perspectives on cycling post crash
When you are unable to ride due to injury or sickness, what do you do to pass the time? How do you cope?
I was racing at the oval the other day and wrecked pretty hard. I haven’t ridden since. Normally, I bike every day to commute to work, get groceries, and see friends. The past several days I’ve been taking the bus and longing to get some exercise again. As much as all the crash injuries hurt, it may hurt worse to be sitting from the sidelines for a while.
Meanwhile, I’m mostly relieved that I survived the crash with mostly just road rash and bruises. It could have been a lot worse. I was doing about 25 mph when I overlapped wheels going around a turn. I went down instantly, rolled, and was run over by a few people behind me. Pretty embarrassing… and I feel terrible for taking out the people behind me. Fortunately, they all had fewer injuries and were able to continue the race.
So here I am re-evaluating what I want to get out of cycling. I’m new to racing, and it is pretty fun. At the same time, I’m risk adverse, and really just want to stay fit and healthy. I do live with some degree of fear of being hit by a car, but it appears racing can be dangerous too. I’m certain I’ll continue cycling, but this road rash has a strong voice telling me to be a hell of a lot more careful with my body.
Has anyone else had similar experiences? If so, I’d like to hear how you dealt with the situation and if it changed your perspective on anything.
I’ve beat up my body a good deal both riding a mountain bike in the woods as well as a dirt bike. The fact that I’ve never broken a bone is a miracle in of itself. You get up, brush yourself off and move on… I’m thinking it’s more the embarrassment of wrecking in public that is eating you up.
Not to be insensitive, but how hurt are you? My experience has been (and there’s been a lot of it) that when you’re body is ready to get back on the bike, it will tell you. If you are missing riding, then maybe you can ride now. Not race mind you, but at least commute. I had absolutely zero interest in riding after my most serious crashes. That was probably my body’s (and my brain’s) way of making it easy to forego riding. When I started to miss it, I started riding again. It hurt like heck initially, but I got over it. If you’re missing it, get back on the bike.
So that’s Dr CommuterX’s advice. That and six weeks heals everything.
I will share that the worst I’ve gotten hurt on the bike, it was my own stupid fault, and I wasn’t playing by the rules. Had I been playing by the rules, I would not have ended up in the situation I was in. Since then, I’ve fastidiously adhered to the rules, and though I am bold out on the streets, I am visible and predictable, and so far (knock on whatever) have been doing fine.
I’m in recovery mode myself at the moment. I want to get back on the bike ASAP, but I also want my bones to stay where they are suppose to be – so I’m not quite ready to climb back into the saddle just yet. Oh, and my crash happened in front of 500+ riders so I can empathize with the embarrassment factor.
Back this winter I had a pretty good fall (thanks Brian!) and messed up my knee but thankfully it wasn’t broken just a really deep bruise and a bunch of road rash so I continued riding the bike even though I had difficulty just walking at the time and it hurt like hell too. There is a difference between pain that causes harm and pain that is just discomfort – if it’s just the latter go ahead and get back on the bike and push the pedals.
Just relax and take a break. I was very sick today and worse right now, so I might be out for a few days. Didn’t ride to work today, but felt I need to look after myself. A few days off mean NOTHING! You will be back in no time, so take it easy. Listen to your body. It is a lifestyle, not a few day thing.
Marko sorry to hear of the latest accident, I refuse to take responsibility for your fall over the winter. It couldn’t of been, beer, dark, snow, or perhaps all three, if this was a ploy to get me to feel guilty, failure!! Hope your back on the saddle soon!
If you don’t have anything broken and/or sprained then and you don’t have mental block, I would say, go and start riding easy in an week. I have had numerous sport traumas and every time I started to do some as soon as our sport doctor OK-ed it. A couple years ago I flew over steering bar and was back on my bike in 4 days. After I got my ribs cracked (actually cartilage) — in a week.
Thanks for the input everyone. I think I’ll try to start commuting again tomorrow and see how that goes. Most of the joint pain and swelling is gone now. I can walk without a limp for the most part. My elbow and knee are tight, but that is improving. The road rash is a pain, but I can see improvement. I figure I might be able to start training again in a week.
@ B.S. Marko sorry to hear of the latest accident, I refuse to take responsibility for your fall over the winter.
IIRC, it was I who supplied the alcohol and possibly other intoxicants, then damaged Marko82’s innocence and purity by exposing him to dancing women and Jazz music. I guess I should take some of the blame?
For the record, I will happily ride with either one or both of you guys (with or without intoxicants) any time. Especially if it includes dancing women, music, mud, alcohol, food, political debate, sunscreen, snow, tail-winds, stargazing…
Brybot glad to here you’re not too hurt and are on the mend. Racing is definnitely dangerous always, but keep in mind that some types of racing are more dangerous than others.
Racing at a beginner level at the oval is fairly dangerous and as you found out it only takes one touch of wheels to go down. I would be willing to wager that criterium racing is the most dangerous type of bike racing in general. You can definitely race criteriums with hardly ever crashing though as proved by people with more skill than me.
I find other types of racing, hilly road races & cyclocross, to be much less dangerous. Hilly road races thin fields out so you don’t have as many people to worry about. Cyclocross because most of the time you are on dirt and that hurts a lot less than pavement.
PS All pictures are from his blog (in Russian) http://velolive.com/velo_name/yaroslav_popovych_giro_2013-tour_2012/
I recently used a product called DuoDERM that was great for road rash. It’s a gel that creates a dry film over top of the wound that prevented any oozing and thus prevents the scab from attaching to the dressing. I’m not a doctor so I cant comment on its effectiveness medically, but it was real nice not to tear half your skin off when removing the dressing. In fact I just quit putting a bandage on since this stuff worked so well as a barrier.
I got my tube off of a family member, but here it is on Amazon:
Brian, I too went down at the oval (2 years ago though).
The rider in front of me overlapped wheels in the final sprint and I was left w/ nowhere to go and hit him in the face. He lost some teeth, I broke my clavicle and got a concussion.
I haven’t been back since, the oval races aren’t worth the risk for me. I’ve done one road race since, where the pack separates some avoiding the mass sprint at the end, so risk is a little lower.
Anyways, I’ve filled that gap in my life by taking up mountain biking, which is a different challenge and injuries are usually of your own doing. ;)
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