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So how are you supposed to fall?

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So how are you supposed to fall?

Old 08-08-13, 04:24 PM
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rpenmanparker 
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So how are you supposed to fall?

Really and truly not trying to start a fight. Just saying that using the hands to break a fall is intuitive. In a rational sense the hands and elbows have a spring like effect to absorb some of the shock of the fall. It is hard for me to understand why you would let the next higher up body parts that have no give at all (shoulder, head) take the punishment when the arms can reach down and reduce the distance of the fall. Especially when the hands can be (referring to my other active post) somewhat padded with gloves. I have always used my hands to break bike falls and have never damaged my shoulder nor even touched my helmet to the road. The clavicle is incredibly brittle and fractured clavicles are so identified with cycling that I wonder why you would even chance landing on your shoulder. I should mention that I am such a klutz that the idea of some rolling maneuver is totally beyond me.

Okay, so discounting my own practice and experience, the established wisdom seems to be not to use the hands. Please explain to me why and what is the recommended procedure instead.
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Old 08-08-13, 04:29 PM
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I've been crashing for over 54 years now and I don't think I've developed a 'recommended' procedure. They are always a surprise.

The only recommended procedure is not to crash, remain upright and not run into anything if possible.

Are you related to SlimRider by any chance?
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Old 08-08-13, 04:33 PM
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This is going to be a longgggg thread, so I'll keep it short.

My college roommate was a very talented skater and I went out to hang out with him and his crew while they were filming. He must have fallen 20+ times that night, hard. I started to notice that when he would fall he would hit the ground and instantly go into a roll, not landing on his shoulder but falling in a rolling manner that would start on his arm and roll up and over his shoulder and then his back. He'd pop back up on his feet like nothing happened. So this "falling correctly" is more about just rolling and letting the energy produced by your inertia slow down rather than just break on impact. They teach this in martial arts when you have to fall as well.

In sports where there is constant falling like skateboarding, bmx/street, martial arts etc you can learn this from pure repetition as well as knowing that the crash is possibly coming. The problem for this with me is that road cyclists fall a handful of times a year in most cases. I raced every weekend most of the season for two years and only had about 3 or 4 crashes. This is hardly enough time to learn how to "properly" fall, not to mention we're coming from being clipped into bikes at very high rates of speed with an often times totally unexpected emergency. So personally, I don't put too much weight in how to fall outside of the free-ride/gravity/bmx/trick side of our sport. If you can eat it on a road or mtn bike and make the conscious decision to hit the ground and roll properly great, but I don't worry about it.

So, long story short it's hit the ground and transfer the energy, don't land on your hands and try to absorb the energy, but I think most of us have a pretty small chance of accomplishing it. IMHO
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Old 08-08-13, 04:35 PM
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I tuck my arms against my body....
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Old 08-08-13, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by fauxto nick View Post
This is going to be a longgggg thread, so I'll keep it short.
So this "falling correctly" is more about just rolling and letting the energy produced by your inertia slow down rather than just break on impact.
I have more luck with this on the mats than I have with a bike attached to me feet. So far all of my falls have been a surprise and been over before I even knew what happened. Falling sucks.
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Old 08-08-13, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
I tuck my arms against my body....
That sound's fine, but doesn't that clear the way for the shoulder to strike the ground with full force. I am not saying that's wrong, but can you explain how it is right? Put another way, what are the historical hand injuries you are familiar with that are so bad they induce you to protect the hands and expose the shoulder and head?
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Old 08-08-13, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by puckett129 View Post
I have more luck with this on the mats than I have with a bike attached to me feet. So far all of my falls have been a surprise and been over before I even knew what happened. Falling sucks.
Yup, my falling properly involves getting out more than 1 expletive before impact.
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Old 08-08-13, 04:44 PM
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The only time I fell is when I went through the back windshield of car. So I fall by stopping my body with my face. Not recommended. I imagine if I fell normally I'd use my hands to break my fall so I wear gloves. The description fauxto nick gave is the one I learned in martial arts and works really well, but would be tough to do when clipped into a bike.
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Old 08-08-13, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
I have always used my hands to break bike falls and have never damaged my shoulder nor even touched my helmet to the road.
Maybe luck or low speed falls. Using your hands may be instinctive, but it is a good way to break your wrist or arm. If you put your arm out to stop your fall, your hand will stop but your body may keep moving due to inertia, and it may be a direction that you can't stop and load your joints in directions they were not meant to move. If you are able to keep your hands and arms in, you protect them, and hopefully are able to roll or absorb the blow over a greater area.
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Old 08-08-13, 04:47 PM
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I have no idea what the "recommended procedure" is...

