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Crashing(17 posts)

Jan 21, 2002 7:39 PM
This may sound stupid, probably get a lot of moronic comments about it as well.

What kind of crashes do you experience road riding? I mountain bike currently (road bike is on its way) and the crashes I experience there I can see happening on the road.

Just trying to see what I get to look forward too with my new toy.

Thanks, and please keep the replies on topic.
"Buy used"Elefantino
Jan 21, 2002 8:10 PM
Sorry. Scot made me do it.

Now, about crashes. I am the board's resident expert on crashes.

My best advice: Avoid tree branches in the road. You've heard about mothers warning their children about breaking their neck? Well, don't run over tree branches. You very well could have the branch lodge between your fork, wheel and downtube, lock up your front wheel, catapult you over the bars, land on your head, break your neck, have the paramedics cut off YOUR FAVORITE JERSEY in order to take your vital signs, spend a week in intensive care, wear a neck collar for three months, spend three months in rehab ... (OK, Mike, shuddup!!)

That said (!), the most common crashes you'll likely experience, if you're unlucky:
• Tight corners: Your rear tire will give way either because of water or oil on the road, or you'll accidentally catch your inside pedal on the road and lay down. Not a bad crash, but you'll get road rash and probably lose a pair of shorts.
• Watch riding in groups, too. Keep your eyes on the road ahead, not the rear end of the person in front of you, even if it's tempting.
• Don't pass on the inside, either.
• And watch out for cars. Most people share the road. A small minority think we're targets.
• And if you're using new clipless pedals for the first time, practice, practice, practice. Clipping in and falling is embarassing, particularly if you do it in the middle of a large group.

Most likely, though, you'll be fine. Enjoy the road.

"Buy used"VetteRacer
Jan 21, 2002 10:15 PM
Sounds as bad as my friends collar bone I helped him break (took him for his first real mtn bike ride, 3 months later and no sign of the bone healing yet DOH!!!).

I got some X2 pedals in the mail right now, I use the frogs on mtn so hopefully wont have any problems(hopefully wont in the corners either due to these and 172.5 arms). Been using some sort of clipless (747's before the frogs) since I started riding for real. Although I do fall over on occasion anyways, forget to unclip or unclip the wrong foot while in wind, funny more then painful though usually.

The rest doesnt sound too bad. As long as the cars stay clear of me! I am getting used, sorta, if you call less then 250 miles in mint shape used ;). But the price was right, especially for a first road bike. (Its a Gold Y77, loved the frame since I saw it, have a Y33 mtn bike that will sorta match it).

Thanks for the info. Hopefully wont experience any of it, atleast not for along time.
Try not to endo going downhill!!spookyload
Jan 21, 2002 10:46 PM
If you are riding alone, your chances of crashes will be far less likely. As for you pedals, you will find them exactly like your mtn pedals. Your newest enemys besides the cars are dogs and glass/anything sharp. With the dogs remember that they can only track targets on a 2 dimensional plane, so if you swerve while accelerating, their tracking system will be more likely to break target lock. Watch out for the cars while swerving though. And the glass thing is way worse than any cactus or sticker vine ever thought of being. I would make sure to have some sort of tire repair boot for repairing slashed tires. I don't tend to get many flats, but when I do, inevitably they include a gashed tire.
Try not to endo going downhill!!VetteRacer
Jan 22, 2002 12:37 AM
I encountered a dog on my mtn bike, have a set of rims with some conti road tires on them.. I was happy I didnt have a HRM, it would have been going crazy. I started hammering and had to kick the dog once it got next to me. That was one of the ice breakers for getting a road frame.

The tires I got have some tube protectors in them, I plan on running them for normal riding, and will carry a pair of 700 tubes in my hydration pack (or saddle pack/jersey pocket if I decide to ditch the pack for road).

When you say tire repair, do you mean tube or is there something I should get for tires also?

no...a bootspookyload
Jan 22, 2002 7:15 AM
I use one by park tools. It is a piece of very heavy vinal about 1.5"x3" you put inside the tire if you get a slash in the tire. It covers the hole, so a new tube you put in doesn't just blow out the same hole. It is small and will fit inside any seatpack.
dollar billlonefrontranger
Jan 22, 2002 6:48 PM
best tire boot ever invented. The silk thread in the money is way stronger than anything mfgrs come up with, and you should always have a couple bucks with you when you road ride anyhow. You get your buck back when you switch tires, as you should never continue riding on a gashed tire anyways.
DogsDave Hickey
Jan 22, 2002 3:41 AM
My only wreck has been when a dog cut in front of me and I went down hard.
re: Crashingbiknben
Jan 22, 2002 6:40 AM
I have just two personal experiences with crashes. Sand on the road during cornering caused a crash. I laid the bike down and slid under the bumper of a car infront of me. That one wasn't too bad. Another time I was in a paceline and hit I chunk of broken curb. Front tire deflated immediately and washed out from underneath me. That one was bad.

