School of hard knocks

Sketchy recollections of an icy tumble

by Martin Thomas   December 31, 2013  

The last thing I’m sure I remember is watching my mate Simon’s front wheel snap out from under him on the black ice. There’s the teasing suggestion of a memory of my own wheel following suit but that might just be me projecting. I certainly can’t recall any detail.

The next memory is of standing around swapping blokey banter with Simon and two other cyclists, one of whom was a friend – another Simon, confusingly enough – who had miraculously appeared out of nowhere, the other a stranger who had clearly gone over a moment before us.

It didn’t strike me as odd at the time that there was a hole in my memory…that I’d jumped from one moment of clarity to the next without noticing anything amiss. I was distracted by the look of confusion and pain on the stranger’s face and the trembles in his body as he hobbled around in a daze.

I wasn’t sure what to make of the fact that I’d completely forgotten about the driver who had offered to help me untangle myself from my bike, or that my helmet now had a massive crack where it covered my left temple.

Between Rule 5 quips and curiously formal introductions, we decided it might be wise to call the stricken rider’s wife. As soon as she was on her way we decided it might be best to call an ambulance too, as the level of the rider’s discomfort became clear.

A farmer appeared with a cup of sweet tea, which our injured friend (whose name was Jonnie, we had by now discovered) started gulping gratefully – until the emergency services operator on the other end of the phone sternly ordered him to stop, at which point the rest of us shared it.

By the time the ambulance arrived, ten minutes or so later, Jonnie had seized up completely and couldn’t really move at all without considerable pain. He was given numerous blasts of entonox but still whimpered and cried out when he was lifted from chair to stretcher.

The Rule 5 jokes continued, but very quietly now as we watched a pale, shaking Jonnie being lifted into the ambulance, where he was then injected with morphine for the ride back to Brighton with his suspected fractured hip.

The remaining three of us decided to cut short our rides and head back via the coast road – a loop of about ten miles. We rode it quickly and quietly, still individually processing what had just happened.

The aches and pains grew and multiplied in the hours that followed. Now, 36 hours on, I’m hard pushed to find any part of my body that doesn’t hurt at least a bit. The most obvious is a vivid bruise and graze on my left hip; the most worrying is an odd pain right in the heart of my left shoulder.

We’d set out in good weather: sunny and clear with hardly any wind and temperatures around 4 or 5 degrees. Once we’d come over the Downs the temperature dropped a degree or two, as it does, but it didn’t feel cold enough for ice. But those back lanes barely get any sun and the same hedgerows that block the heat make it hard to read the surface sometimes. I’m not sure what we could have done about it even if we’d had a clear view of the road surface, though.

In fact I’m not sure about a lot of what happened. There’s a surreal edge to the whole experience that I can only attribute to shock and that bash on the head.

One thing I am sure about though: I will most definitely be replacing that helmet before I go out again.

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Thanks very much David. I was just talking to my wife yesterday about how silly it was that I didn't get myself checked out. We decided it was due to a slightly ridiculous combination of me not wanting to alarm her and her wanting to believe my scrubbed up version of events...or something.

Anyway, I'm back to my perky pre-crash best now after a couple of wobbly days so I think I did get away with it. Most of the aches and pains were muscular and are fading nicely, as are the bruises. No headaches (apart from on the day itself), numbness or any of the other symptoms you describe.

thanks again - I really appreciate your contribution, for me and everyone else reading this.

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posted by Martin Thomas [563 posts]
6th January 2014 - 0:14

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No problem, glad to be of help.

Sorry if my post came across like a bit of a lecture- I was quite alarmed by your story, and I've been caught out in the past by seemingly minor head trauma. And it's always the young blokes who would rather soldier on than admit when they're hurt and get checked out!