I'd think the problem with using your hands is an issue of distributing the impact force over as wide a range as possible. If you land on your hands, that's a lot of force being put through your hands. There might be some "give" in your elbows, but I'd prefer to put the impact force over as wide an area as possible.
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Old 08-08-13, 04:50 PM
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If you're crashing, jump on the closest cyclist too you, that way you'll have someone to help with the chase back to the pack.
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Old 08-08-13, 04:52 PM
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Bike cops have it worked out to a science:
https://www.ipmba.org/newsletter-0206-falling.htm
One of their drills is to have the cops ride in a circle while someone actively pushes them over. Basically, people get broken collar bones because they put a hand out. Don't do that. Look at photos of pros after they've fallen badly. Where's the blood? On their hips. Hip takes the fall first, then the shoulder. Hands on the bars, except you'll have to take the hand off the down hood. Practice it mentally while you ride. You'll activate mirror neurons, which will make it automatic when you do fall. This works. If I'm in a flat skid, I'll push the side of my helmet down into the pavement to take pressure off the down arm and shoulder.
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Old 08-08-13, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
I have no idea what the "recommended procedure" is...

I'd think the problem with using your hands is an issue of distributing the impact force over as wide a range as possible. If you land on your hands, that's a lot of force being put through your hands. There might be some "give" in your elbows, but I'd prefer to put the impact force over as wide an area as possible.
Well in that case, I should definitely use my a$$, buy that would be a trick far beyond my poor abilities to execute. Stop and think about it, except for that particularly well cushioned part of the anatomy, where on the body has more surface area than the hands as well as the ability to slow down the fall as through the arms and elbows. The feet, sure, but they aren't available. The hip, but it is especially delicate, particularly as we age. Everything else is pretty small.
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Old 08-08-13, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Bike cops have it worked out to a science:
https://www.ipmba.org/newsletter-0206-falling.htm
One of their drills is to have the cops ride in a circle while someone actively pushes them over. Basically, people get broken collar bones because they put a hand out. Don't do that. Look at photos of pros after they've fallen badly. Where's the blood? On their hips. Hip takes the fall first, then the shoulder. Hands on the bars, except you'll have to take the hand off the down hood. Practice it mentally while you ride. You'll activate mirror neurons, which will make it automatic when you do fall. This works. If I'm in a flat skid, I'll push the side of my helmet down into the pavement to take pressure off the down arm and shoulder.
Is that true, that putting a hand out transfers the shock to the clavicle. If so, I am amazed. I always thought it was from striking the edge of the shoulder. Does anyone else have any thoughts about this?
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Old 08-08-13, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
I should definitely use my a$$
the big lump on my tailbone where it's been broken tells me that's a bad idea. also you can say ass.

When I was competing in motorcycle observed trials I started learning how to fall off/with a trials bike. It took a long time- I am not graceful- but I was starting to get it at least some of the time. The argument above that road riders don't fall enough to learn how to do it is right.

Other than getting crap bikes and padding and riding around on a field crashing with other people, there's not much you can do for practice.
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Old 08-08-13, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
the big lump on my tailbone where it's been broken tells me that's a bad idea. also you can say ass.
I second this, I crashed back in 2009 and was going about 25 mph so I was airborne for about 10 6-7 ft and managed to do a half barrel roll and land on my back. I wasn't able to lean against walls or counters against my tail bone for about 4 months and then I had issues sitting in chairs for long periods of time at my desk all the way to 2011.
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Old 08-08-13, 05:11 PM
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https://www.bicycling.com/training-nu...on/legend-fall

Supposedly, there is a technique to "fall like a pro". I don't buy it.
Wear your helmet and globes; pay attention.....but some times $hit happens.
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Old 08-08-13, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
Other than getting crap bikes and padding and riding around on a field crashing with other people, there's not much you can do for practice.
Or try Cyclocross I think I fell at least 5 times in my first CX race and I usually fall once or twice during practice sessions. Grass/sand/mud are all a fair bit softer than asphalt, so it's a lot easier to suppress the "must break my fall" instinct when you know the fall isn't likely to hurt much.
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Old 08-08-13, 05:21 PM
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I guess it all depends on the situation:

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Old 08-08-13, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Excelsius View Post
I guess it all depends on the situation:


My buddy was driving a support van for that ride, called me right after it happened, **** was crazy. We had that guys rear wheel in our shop, taco'd doesn't do it justice.
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Old 08-08-13, 05:26 PM
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Landing on your hand or elbow can easily lead to an elbow fracture. I have done it both ways.
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Old 08-08-13, 05:31 PM
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The natural reaction is to stick your hands out with straight arms - I think that's where "don't use your hands" comes from. True, don't do that. But you do use your hands and arms in all sorts of break-falls, and to some extent even the rolls. You'll have to learn how in person, since reading about it isn't going to be of much use.
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Old 08-08-13, 05:34 PM
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You can also go to an outdoor velodrome on a rainy day, ride around it very slowly, and tire test at the same time! The good thing is that it's not as far to fall.
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Old 08-08-13, 05:51 PM
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When I hit the ground last Saturday, it wasn't like I had a plan. We were pulling into a parking lot, got halfway through the area and suddenly my bike starting bouncing...don't know if my front wheel got caught in a crack or I hit an unseen speed bump. Either way, I landed flat on my left hip. Never really had the time to decide what the 'proper' landing was going to be. It was just '''whoa..splat!" Yeah, I'll be off the bike for at least a few weeks with a sprained left side.
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Old 08-08-13, 06:05 PM
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I seem to naturally do a roll that involves getting scraped on my knee, hip, elbow and the back of my shoulder all on whatever side I go down on. So far it's kept me from breaking a collar bone or worse so I'll take it.
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