IMO, pacelines and animals will get ya sooner or later.

Don't flame me for mentioning the paceline. A lot of cyclist in such close proximity can be a recipe for disaster. I still ride in groups but I use extra caution.

Keep the rubber side down.
re: CrashingLone Gunman
Jan 22, 2002 7:00 AM
My last memorable crash was a large patch of loose gravel @ slow speed while turning. Skinny tires don't handle it well and the best bet is to hit the gravel while going straight forward and blast through it if it can not be avoided.
Not the samemr_spin
Jan 22, 2002 8:54 AM
I've never crashed on my road bike, although I've come close a few times. I can't really say why, although I do have pretty good bike handling skills and I don't race.

On the other hand, I've crashed dozens of times on my mountain bike. A few were quite serious, but nothing life threatening or even bad enough to keep my from riding home. Brush yourself off, get back on and go.

In almost all of the crashes I've had, I know why it happened. (If you don't do post-crash analysis, you will crash the same way again). A lot of times terrain is a huge factor. The bike slips into a rain gully and locks up, the wheels slip out on sand or mud. Sometimes it is positioning--I get too far forward on a drop off and the bike rotates over. Sometimes it is lack of speed. Going down steps (rock ledges) where you can't pedal, if you run out of forward momentum, you'll do a spectacular nose wheelie and then plummet to earth.

Few of these situations occur on road bikes. You might hit sand, ice, or small rocks in the apex of a turn, but generally you can see that coming a lot better than if you were on dirt.

On the road I think you are more likely to crash doing group riding than anything else. Guy breaks hard or swerves in a paceline, guy brushes shoulders or touches wheels, etc. All you can do here is try to pick the right group.

I don't know what kind of mountain biker you are, but if you do a lot of technical riding, that is a huge asset on the road. You'll read terrain better, you'll corner better, you'll handle your bike better. You might even learn how to crash better (ride the bike down). These skills alone will save your butt a few times.

By the way, if you crash, try to get your feet above your head. It looks better for any spectators. For you, not so good! But it is better to look good than to feel good!
re: CrashingTroyboy
Jan 22, 2002 11:05 AM
In my riding groups, one type of crash was unusually common I thought. Hitting a bump in the road while using a very light grip on the bars. Arms fly off and you're screwed. It has happened to me and to others. Some go down, some don't. Depends upon the circumstances. I have learned to utilize a firm enough grip so that if I hit a good size bump (few inches), I won't go down. Another danger that has been mentioned is sand or gravel. Whether or not you're turning, it's a danger. Last year I was pulling a group of 7 along a riverbed. We were cookin', goin' straight and we hit a patch of sand. I felt myself hydroplane and nearly go down taking all the others behind with me. Another is wheel hitting. If you hit another rear wheel with yours in front, lean into the wheel you hit and try to mash it. When people go down from this it's typically because they bounce off the wheel so far, they go down the opposite way. Mash the wheel in front of you and try to stay up.

Good luck. I've got great experience with road rash if you ever need. Perfect steps to scarless healing.
re: Crashinggrzy
Jan 22, 2002 11:20 AM
Road bike crashes are much different. They don't happen as often and you usually get way more injured. Take a series of close calls as a warning - you're riding too aggressive and will come up short very soon. You can be totally right, but still wind up in the hospital or dead.

Endos happen when you run into things like cars, but most of the time you're going too fast for the situation and these are pretty avoidable if you ride defensively. An endo on a road bike is a very serious thing since your head is likely to be ther first thing to come in contact with the pavement. There's the whole slide-out thing when you miss judge the conditions of the corner or it's radius. Technique can help a lot here, but not much is going to tell you when there is a load of sand in the road or a cattle guard. Look for cues as you're riding along. Then there's the tangle-with-another-cyclist type of crash. Usually one or both parties aren't that skilled or experienced riding in close quarters. Touch wheels and there's about a 90% chance that someone is going down like a sack of spuds - usually the guy who makes contact with his front wheel. Informal group rides and even organized events are prime conditions for this. You're riding with lots of people that you don't know and of various abilities. Learn to critically assess both your and others abilities - if someone is unpridictable back off and give them room. If they want to leach onto you stop and pretend to take a break - get them in front of you or else drop the hammer and get away. Then there's the whole dumb-ass category which is mostly preventable, but being humans we make mistakes. Cornering hard on brand new tires. Not securing the front skewer. Sucking loose clothing into the wheels. Riding on worn out tires. Finally there's the not-much-one-can-do-about-it category - like the redneck in the pick'em up truck that deliberately runs you off the road or the kids with the paintball gun. A helmet/glasses mounted mirror is about the best you can do.

