The best way to fall off?

by vanmildert   April 23, 2014  

We've all fallen off haven't we? Any tips on how to have a 'good' fall. I've heard rolling can prevent a collarbone break but I'm not sure it's as easy as it sounds!

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Stay clipped in and keep your hands on the bars. You'll skin yourself, but shouldn't break much.

Its when you reach out in a natural reaction to break the fall that you break things.

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posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 21:31

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The basic idea, I believe, is to try and roll. I don't think it's very easy to do and have the collarbone to prove it!

IMHO, if you're going to come off, you're not going to be prepared for it, else you wouldn't be coming off...

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

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posted by jmaccelari [151 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 21:33

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To the left....don't want to snap off the hanger and dérailleurs

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [524 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 21:36

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As gkam said keep ur hands on the bars , if it's sliding out from underneath you try to take it on the hip and upper arm ....it will hurt but as soon as you put the arm out to break ur fall there's only one of two things ur breaking .....wrist or collarbone .

Of course if it's a head on or a rear shunt ur screwed and it's pure luck on what injuries you end up with

posted by chiv30 [859 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 21:37

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In the moment before a crash i doubt I have the cognitive abilities to orchestrate a roll, or to think, let's not out my hands out

Specialized Allez 2009, Campagnolo Centaur 10, Campagnolo Shamal Wheels. 8.3kg

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posted by Miles253 [198 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 21:43

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+1 for fighting your instincts to put your hand/arm out to stop your fall, it makes for a single point of contact for all that force which will transmit up your arm resulting in a broken wrist or clavicle. Keeping your hands on the bars already sort of tucks you up so you can roll with the fall and disperse the force over your body trading road rash for fractures. Almost fell hard while riding in the rain when I hit a patch of gravel yesterday, kept my hands on the bars and was able to wrench the bike and myself upright but my club mates thought I was hitting pavement for sure. This video actually is pretty good about going through different crash scenarios, the cheesy animation even grows on you over time ...

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oHGfzeH6Qg4

Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs

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posted by movingtarget [134 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 22:19

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movingtarget wrote:
+1 for fighting your instincts to put your hand/arm out to stop your fall, it makes for a single point of contact for all that force which will transmit up your arm resulting in a broken wrist or clavicle. Keeping your hands on the bars already sort of tucks you up so you can roll with the fall and disperse the force over your body trading road rash for fractures. Almost fell hard while riding in the rain when I hit a patch of gravel yesterday, kept my hands on the bars and was able to wrench the bike and myself upright but my club mates thought I was hitting pavement for sure. This video actually is pretty good about going through different crash scenarios, the cheesy animation even grows on you over time ...

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oHGfzeH6Qg4

Excellent video - thanks and thanks to all the commentators in general.

posted by vanmildert [30 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 22:37

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Yeah that video was rather informative actually, thanks for sharing

Specialized Allez 2009, Campagnolo Centaur 10, Campagnolo Shamal Wheels. 8.3kg

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posted by Miles253 [198 posts]
24th April 2014 - 6:58

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The best ones have always been where the bikes come out from under me and I've managed to land and slide on my side. This normally only happens when it's wet or I'm going quickly!

My brain normally isn't functioning quick enough to realise I need to keep my hands on the bars! Good advice from all there though Big Grin

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posted by mooleur [542 posts]
24th April 2014 - 8:16

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Most important is to make sure you land underneath your bike whenever possible, protect it any way you can.

posted by Nick T [796 posts]
24th April 2014 - 8:31

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Both times I have binned it and broken bones recently it was too quick for me to do a thing.

1st time it was so quick (on ice) there was no time to take my hands off the bars. My hand hit the tarmac- still on the hoods and broke fairly spectacularly. The doctors were fairly impressed by how many bits the bone was in.

2nd time in a timetrial on a roundabout I lost the front wheel and went strainght over. I hit my head as I rolled but most of the impact was on my back. I still managed to break a collarbone.