Glad to hear you're on the mend though.

posted by davidmcw [4 posts]
6th January 2014 - 1:18

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Longs don't always help. Cycling here in Sweden last winter, I soon learned 2 valuable lessons: 1- There is a reason that the Swedes use Dubbdäck, (studded tyres) and 2 - That 3hrs of 25km/h on icy roads at -5C and blood freezes into Strawberry Sorbet...

image.jpg

posted by CarbonBreaker [73 posts]
6th January 2014 - 5:59

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davidmcw wrote:
For future reference if you bump your head, and are knocked out, suffer retrograde amnesia of more than 1/2 hour, aren't quite yourself for over 2hrs post injury, or suffer persistent vomiting, then you should go to A&E, and probably get a CT scan, (ref: NICE guidelines for head injury 2007).

I have some amnesia from 11:30pm 31/12/99 - 12:30am 01/01/2000. I remember some flashing lights in the sky during that time but nothing else. I don't think I hit my head but was keeping myself hydrated anyway. Its funny because I normal remember everything I do very clearly. It was a long time so I think I will be okay now, the symptoms have not reoccurred.

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1053 posts]
7th January 2014 - 2:31

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Martin Thomas wrote:

As far as I'm concerned, there is no debate any more.

Gosh really? A helmet is the answer, eh? How about riding a bit slower, according to the conditions, or not riding at all and/or using another form of transport if necessary? How about making it your express intention to avoid unnecessary risk, and thus avoid injury completely, rather than taking risks and hoping your protective gear will help when the 'inevitable' happens?

A chap called Mark Sisson wrote an excellent book called "The Primal Blueprint", published in 2009, which encourages the reader to adapt their life as closely as possible to the principles of their stone-age ancestors (whose physiology they inherited) and most particularly their diet before farming was invented. I'd highly recommend it.

There are 10 'Primal Blueprint Laws' of which #9 is "Avoid Stupid Mistakes". Obviously this was essential because there were no hospitals and if a man injured himself he might not be able to either feed or defend his family for weeks or months ... if ever.

All this macho talk of 'look at my road rash' and 'guess how long I was unconscious for' is utter bollocks as far as I'm concerned. All those injuries were due to AVOIDABLE stupid mistakes and you really shouldn't be proud of them or expect sympathy.

When our polar explorers go off and lose a few digits due to frost-bite it is regarded as a badge of honour in the UK. To the residents of Alaska or Greenland it most certainly isn't. In those communities frost-bite is the mark of foolishness, reckless stupidity and a source of embarrassment to the recipient.

To ride a bike safely you don't need helmets or share pictures of road-rash and assume the inevitability of 'accidents'. You just need to ride (or even walk alongside your bike) according to the conditions. It's really *not* that difficult to do.

An excuse like "I wasn't expecting ice" is about as valid as a motorist's SMIDSY as he takes out a cyclist.

posted by Joeinpoole [125 posts]
7th January 2014 - 5:42

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Why is it all of my concussions -- several in football (American), two in ice hockey and one, that I can remember, while cycling -- came while wearing a helmet? The logical question to ask would be this: Do helmets cause concussions, or TBI as they call it now?

posted by abovetheclouds [6 posts]
7th January 2014 - 9:05

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Joeinpoole wrote:

Gosh really? A helmet is the answer, eh?

etc...

One thing I’ve never particularly liked about the internet is the distance it puts between people having a conversation because that distance seems to give some people the impression that it’s acceptable to address perfect strangers as though they’re idiots, assert that they’re talking ‘utter bollocks’ and make all sorts of assumptions about their motives for saying something.

I really don’t want to sink to your level of discourse but I have a few points to make in response. First of all, if you think all cycling mishaps are avoidable then you’re deluded. Many of them are, for sure, perhaps even most, but certainly not all.

I would argue that it was perfectly reasonable to go for a bike ride on the day we came off. The sun was out; the temperature was comfortably above freezing; visibility was good. Three experienced cyclists went over on the same small stretch of road within a minute or two. When we came off I would estimate we were doing 10mph because we were approaching a narrow bridge beyond which we couldn’t see if the road was clear. That’s the first time I’ve come off my bike in years. The only indication that there might have been ice on the road was a bit of residual frost. How many times do you see that and ride safely past it? After we’d come off it was still impossible to spot any sign of ice on the road, yet the surface was incredibly slippery. But then that’s black ice for you.

