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Binning it is never nice

Binning it is never nice, but you can effectively manage time off the bike after a fall

Coming off the bike is never nice.

I never crashed a bike when I was 20 stone so I wonder if the extra “padding” I had would've helped cushion the fall?  It's all irrelevant now, the fact is that skin, bone and muscle take a bash when you fall off, asphalt is very unyielding and lycra is about as protective as your mum's best doiley. 

“A cyclist is always between crashes.”

A friend of mine offered that helpful tip to me after binning it.  The next nugget from a club mate was a congratulatory tweet on opening my crash account so early in the winter.   You can't think about crashing even if it is inevitable that at some point you will crash again, it's not the best thing in the world to do, but low-siding on a diesel spill isn't the worst thing either.  There, I'm rationalising it, it's difficult to write how I feel about it but I accept that at some point I might crash again and that's that, there's no point worrying about it, sure I'll take precaution, looking for fuel spills, potholes, dodgy surfaces is part and parcel of riding a bike, being sensible and vigilant is the way forward.

How's the bike?

The worst thing about crashing, the absolute worst thing, is the damage to the bike.  It's always the first thought that fires through your brain after you've kissed the tarmac.  The scratches on levers, damage to paintwork, broken accessories are appraised through a hot flush of shame that you might have done something to prevent the damage to your pride and joy.  Luckily the bike has only sustained superficial damage due to the spills that I've had.

What now?

My latest crash has left me with a damaged UCL (ulnar collateral ligament), which means I get to wear a nice “granny's tights”-coloured thumb support for the next week or two.  Gripping the bars isn't safe at the moment so alternative methods of turning my legs have been secured – yes, it's turbo time.  But what else can you do when you're off the bike for longer than you want to be? 


Nice shade of "Granny tights"!

"Granny tights"

Firstly, get planning, plan what you're aims are for next year and how you're going to achieve them, this might be how you're going to complete your first sportive, do your first 100 miler or in my case, get a Cat 3 race license.

Do your admin.  Get your training plan together, sort your kit out, do any repairs, clean and service the bike, check your tyres over, replace those worn out brake pads that are slowly eating into your rims.  Basically, make sure that when you get back on your bike, both you and your kit are as good as they can be.

Find something you can do.  It's easy to say “I can't ride” then not do anything, you might be able to run though, or ride on a static bike.  Find something to keep you ticking over, for your mental wellbeing as well as your physical health.

Finally, earn some brownie points.  If you've been under pressure from home to put up some shelves, spend more time with the kids, sort out the cycling mags that are slowly overtaking the place or just be around a bit more, then do it.  Use the time away from cycling to those things you've been putting off all summer, get them done as you'll soon be back into the swing of things and they'll be forgotten... again.


This blog is to remind me of these things as I prepare for a bit of time off the bike, most of all though I'll be focussing on what I do after I get back on the road.  Looking for diesel patches will be the primary concern but ice and bad weather are also going to play their part at some point – vigilance and common sense are the best things to keep from falling again.

But now, for me, turbo.  I hate the turbo.  That's definitely the worst thing about crashing.

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Leviathan | 11 years ago

I still have visible grit in my knees 30 years later. Riding your sisters bike and gravel don't mix. Telling a kid they will 'grow into' their own bike is like giving them socks for Christmas.

matthewuniverse | 11 years ago

Opened my account at age five on my first tricycle, tanking down the steep hill at the end of the road. I've had quite big ones in every decade of my life.

Currently off the bike with a cracked pelvis. Can't do a damn thing, can't even get into the bath. The only exercise I get is hauling my sorry arse around on crutches. Damn, are they hard work.

Best thing? The bike is fine.
Worst thing? I did it all by myself, and I was only going about 10mph. #embarrassing.

TheHound | 11 years ago

I had my 1st crash on my 2nd ever ride about 2 months ago.

I was coming off a roundabout when another cyclist that was on the pavement suddenly veered across the road infront of me without looking. Their excuse being they didn't hear a car coming, I now make car noises whenever I ride.

Shook my confidence a bit and badly bruised my elbow to the point I could barely move it for a week. But I'd agree I was far more annoyed about the scratches along my handlebars and rear mech.

I eagerly await my next foray into the world of the floor.

mad_scot_rider replied to TheHound | 11 years ago
TheHound wrote:

... I now make car noises whenever I ride...

Okay - now I have the mental image of you cycling along going

brrrrr - BRRRRRRRR - eeeeeeeeek!

markdkeeley replied to mad_scot_rider | 11 years ago

always between chutes sounds about right - 2 years and I'm sliding down the road again...

lolol | 11 years ago

Tram tracks are the devils work, especially on a road bike, as tyres fit exactly into the track. When I moved to Melbourne I was warned that it was a when not an if regarding a tram track stack.

farrell | 11 years ago

My most recent spill involved wet tram tracks in the middle of Manchester.

No real injuries just the usual cuts/grazes/bruises but I managed to smash up my handlebars and then had to look round to see the sheer number of people that had watched me stack it.

jimbocrimbo | 11 years ago

Know exactly what you mean about the worst thing being damage to the bike.

I had a "chute" at the beginning of this year on a descent. First thing I did on getting off the ground was check the bike. Got my mini tool out (no sniggering) and starightened the bars and stem out and only after doing that noticed the blood pouring out the side of my thumb and forefinger.

Fortunately all the damage was superficial, both myself and the bike.


SamShaw | 11 years ago

Thanks for the GWS wishes!

That funny-looking splint on my thumb seems to be doing some good. I picked up a turbo from a clubmate last night and should get on it at the weekend. Hope everyone else's injuries clear up soon too!

charlie_elise | 11 years ago

Good advice. As someone who is still nursing scars (through lycra, of course) from the spring, I feel your pain.

Know what you mean about the 'crash account' too - I was really lucky, only lost pride, skin and confidence, no broken bones and bike was fine... phew!

Get well soon!

notfastenough | 11 years ago

Also try and get other useful exercise in like weights, stretching and core conditioning. Get well soon, both Sam and Diane.

onlyonediane | 11 years ago

I fully understand your situation and know from experience how frustrating the period off the bike can be. In my case 3 months following surgery to my distal radius. I have only been on the bike about 5 times, mainly due to discomfort. A turbo trainer is on my Christmas wishlist! I wish you a speedy recovery.

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