Ultimately you don't want to ride like a scared rabbit, but you need to develop a sense of when it's time to back off a bit. If you're not comfortable then ease up. Road bike crashes mean street pizza with extra bacon and typically your ride is over and your bike is wacked. Worse case you get a neck collar, backboard and an ambulance ride. Having a copy of your health inusrance info and contact info can really save tremendous hassles later with insurance companies. In comparison crashing on a MTB is almost enjoyable and certainly a lot more humorous. Rememeber if you want to ride like a race then enter a race where the conditions are a lot more controlled and people's abilities are sorted out by categories.
here is my word tooWoof the dog
Jan 22, 2002 11:42 AM
Second that on new tires, they are a bit slippery. If putting new ones on for a race, take a small file and rough 'em up on the sides a little bit, or better yet, ride 'em before the race for one or two rides and you are all set.

There are many crashes you may experience, some will certainly happen where you don't expect them to. Crashes that happened to me so far were from my error or from underestimating the conditions when I should have been more careful. A number of them involved sand in corners, even in dry weather. There are certain corners that I specifically promised myself not to corner fast and lean far. Going down would be bad and that would also be a real embarrasement. Other crashes happen in packs where people overlap wheels. Usually you can get away with it as people are more or less predictable, but when packs get frisky at the end before/during the sprints, you hear "oh shitt" + all these strange and somehow a little bit satisfying long noises of scraping metal on the asphalt. At that point you feel so happy it is behind you! The point is, race defensively at first and don't swerve all over the place, be smooth. Respect cars because they are bigger than you, make eye contact with drivers.
Learn to continue leaning into someone's rear wheel or you will likely go down if you try to bounce off as quick as you can. Try being on the inside of the corners as people slide out to the outside. Beware of high speed wobbles. Do the maximum of braking with your front brake when you are not leaning or your skinny tire will lose traction and that will cause you to hit pavement with your bars, knees and arms, or more if going faster. You probably know this better since you are a mtn biker.
Usually, a road crash involves some pain because you are riding on sand paper literally. If you ever heard a story about a cat that was wiping its asss on a rug in a living a woman placed a large sandpaper mat instead of a rug, so only cat's ears made it all the way to the end of that mat....the point is, count on losing some skin. Its good to wear a base layer as it allows you to slide better. At home you must have some neosporin, plenty of sterile bandages (the bigger the better) not just your stupid bandaids, and that special medical tape that you can rip into strips easily. Here is a tip, after your crash, show up at the local hospital and ask for bandages, just don't get "seen." Huge chances they will give you some bandages for free.


Woof, the me loco dog.
Well...Greg Taylor
Jan 22, 2002 12:17 PM
...falling off is something that you expect to do with some frequency on a Mountain Bike -- if you don't, you aren't trying hard enough. Not so on a road bike.

Like folks have already said, a wreck on a roadbike is a bit more serious and usually include some injury (scrapes, etc) and mechanical mayhem. The thing that annoys me is that I usually wind up ruining a cool jersey or set of tights every time I go down. Last time I ruined a helmet too...

As for causes, in my experience the no. 1 cause for wrecking on a road bike is going too fast for conditions and getting surprised by something. Bombing around a corner and hitting a patch of sand or oil, for example. Or getting surprised by a car at an intersection.

I've also had a couple of spills as a result of mechanical maladies. For example, coming unclipped while out of the saddle and sprinting (bad, bad, bad), or having a chain break during an climb (instant gonad plant on the top tube).

Other times, it is other people that do you in...getting punted in a pace line, or run off of the road by a driver. Both are mercifully rare...

Don't let any of that scare's a ton of fun, and your mountain biking will really improve with the fitness base that you will get from all of the road miles that you will be piling up. And your bike-handling skills on the mountain bike will certainly help on the when you have to bunny hop over a pot-hole while cranking along at 25 mph in a pace line...
re: Crashingdolmencc
Jan 22, 2002 4:35 PM
i haven't crashed yet, plenty of close shaves though.
while leading a pace line i hit a large bump (riding into sun so poor visibility) and my hands came off and my weight moved forward. very close call that one, managed to keep the bars straight. notice how it seems to happen in slow motion?
had a flashback later that night

while riding second from the back of another pace line, on what should have been a very good surface at about 24 mph.
there were two medium sized rocks (fist sized) straight in front.
the guy leading us out saw it too late, by time i had a chance to react i barely missed the rock, unfortunatly the guy behind me wasn't so lucky it jammed under his wheel and he ended up over the bars. he hit the ground hard, badly broke his elbow and collar bone. his helmet was cracked open. if he wasn't wearing the helmet it would have been much worse.

bottom line don't leave home without your helmet.
i'd be very wary of using a helmet again after an accident, most reputable companies have a helmet replacement service
re: CrashingWoof the dog
Jan 22, 2002 7:48 PM
yeah right, I especially like Giro's replacement policy...NOT!!!!!!