I started riding a road bike in January 2010. Since then I have ridden more than 28,000 km. I have had some close calls, but had never crashed. I commented on this fact last week to my biker chick. Perhaps a bit too smugly. I should have known better.
About a dozen of us were at the mid-point of the Janamanjung Fellowship Ride. We had just restarted a pace line after a rest stop. I was second or third wheel. I don’t know why, but we started to slow down. 31.5 kph became 20 kph over the span of about 60 metres. I don’t remember slowing down. I do remember glancing to my left for a second to look at a rider who seemed to be struggling. That split second of inattention was all it took. I touched wheels with Mark, and went down.
I landed on my left thigh and hip, and banged my head hard on the tarmac as I rolled at least once onto the grass verge.
Once I got over the initial shock I checked for damage. I had a grazed left knee, a long graze on my left hand, a graze on the point of my left hip, a rapidly swelling bruise on my upper left thigh, a small cut on my left eye brow, scratches on both palms, and a long graze on my right forearm below the elbow.
This photo was relatively soon after the crash. The medics hadn’t arrived yet, and I was still in a bit of a daze.
The medics were soon on the scene. Thy put iodine on the visible grazes, and a bandage on my knee.
If I were a true cyclist I would have checked my bike for damage before worrying about myself.
Immediately obvious to me was the broken right brake / shifter body. The shifter was twisted inward, so it took a hefty hit.
Fortunately the brake and shifter still worked, despite the body being held in place by cable tension.
My buddies noticed that the chain had slipped off the chain rings and below the chain catcher, and that the front derailleur was out of alignment. They whipped out hex wrenches and very quickly got the chain back onto the big ring, and running clear of the front derailleur.
As bike and I were getting patched up, I was told that Chon, also went down behind me. He had a broken right shifter too. Chon’s son, Kai Yang, and Jason had in turn ridden over my bike, but stayed upright. Kai Yang had a flat tire to deal with as a result.
I did two little repair jobs. The first was to straighten my handlebar, which was facing left of centre.
The second repair came after I got going again. The front wheel was out of true. As I was fiddling with a spoke wrench (never leave home without one), Jason told me that he had ridden over my front wheel, and that Kai Yang had too.
Needless to say I am impressed with the durability of my Boyd wheels. The only evidence that two guys had ridden over my front wheel, apart from it being out of true, are some marks on the brake track.
No broken or loose spokes. I was able to reduce the wobble enough for the wheel to turn without rubbing against the brake pads. And that wheel carried me the remaining 60 km to the finish line.
I took a look at the rest of my kit once I got home. My helmet did its job. The damage looks cosmetic only, but this is a good excuse to get a new helmet.
I landed hard on my left hip and upper thigh.
I would have expected a hole or two in my cycling kit. What surprised me was that my bib shorts show no sign of scraping along some tarmac.
It was fortunate that I had arm screens on. I am sure those helped me keep skin on my arms. I have some grazes on my right elbow, and some marks on the back of my left upper arm, but again, minimal evidence of a fall on the arm screens. A small hole in one arm screen is all.
I’ll be writing to both Boyd and Rapha to commend them on the durability of their products.
I am not as durable. I’ve been pretty sore for a few days. The good news is that the doctor at Gleneagles Accident & Emergency confirmed that I haven’t broken anything. It is just a matter of waiting for the haematoma on my thigh to reduce. I also have a slightly separated shoulder, which will sort itself out on its own.
Some would say that given the amount of group riding that I do, a crash was inevitable. My crash was the result of a schoolboy error on my part though. I would have avoided it if I hadn’t been distracted and took my eyes off the rider in front of me.
So my mantra while cycling will be . . .