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Anyone else used their face to break their fall?(11 posts)

Anyone else used their face to break their fall?bcm
Mar 29, 2001 7:13 PM
Went out for a quick ride yesterday - nice weather, not too cool, a little bit of sun (in Adelaide, Australia). About 20km ride to a little town here in the hills. On the way back descending down a hill, when I noticed something wet on the road - water? oil? Wasn't sure but I made sure to avoid it. Slowed down to about 35-40 kph but managed to collect the side of this oil slick (as I later found out). The bike slid out from under me and I went sliding.

The result? Bike - scratched right brake lever , ripped off handlebar tape, scratched pedal, and scratched rear derailleur on the bike. Luckily I didn't scratch the frame:) Me - few scratches on hands, knees, graze on shoulder, hip, graze on side of face, and somehow I managed to mash my upper lip on the road in the process (needed a whole bunch of stitches and now my face looks like Donald Duck.)

My thoughts as I fell down were along the lines of trying to save my bike from being scratched (its only a month old - Cannondale CAAD4/Ultegra), then after I realized that I'd hit my face, was my face all cut up?

Do most cyclists think of the welfare of their bikes before that of themselves during a fall? Or am I just a little odd?
I tried to...Red
Mar 29, 2001 7:53 PM
Last year I was commuting home from work at 11pm on my roadie-wannabee mountain bike (1.5" road tires, high psi, etc) when I found a 2" lip recently caused by a grader machine for road construction. As I flew through the air at around 20 mph, the only thing I thought of was "oh no, my bike!" I hit the ground, rolled several times, ended up in some bush on the side of the road. Didn't even consider if I was hurt, i checked out the bike (Gotta have priorities, even more important when you're 10 miles from home and it's almost pitch black out!)... poor bike, it was bad. Both wheels were severily bent and, best part, my headlight was destroyed. I could have cried.

When you get in a car accident or bike accident or etc, all your friends and family say.. "Well at least you're ok, the car/bike/whatever is just stuff." But, I always say, "You'll heal, your stuff won't."

Ah, nothing like a 10 mile ride well after midnight without any forward illumination other than the moonless sky. Actually I rather enjoyed it. :)

And yes, I've since bought a road bike and a proper lighting system. I also carry a spare headlight in my pannier.
I tried to...Laris
Mar 29, 2001 8:41 PM
Exactly 2 years ago I was hit by a hit-and-run driver. It was a warm and sunny afternoon. The car hit me squarely from behind at 50 mph+. I was shot from the bike as if from a cannon. My first thought was not about the condition of the bike. (I might have been subliminally aware that the low-end mountain bike was a lost cause.) I thought that this was a gruesome and stupid way to die. In proverbial slow-mo I asked myself if I was ready to die. The answer was a resounding "No!" I realized that I would soon slam my face into the road if I just let the physics play out. That woulda been The End. I used my shoulders and hips to do a half-twist in the air and I managed to land on my side (30 ft from where I was hit). I broke my knee-cap, badly bruised my hip, tore up the back of my right hand and then slammed the side of my helmet into the road. I caved in the side of the helmet, but my skull didn't take any of the initial shock. My helmet didn't have a securing device in back, so it slide backwards and I scrapped my forehead along the road for a few feet. (I kept the plastic surgeon busy for 2 hours that evening picking road grit out of the hamburger on my right temple.) I saw another car about 100 yards back and I figured that getting hit once was sufficient. I managed to crawl to the side of the road before collapsing. It turns out that my left thumb had stayed behind the handelbar so the joint snapped and it had to be pinned.
Never did catch the hit-and-run creep. 2 months later I was back on a bike. (I'm 48.) From my "uninsured driver's clause" settlement I got my first real road bike a year later. Love biking more that ever. What doesn't kill, you makes you stronger!
re: Anyone else used their face to break their fall?donalson
Mar 30, 2001 12:04 AM
one of my best chick friends did...

she was about 13 or so, flying down a pretty steep hill on her POS huffy MTB somehow she just lost control, fell and fell of the bike, next thing she knew she was in a ditch (she ended up corssing a street while off the bike (it was a 3 way stop type of street) when she woke up from it, her nose was broken, bleeding all over her face, her lower lip riped from her jaw (ouch) and her helmet split in 2...this is the largest factor in my wearing a helmet at all times on a bike now (i normaly would but if it was across teh street or someting i'd just hop on)

somehow she was ok, and still one of the most beutifuly girls i know :)

Check out the latest VelonewsPaulCL
Mar 30, 2001 5:06 AM
There is a photo of a female pro about to hit face first into the pavement. From the article, she required 32 stitches. OUCH.