The second point - and you’re just going to have to take my word for this one because you don’t know me from Adam, remember? - is that I am most definitely not the macho type. Also, I have two young kids and I’m self-employed. I can’t afford to take stupid risks and I’m not brave enough to do so in any case.

My intention with this blog post was to write a cautionary tale for others - and in fact to show that things like this can just come out of nowhere and happen to anyone, contrary to what you seem to believe. I’ll admit I might have been angling for a bit of sympathy but I was also willing to accept some good natured ribbing (and I’ve had plenty of that, believe me). What I’m not willing to accept is a bunch of lazy assumptions wrapped up in a specious argument, rudely presented as fact.

The final point I’d like to make is that I’m not suggesting a helmet is ‘the answer’. All I’m saying is that, given these things can come out of nowhere and bite you on the arse, it makes sense to me to wear a helmet. I don’t know how much more damage I would have done to myself without mine but I do know it took a knock that was hard enough to split it and I’m quite happy that split was in my helmet and not in my skull.

I won’t be reading the book you recommend because you’ve irritated me. My loss I guess.

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posted by Martin Thomas [563 posts]
7th January 2014 - 11:13

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Perhaps these accidents were avoidable but going out for a bike ride in fairly good conditions whilst taking care when riding is not stupid. If we all avoided risky situations then there would be very few of us who would be able to lead a fulfilling and active life. Thankfully we live in a society which allows people to take calculated risks in their leisure time in return for putting in a decent days work. Or at least we should.

posted by surfingjoyner [15 posts]
7th January 2014 - 12:26

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Sanctimonious and wrong.

I came off in December on the one piece of black ice between home and work doing about 7 mph. The only reason ice was there was because it had been recently resurfaced and the council decided to use the world's most dangerous road dressing.

As for the book you reference, I am afraid it is laughable. I agree you should avoid stupid mistakes, but do you know what the life expectancy for stone age hunter gatherers is?

posted by lerrup [14 posts]
7th January 2014 - 14:25

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Martin Thomas wrote:

I won’t be reading the book you recommend because you’ve irritated me. My loss I guess.

lerrup wrote:

As for the book you reference, I am afraid it is laughable. I agree you should avoid stupid mistakes, but do you know what the life expectancy for stone age hunter gatherers is?

The book is actually quite good. Lerrup, its point is not to replicate exactly the lifestyle of stone age hunter gatherers (modern medicine is a nice thing, for example, as are creature comforts) so much as it is taking from it the good bits and pieces that are beneficial compared to the bad bits and pieces our modern lifestyle entails - eat fresh food and be active, as opposed to subsist on highly processed foods and little to no exercise.

I would think most of us are already following that approach very closely without ever having heard of the concept.

Work harder. Buy a tank.

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posted by userfriendly [134 posts]
7th January 2014 - 15:32

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My sympathies to those hurt. At least the lesson is learnt: Don't go out on icy roads on a bicycle if you don't have to. D Oh

I was once, well twice, a bit daft. I've had two crashes on roads I thought ice free until I came down. I won't bore you with the injuries...suffice to say I learnt the lesson. As for sliding on ice? There is often no gradual loss of grip and a long impact absorbing slide on ice. It is often straight over and over very, very quickly.

Having cracked two ribs in warm dry conditions last year and losing a month of training - which I paid for in the summer - I check the weather and stick to the rollers if it's going to be icy. It makes more sense to make up for lost training time in spring rather than being laid up for weeks after thrashing yourself on icy roads.

If you have to commute by bike all year around - fair enough. If you don't it makes no sense to risk injury when it's not necessary. Personal freedom is fine in principle but I'd rather give the NHS more time to treat those involved in less avoidable accidents.

