I am a bit of a fair weather cycling wimp. I live in Seattle, but hate riding in the rain. Wow! Did I ever move to the wrong place! Anyway, this November has lived up to Seattle’s reputation with lots of damp days and very little commuting for me. Last Wednesday, I headed out for what would have been only my third bike commute in two weeks. I was riding on a lovely multi-use trail enjoying the fall foliage. Suddenly and without warning I found myself flying through the air like superman. The experience was exhilarating, but very short. The fun ended when I hit the ground. It seems that the leaves on the trail were concealing a softball sized rock. It stopped my bike, but I kept going.
I was super lucky. My injuries included a scrape on my knee, chin and a bruise on my forehead. The bike suffered some scratched bar tape, scratches on a brake lever and a pinch flatted front tube. A nice gentleman who saw my super hero impersonation gave me a ride home. Even though I was not hurt, such a jarring experience will certainly shake a cyclist’s confidence. The only cure is to get back on your bike. Here are the steps I took to get back on my bike.
When you go full Superman, you are not likely to have a pretty landing. I landed on my chest and bounced my bead off the ground as I came sliding to a stop. Instantly I was grateful I was wearing a helmet. Not only did it absorb the impact, but it also kept my face from skidding on the pavement. Sadly the helmet sacrificed itself for me. From the outside there are quite a few scratches and some of the polystyrene has been compressed and deformed. On the inside, after removing the helmet lining, there are a couple cracks visible. This helmet it toast. However, if you or one of your riding companions seek medical attention be sure to show the medical staff the helmet. The medical staff will examine the helmet to determine the force and location of the impact.
My only option was to buy a new helmet. I bought a new Bell Super 2 with MIPS and an integrated camera mount. This helmet is more of a mountain bike helmet than a road lid, therefore it is a bit heavier and robust. It also comes with an integrated helmet mount for a light or camera. Sweet! Once I have a few miles in under my new hat, I will write a review. Next up before you get back on the road is checking on the bike.
My bike took a pretty big hit when I went airborne. It is important to check it out before you get back on the road. My bike is an aluminum 1988 Cannondale ST1000 and is not as delicate as some carbon dream machines, but I still checked it out thoroughly before putting it back on the road. I pinch flatted the front tire, so obviously I installed a new tube. Since this is where the majority of the impact was absorbed, I carefully checked the rim from cracks and scratches. I also put it in my truing stand and trued the wheel. Once this was complete, I cleaned the bike as shown in my earlier post The Deep Clean. This gives me the opportunity to examine the bike in great detail looking for cracks to the frame and damage to any components. After the bike is clean I took it out on a short test ride to make sure everything worked properly. The last thing to check is yourself before riding again.
My little crash was very minor. I could have replaced my tube and continued my ride. Even so, I was a bit shaken by going airborne. It was a week before my new helmet arrived and I could again. Injuries were not an issue. I was a little nervous and cautious when I first started out. I figure that anything that makes you pay attention to safety while riding is a good thing. However, I have had friends who could not ride for months after a crash. Only you know when you are ready to ride, but I believe the sooner you get back on your bike the better.