When I had a serious accident a few years ago, my first thought was to get my bike out of the middle of the road. So, I crawled on the pavement and dragged it into the ditch. Then I started screaming in pain. Funny, it was a couples days before I could move without intense pain, but getting my bike to safety was priority #1. Is there something wrong with us????
re: Anyone else used their face to break their fall?Joey
Mar 30, 2001 5:19 AM
im way way way too beautiful to risk any facial damage. you are nuts.
Protect the bikePsyDoc
Mar 30, 2001 5:28 AM
Years ago when I was still living in Fullerton, CA, my buddy and I had a regular loop that would take us through part of the campus at California State University, Fullerton that I was attending at the time. One warm and sunny day, as we were riding through the outer part of the campus, a very attractive coed crosses my path. A leisurely right-hand turn was coming up, but my eyes and the coed's eyes locked and I just could not look away. When she turned away, I looked forward only to see that I needed to turn right then! As I began the sharp turn, my front wheel started to slide out from under the bike as there was some dirt/sand from where one of the maintenance workers had edged the grass.

As I went down, all I could think about was "Don't let the bike hit the ground." So, I was still clipped in my Look pedals using my legs to keep the bike off the ground. The outside of my right cheek took the brunt of it as I slide about 7-10 feet. My friend came riding up beside me and there was actual concern in his voice as he asked me if I was alright. When I said that I was fine, he literally fell off his bike laughing. Between gasps for air, he was saying stuff like, "I can't believe you were checking out that chick and crashed," "Dude, you're an idiot," "Was it worth sliding on your ass?" etc. When I looked over my shoulder toward where I saw the coed last walking, she had turned, smiled, and waved. I never did see the coed again...perhaps for the better, but my sore butt was a painful, but funny reminder of the incident.

I lost touch with my buddy about 7 years ago. Then, about a week ago he sent me an e-mail. He found me via A few days later, we talked on the phone and within the first 10 minutes he said, "Do you remember when you crashed checking out that chick at Cal-State?"
Before most of you were bornLAIrish
Mar 30, 2001 9:57 AM
I was a student at UCLA. It's a pretty good size campus so my bike was an important part of my transportation. (Back then, they were just called "ten speeds.")

So, I'm coming down this hill past one of the dorms when, like you, I spy this lovely young thing. I glance at her for just a second (not even getting the "our eyes locked" thing). When I turn my attention back to the road, I realize that I've got just a little too much speed to make the curve in the road ahead. I hold the breaks as best I can without skiddng and . . . . . . . . . . CRASH into the curb. The bike stops and I go sailing about 30 feet (well, it felt like that) through the air. But, with the hill below me, I've got sort of an arc. So, as the ground comes up at me, I reach out, tuck, and sort of somersault, taking the brunt of the force on my book filled back pack. I come up onto my feet on the run (momentum wins again) and jog to a stop. The 30 people standing at the corner waiting for the light start to applaud.

I go back to my bike and find the front wheel is DOA. Took me a month to earn the money to replace it. (Hey, I was a starving student.)

Never did meet the chick.
re: Anyone else used their face to break their fall?Ian
Mar 30, 2001 5:35 AM
I was doing a Saturday morning ride with a group of ten. One person hit an oil slick and three people went down. One of them had just built up his new Specialized Festina Team bike the night before. He was laying in the road, unable to move, asking how his bike was. He bent the handlebar and tore the bar tape, but no scratches on the levers or derailleur. And he was fine other than a small tweak in his back.
Save the biketommyb
Mar 30, 2001 6:14 AM
I was following a friend down a steep descent during the Hilly Hellacious Hundred last year, when his absolutely stunning, beautiful, new IF slid out from under him. I almost crashed my 12 year old bike laughing at the sight of him sliding across the apex of the turn on his butt, holding the frame above the ground. Ruined a new pair of shorts, lost a lot of skin and a little blood, but finished the ride on an immaculate machine.

Instinct should take over to protect our kids, our loved ones and our own bodies, but our love of our machines is often far too great.
I did last year....Cartman
Mar 31, 2001 11:49 AM
Same injury types. I wasn't paying full attention, and at 20 mph on a flat section, I ran off the tar and onto the shoulder. I tried to come back on, bu the lip was too big. I went ass over tea kettle, and landed on my shoulder/face/knees. I had road rash on my upper lip, chin, and front two teeth, as well as my knees, shoulder and a big black and blue on my hip. The bike fared well, a small scratch on the hoods, and that was it. I rode the 8 or so miles home, then bandaged myself up. I learned an important lesson - PAY ATTENTION!