MercuryOne

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [935 posts]
8th January 2014 - 10:19

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I'm buggered, in fact most of us are.

There'll be such a narrow range of climatic and road conditions and environmental factors that are suitable I may as well sell my bike now*.

If it rains it hurts grip and visibility, and rain means you'll get wet and therefore colder.

Snow and ice? Doh, a no brainer.

Fog? Visibility

Warmth? Risk of heatstroke, dehydration or sunburn.

Darkness? Can't see where you're going

Fog? Ditto

Bright sunlight? Ditto.

Busy roads? Cars

Country lanes? Wild deer and angry squirrels, mud, poo and posh girls in jodhpurs.

Heaven knows we can't just make use of commercially available equipment that will mitigate the risks, like lights, coats, sunglasses etc (and helmets!)

I'm instigating a new rule, which is 'soften the fuck down' and I look forward to the couple of days a year where I can safely ride my bike.

*I have yet to risk assess the task of bicycle selling but I'm sure there'll be some hazards.

posted by allez neg [409 posts]
8th January 2014 - 12:04

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bikeboy76 wrote:
I have some amnesia from 11:30pm 31/12/99 - 12:30am 01/01/2000. I remember some flashing lights in the sky during that time but nothing else. I don't think I hit my head but was keeping myself hydrated anyway. Its funny because I normal remember everything I do very clearly. It was a long time so I think I will be okay now, the symptoms have not reoccurred.

I think that is actually just a bug that appears to be knocking around in Manchester, I myself seemed to pick it up last Friday night/Saturday morning.

posted by farrell [1032 posts]
8th January 2014 - 12:47

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allez neg wrote:

Country lanes? Wild deer and angry squirrels, mud, poo and posh girls in jodhpurs.

This sounds ace.. Sign me up.

posted by BillyElNino [4 posts]
8th January 2014 - 14:54

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Prehistoric agendas aside seeing someone physically injured on a ride is distressing for the onlooker. (obviously not as much as the injured party!).

I've ridden past people injured on Sportives (They were already getting enough help) and it puts risk /reward into perspective.

As for avoiding it, being out on the road for hours covering 50-100 miles means conditions drastically change but this is all part of the fun.

posted by BillyElNino [4 posts]
8th January 2014 - 14:59

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farrell wrote:
I think that is actually just a bug that appears to be knocking around in Manchester, I myself seemed to pick it up last Friday night/Saturday morning.

I am not sure it is the same bug. It does tend to strike at the weekend just when you are off work, sods law. But the symptoms for me include involuntary rhythmic spasms in public places, occasionally followed by vomiting in the corner of a dark room and an intense desire to find a bus with '42' written on it; perhaps this is my own existential search for the meaning of life? No amnesia normally, though this bout did occur in Edinburgh; perhaps the local tribal beverages overcame me.

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1053 posts]
9th January 2014 - 0:57

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Joeinpoole wrote:
Gosh really? A helmet is the answer, eh? How about riding a bit slower, according to the conditions, or not riding at all and/or using another form of transport if necessary? How about making it your express intention to avoid unnecessary risk, and thus avoid injury completely, rather than taking risks and hoping your protective gear will help when the 'inevitable' happens?

A chap called Mark Sisson wrote an excellent book called "The Primal Blueprint", published in 2009, which encourages the reader to adapt their life as closely as possible to the principles of their stone-age ancestors (whose physiology they inherited) and most particularly their diet before farming was invented. I'd highly recommend it.

