushed pinecone chunks. So now I am ever vigilant. Mostly. Because I seem to forget about these:



Sweet Gum pods. They crush pretty easily, really. But I've never run directly over one-- it's kinda like the tire and the pod try to occupy the same space at the same time, so the wheel will kick violently to the side. I saw the pods, weaved through with the front wheel, and clipped one with the back wheel-- I thought I'd blown a tire or gotten bumped by a car. Now I'll be blasting along, and if I see any kind of pods or cones in the road, I slow down to "minefield pace."
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Old 10-28-18, 12:25 PM
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Pine cones are hazards whether they hit you while falling or are already lying on the pavement. We've had people in pace lines go down from hitting them either because the riders ahead didn't signal the hazard or they weren't paying attention.

As for expensive shades, I bought "shooting glasses" from Amazon. They're made for people shooting guns, who have to keep their heads down (gee, just like road cyclists!). Whether because of higher production volume or target demographic, they're cheaper than shades marketed for cycling and work just as well. They even come in the kind that take a snap-in Rx frame.
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Old 10-28-18, 12:36 PM
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Glad you’re OK & had a helmet on!

Another good reason to wear a helmet...
”the sky is falling”
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Old 10-28-18, 02:47 PM
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I almost ran over a beaver a couple weeks ago. It's a jungle out there.
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Old 10-28-18, 03:16 PM
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Hah hah, sort of.... you have squirrels, we have Black Cockatoos. You have to be very wary around pine trees when they are around. They are large birds and can fly off with large green cones in their mouth, all good until they screech and drop them on you... When I was a kid there was a pine forest that was a no go zone in cocky season. At least they give you (very) audible warning and it's not a stealth attack
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Old 10-28-18, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by seau grateau View Post
I almost ran over a beaver a couple weeks ago. It's a jungle out there.
LoL. The beaver would have won. Those things are built like tanks. Racoons and possums too.

I knew a guy who went down from hitting an acorn the wrong way.
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Old 10-28-18, 10:12 PM
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My sister in law ended up in some sort of boot cast thing after stepping on an acorn while jogging, and hyperextending a tendon or somesuch. Her foot swelled to like double size and turned purple.

As a teen, my father split his chin open on the pavement after washing out his front wheel on (of all things) a peach pit. Like the song says, It's the little things that kill.
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Old 10-29-18, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by seau grateau View Post
I almost ran over a beaver a couple weeks ago. It's a jungle out there.
Beavers are sneaky suckers. Two years ago I was touring in Montana and spent a couple of nights at a free bike camp in the town of Twin Bridges. One evening I was reading at a picnic table and heard a splash. Turned around and saw this fellow walk up onto the bank. The name of the river? The....wait for it...Beaverhead River.

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Old 10-29-18, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I seem to forget about these:



Sweet Gum pods.
Oh, how I hate these things. I have a Sweet Gum tree in my front yard, beautiful tree. When I bought the house the trunk was about 6" thick, now it's like 30" and for the last 6 years been putting out gumballs by the ton. The last few years I've filled 6 to 10 50 gallon plastic bags of them in the fall. I wish I had cut it down when I first bought the house and replaced it with something else.

To the OPs point, I just had a similar experience. Ran over a pinecone and nearly wiped out. My 45mm tires allowed me to stay upright. Most of the time those things are soft and yield when run over. This one was like a rock and made a loud popping noise when run over and the tire scooted out violently. It was in a section of trail with a lot of pine trees, needles covered the trail and I spotted this cone just as I hit it. I hope the OP is on the mend and had no further issues after his fall. As I am rapidly approaching becoming a senior citizen falls hurt more and more and take longer and longer to heal from.
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Old 10-29-18, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclintom View Post
I think this was aided in large part because all of the latest sunglasses have lenses that are too small so that you lose a lot of peripheral vision.
If you rode over something already on the road, how do you reckon better peripheral vision would have helped?
Weren't you looking ahead at the time of the accident?
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Old 10-29-18, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by dabac View Post
If you rode over something already on the road, how do you reckon better peripheral vision would have helped?
Weren't you looking ahead at the time of the accident?
I thought I was clear about this - there was nothing on the road in front of me. I do not know what happened. A passing motorists who stopped to help me apparently was a cyclist himself since he put my chain back on the cranks. He said that a pine cone had fallen out of a tree as I passed and had bounced under my front wheel.

The only thing I knew was that I had a very sudden jump over something very large and was interested only in not hitting my head against the curb. I absorbed the impact with my entire right side. I have some pretty minor road rash on my right hip. The helmet is a throw-away. And everything is so sore on my right side that I cannot sleep properly since I cannot lie on my right side which is my normal sleeping position.

Perhaps increased peripheral vision would have allowed me to see the pine cone falling and have avoided it. This hardly seems like something that is likely to happen again but there are many things that can occur. I was struck by a car a couple of months ago that rolled through a stop sign and accelerated into me. What was vital to my not getting badly injured was that I was looking square at her and rolled onto her hood rather than falling on the street in front of her and being run over. Now I just happened not to trust the way she was rolling up to the intersection but I may very well have been looking at the next car over who also rolled the stop sign and made a right turn in front of me. In this case he had plenty of room but it could have been different and my attention might have been on him while this woman hit me.

As someone pointed out elsewhere - road workers all wear neon vests to be clearly visible and they are killed commonly. So you need EVERY advantage you can get. I am now looking at sunglasses with a larger lens area. Oakley's are very expensive but they also have significantly larger lenses on the one's I've seen. Before I used to use Bolle but they started reducing the size of their lenses every time I bought a new pair.

Last edited by cyclintom; 10-29-18 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 10-29-18, 10:43 AM
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I ran over a 2x4 during an all out off seat sprint up a hill from the drops during a group ride. I was going about 20 and about 3 feet to react but I was able start to pull up on the front. I still hit it but not as bad as it could have been. It jumped up and my back tire plowed over it. I kept going. If I wasn't on my gravel bike and had traditional road tires things may have turned out much worse.

Someone mentioned a beaver. I somehow went between a family of racoons crossing the street at dusk one time. I felt a thump and think it was just a tail as me and they all stayed upright. Other than a goose lunging at me and smacking off my rear bag that's about all I can think of with animals.

With acorns, I hit them all the time, if it takes a tiny change I'll try to avoid them all but the last thing I want to is add angular momentum to the mix and hit another one. Similar to the risk of trying to do a last minute line change to dodge around mud or water and slipping on the sand deposit or slick edge.

Everything I brought up involved my seeing it at some point, maybe too late but.. The OP never saw it.

Last edited by u235; 10-29-18 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 10-29-18, 10:55 AM
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Let's talk about apples. Yes, APPLES! Now that it's below freezing most nights, they're falling off trees around the orchards like crazy.
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Old 10-30-18, 03:24 AM
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Our fall bugbear is the dreaded Osage orange fruit, which at a glance resembles a hi-vis green tennis ball. Not quite as large as shown in this photo, but most range from hardball to tennis ball size. Large enough to be a serious hazard for cyclists, and the main reason I avoid bike lanes, shoulders and roadsides in autumn.

I usually prefer to avoid referring to the September-November autumn season as "fall" -- bad connotation for cyclists. But in this case I'll make an exception.



Osage orange (not usually this large)
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