Neither time did I put my hand out, sometimes it is just bad luck (or stupidity for riding when there might be ice)

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
24th April 2014 - 8:36

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My memories of falls are, one second I was upright, the next I was on the tarmac (or trail). Time to think about it; no chance. Perhaps on a virtually stationary front wheel slip (leaves, ice) or an 'SPD moment', but then it's so benign that the only thing you're worried about is looking like a bit of a muppet!

Shades

posted by Shades [195 posts]
24th April 2014 - 10:10

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However you do it, do it spectacularly Cool

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posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [583 posts]
24th April 2014 - 10:53

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The problem is that you need to practice something like this so that it becomes part of your muscle memory. Watch any martial arts class and see how many times they fall over (and practice falling over).

That said, I have seen a slo-mo breakdown of a crash in the TdF, *think* it was Geraint Thomas. It was very well-handled. Basically, he's on a bend, but the rider in front has crashed and there is no way round it, so he:

1. Stands the bike upright - it's now headed for the off-road on the outisde of the turn
2. Unclips his feet
3. lets the bike go
4. Clear of the bike, drops into a forward/sideways roll
5. Gets back up without a scratch, recovers the bike, carries on!

Now yes, I can hear a couple of you grumbling that GT has had a bit more practice than most recently, but he's a class bike rider and that's awesome mental focus to be able to pull this off in the heat of the moment.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3094 posts]
24th April 2014 - 11:11

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Nick T wrote:
Most important is to make sure you land underneath your bike whenever possible, protect it any way you can.

This, times lots. Skin mends. Shiny bits don't.

posted by andyp [860 posts]
24th April 2014 - 11:19

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Upwards.

Or Slowly.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [815 posts]
24th April 2014 - 12:56

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From personal experience, preparation is key. Rarely will a fall just happen, there is always some build up. Even going into a corner too hot, you should know you are pushing it and be prepared.

I used to do a fair bit of trampolining and touch wood, this has been very useful for me when it comes to remaining in control during crashes.

One thing I see a lot is the rabbit in the headlights approach to crash situations. it all starts to go wrong, and the instant reaction is to tense up and wait for death.

Often a timely dab can save you from a fall, or at least break it a bit (although without fail it'll destroy your cleats and damage your shoes).

I've always put a hand out when I've gone out, and again, touch wood, never bust a collar bone or shoulder.

For me its key to try and dissipate kinetic energy as gently as possible, that's why things get broken; the energy asked to be absorbed by the bone is too great. So, when you don't put a hand out, the impact force of whatever hits the ground first will be greater than if you did put your hand out to start that energy absorption earlier.

However as mentioned, if you put your hand in the wrong position, or are unable to put it down in a way the arm can bend, all the shock is automatically going into quite an exposed chain of bones.

Its a fascinating subject. My advice would be to start MTB riding (lots of crash practice) and take up trampolining. Have fun.

posted by Jimmy Ray Will [262 posts]
24th April 2014 - 13:04

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Interesting thread and +1 on mountain biking - the ground is softer as well.....
The only one I disagree with is the over the handle bars as if you get that wrong, you could break your neck. I used to do judo a long time ago and the way you are taught to roll head over heals is to lead with an arm to guide the roll, preferably hitting the deck with the back of your hand and your arm slightly bent. You then roll over the arm, tuck your chin into your chest and roll. So far so good for me (but I wouldn't want to tempt fate).

Have a look here
How to roll forward in JUDO (taekwonwoo): http://youtu.be/E1NY2OH2UhE

posted by arfa [480 posts]
24th April 2014 - 13:41

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Try for jazz hands half way, just in case someone is looking.

posted by bikebot [490 posts]
24th April 2014 - 17:13

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Chris Froome demonstrates the most important thing when falling...

http://chrisfroomelookingatstems.tumblr.com/post/58103461310/never-take-...

posted by CapriciousZephyr [27 posts]
24th April 2014 - 23:03

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