Compliment to Martin for being restrained in your reply, but well really Joe this has to be the most moronic argument against helmet wearing I have ever heard. You might have a point if you could show that helmets did not have an effect in traumatic crashes (with other vehicles) though this was exactly the sort of slow speed head impact they are designed for. You might even have a point if you said a helmet messed up your hair. If you are telling people to be risk-averse like a stone-age ancestor then you might as well never cycle again. Cyclist always involves going at speeds unsafe for head impacts regardless of the conditions.
Besides there is no shortage of Humans, no requirement to protect the existence of the tribe. I have studied the history of Britain and the 20th Century in particular for many years and I don't know if you noticed but Humans are not risk-averse as a species (perhaps you are not a Human?) You are right in the middle of a massive Political/Economic/Technological experiment. Millions of people fought and died for rival philosophies to get to your modern lifestyle.
Have you ever taken a flight, because that is a quantifiable risk just like cycling. If you have then you must be a hypocrite because other less risk-averse individuals pioneered flight for you, take the boat, or better yet don't go out your front door.

This being the internet I hope you really don't believe the guff you wrote.
Here is a reminder how awesome humans are: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqdG8_FxlEQ
How many people in that video are wearing helmets? Helmets are cool and they might just save your life.
Ride fast and wear a helmet kids.

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1053 posts]
9th January 2014 - 1:31

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lerrup wrote:
Sanctimonious and wrong.

I came off in December on the one piece of black ice between home and work doing about 7 mph. The only reason ice was there was because it had been recently resurfaced and the council decided to use the world's most dangerous road dressing.

Totally wrong. The presence of 'black ice' requires two things ... freezing temperatures and water. If either of those things are not present then it will not occur. Period. The council's choice of road dressing is pretty much irrelevant.

There are *lots* of cues to the experienced cyclist (or motorist or pedestrian) as to when icy conditions may occur. Freezing temperatures either in the days *before* the ride or during is always a good clue. Then you need the presence of water. Where does water happen on the road? Well, most commonly (for the purposes of detecting 'black ice'), it'll be due to run-off from fields on country roads, usually in dips and at the bottom of hills, fords, streams, minor subsidence of otherwise level road surfaces, poor drainage, etc, etc. Unusually low temperatures often occur (relative to the surrounding area) in heavily shaded areas (tall trees, etc) and again in dips and at the bottom of hills. A bit of 'Arctic mist', which can be seen from some distance, is another good cue that dodgy conditions lie ahead. There are literally *hundreds* of little clues, both visual and physical, that you need to tune into in order to understand the conditions of the road ahead.

Matthew Syed, in his book 'Bounce' explains the concept of these 'cues' much better than me. He describes how he was at a tennis media event where Richard Krajicek was lobbing balls over the net to various journalists, just for fun. Syed then asked Krajicek to serve at him at full power __ just to see what it was like. Krajicek was reluctant but eventually agreed. WHACK!!! Syed heard the ball fizz past his ear at just about the point that he became aware that Krajicek's serving arm was actually moving. Syed was a former world-class table tennis player who was particularly renowned for his quick reactions and yet he hadn't even seen the ball in the air. He concluded that the only possible way that anyone could even hope to return such a serve was if they had huge experience (usually requiring about 10K hours of practice to become world-class in a given field) and was able to deduce from the movement of the opponent the speed and direction of the ball ... before it actually happened.

I reckon it's the same with cycling. You need to be able to interpret the conditions ahead from the 'cues' you have all around you. If you don't have that level of experience then fucking well slow down until you do. You don't need body-armour to cycle safely, you just need common sense.

posted by Joeinpoole [125 posts]
9th January 2014 - 3:52

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Joeinpoole wrote:
You don't need body-armour to cycle safely, you just need common sense.

A helmet is not 'body armour.' Your tennis analogy is risible; the gentleman that came off at 7mph is not a pro cyclist and not trying to descend at 70mph. He is not claiming to be Peter Sagan nor should you have to be to go for a ride.

You have not addressed the point made multiple times above that conditions are never ideal.

You are being sanctimonious as you seem to thing you can 'read the signs' but condescend to tell other not to ride if they cannot read these signs of which you can see *hundreds.* I hope you reflect on your expertise the next time you have an off.

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1053 posts]
9th January 2014 - 20:11

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massspike wrote:
P.S. It turned out I also broke my helmet in the fall

Worrying that these helmets keep breaking in a fall. We all know that if they break, they didn't work (the expanded polystyrene fails to compress, which would decelerate the head a little more slowly than if it hit the road, but becomes effectively rigid, transmitting the entire force to the head and cracking in the process).
If one is going to wear the damn things and pay the sometimes ridiculous prices the manufactures demand for what is basically a bit of foam plastic with straps on, they should at least provide protection when called upon. Perhaps you should take the broken ones back and demand a refund.

posted by arowland [72 posts]
10th January 2014 - 12:23

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I might be wrong (please correct me if I am) but I thought if the helmet cracked it had absorbed the full impact of the fall and thus prevented the transfer of the blow to the skull.

Still I'd rather have a cracked helmet than a cracked skull.

posted by Dapper Giles [22 posts]
10th January 2014 - 12:39

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arowland wrote:
massspike wrote:
P.S. It turned out I also broke my helmet in the fall

Worrying that these helmets keep breaking in a fall. We all know that if they break, they didn't work (the expanded polystyrene fails to compress, which would decelerate the head a little more slowly than if it hit the road, but becomes effectively rigid, transmitting the entire force to the head and cracking in the process).

No we don't 'all know ... they didn't work' because it's wrong - it is not an all-or-nothing event. The compression is also not the only way the helmet absorbs energy and absorption is not the only factor. One of the main purposes of the helmet is to distribute the force over a larger area, something that can be accomplished even in the event of localised material failure in some part and / or direction. Material failure, although not ideal in general, also typically absorbs energy that may otherwise be transmitted more directly into the skull -some engineering and biological structures rely on material failure of one form or another to provide protection against damage to other structures or to spur on regrowth.

arowland wrote:
If one is going to wear the damn things and pay the sometimes ridiculous prices the manufactures demand for what is basically a bit of foam plastic with straps on, they should at least provide protection when called upon. Perhaps you should take the broken ones back and demand a refund.

A number of helmet manufacturers offer sizeable discounts on helmet crash replacement.

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posted by fukawitribe [113 posts]
10th January 2014 - 14:09

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Dapper Giles wrote:
I might be wrong (please correct me if I am) but I thought if the helmet cracked it had absorbed the full impact of the fall and thus prevented the transfer of the blow to the skull.

It's not as simple as that, alas. It may be due to the design of the helmet (deliberate failure mode) or just over-stressing some or all of the helmet structure. It may mean it's absorbed all the impact, but that would be pretty unlikely. What is does generally mean is that some of the energy that would otherwise have been transmitted into you has been used to deform and cleave a solid structure apart.

Dapper Giles wrote:
Still I'd rather have a cracked helmet than a cracked skull.

Me too - although frequency wise, i've been thankful more for the lack of abrasive injuries from wearing one.

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posted by fukawitribe [113 posts]
10th January 2014 - 14:12

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bikeboy76 wrote:
Joeinpoole wrote:
You don't need body-armour to cycle safely, you just need common sense.

A helmet is not 'body armour.' Your tennis analogy is risible; the gentleman that came off at 7mph is not a pro cyclist and not trying to descend at 70mph. He is not claiming to be Peter Sagan nor should you have to be to go for a ride.

You have not addressed the point made multiple times above that conditions are never ideal.

You are being sanctimonious as you seem to thing you can 'read the signs' but condescend to tell other not to ride if they cannot read these signs of which you can see *hundreds.* I hope you reflect on your expertise the next time you have an off.

Whatever. The last time I had an "an off" was about 36 years ago when I was probably 13. I learnt from it and the many, many episodes before it. Maybe it was all those paper rounds in Birmingham in all weathers that did it (I was the guy that the the shop owner knew would *always* turn up).

Anyway, you can either believe that you have control of your own destiny and of your bike ... or you can weep at your misfortune when things "just happen". I know which I believe.

posted by Joeinpoole [125 posts]
13th January 2014 - 1:47

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As I say sanctimonious and wrong, and as I have over 10k hours of cycling experience and having been doing it for 40 years I think I pass your test. I was also going 7mph so am not sure what speed you expect me to do.

You see your list of things to watch out for didn't count in this case; it was near the top of a slope, it wasn't in a dip, there was no fog, etc.

The ice in question was undoubtedly caused by the resurfaced patch as the untouched road a metre away was not iced up. There may well be a hollow patch under the new surface such as a foul water drain which would have caused it to be colder but this was apparent from the surface.

The helmet helped in this case, I agree it wouldn't do much against a bus, but a 2 metre drop is what they are designed for.

posted by lerrup [14 posts]
13th January 2014 - 14:30

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Joeinpoole wrote:

Matthew Syed, in his book 'Bounce' explains the concept of these 'cues' much better than me. He describes how he was at a tennis media event where Richard Krajicek was lobbing balls over the net to various journalists, just for fun. Syed then asked Krajicek to serve at him at full power __ just to see what it was like. Krajicek was reluctant but eventually agreed. WHACK!!! Syed heard the ball fizz past his ear at just about the point that he became aware that Krajicek's serving arm was actually moving. Syed was a former world-class table tennis player who was particularly renowned for his quick reactions and yet he hadn't even seen the ball in the air. He concluded that the only possible way that anyone could even hope to return such a serve was if they had huge experience (usually requiring about 10K hours of practice to become world-class in a given field) and was able to deduce from the movement of the opponent the speed and direction of the ball ... before it actually happened.

I reckon it's the same with cycling. You need to be able to interpret the conditions ahead from the 'cues' you have all around you. If you don't have that level of experience then fucking well slow down until you do. You don't need body-armour to cycle safely, you just need common sense.

I think you have been reading too many of those books that explain to you what you already know, like 'blink' by Malcolm Gladwell. There was barely a bean in that book that was really edifying.

You probably need to stop reading and start riding more. Personally I think the things you talk about (prehistoric mans proclivity towards less risky strategies) is unknowable. There was no written history and the dangers faced by man are always very different. Risk is also subjective. So while you can harp on about it unless you know someone else's skill and experience your judgement counts for little.

I must admit I have predilection for 'higher' risk sports, scuba diving, cycling and skiing. But most of the risks that are knowable reduce the chances of incident. It's when you add things like off piste skiing, or diving in unknown waters or cycling at speed down unknown hills that you increase the real risks. But within limits you can control these things by putting in extra limiters, but accidents will always happen.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [978 posts]
13th January 2014 - 15:13

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Joe, you will live longer but it sure won't be interesting. Sounds like 36 years of unedifying trundling. I hope you enjoy your next ride whenever the conditions are right: 28th May.

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1053 posts]
14th January 2014 - 0:52

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Gently sweeping around the helmet issue, I’ve found spiked tyres an absolute boon through mid winter. Admittedly, broader 35/42mm 700c (or mtb) sections won’t suit everyone (nor will their weight penalty and slightly gravelly patter over clear tarmac) but they've enabled me to safely navigate otherwise impassable rural backwaters at 17mph Smile

Snow tyres snow problem!.jpg
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posted by Shaun Audane [699 posts]
17th January 2014 - 12:43

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Thrifty types could fashion their own using budget cross/mtb rubber, a rivet gun and steel 1/8" pop rivets. I experimented with the concept on my Yak pattern trailer's 16x1.75 wheel last year-worked surprisingly well! Smile

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posted by Shaun Audane [699 posts]
17th January 2014 - 18:36

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@shaun, what country is that? Here is the Republic of Greater Manchester it hasn't been below freezing.

http://uk.weather.com/weather/almanac-Manchester-UKXX0092:1:UK

Note Jan 12 Low 0C is the minimum temperature here all winter and that was at 2am. It hasn't stopped raining for three months though.

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1053 posts]
17th January 2014 - 20:22

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