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Crash Report

Old 09-01-19, 05:59 PM
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Equinox
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Crash Report

Perfect ride. Having a blast on a rolling country road. I was going straight, and I hit a pile of loose gravel in the gully. It grabbed my front wheel, and that was that. My mate went over the top of me. I have lots of abrasions and a couple of lacerations that required stitches. My helmet kept my face off the ground. No concussion. No broken bones. My mate had a concussion (mild) and a broken collarbone. I think I'm starting to heal OK. A little more pain today than yesterday. Not into pain medications.

I remember everything, and I'm trying to figure out if there was anything I could have done to avoid this. It was not a big gully. I did not see the gravel. It was the same color of the road. I'm normally aware of gravel like this after periods of heavy rain. You know how gravel accumulates in areas where there may be run off, but it's been dry here for quite awhile.

I have a custom frame, and I'm stuck with 23mm tires. There is zero clearance between the seat stay ann the rear tire. I wonder if say 25mm tires would have handled it better. I am an extremely cautious rider. This is my first crash in 17 years as a serious cyclist. I accepted that it was a dangerous sport, and I don't think I know a rider personally who hasn't crashed. I am a big fan of Zwift for the past 4 or 5 years, so I look forward to transitioning to that. I'm going to have to ask myself a serious question; "Are the risks of road cycling something I want to accept anymore?"
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Old 09-02-19, 07:17 AM
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That's terrible about the crash, and I hope you and your friend recover swiftly.
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Old 09-02-19, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
That's terrible about the crash, and I hope you and your friend recover swiftly.
Thank you. I seem to be healing OK. I feel bad for my friend. Immediately after the crash, I thought she was hurt much worse.
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Old 09-02-19, 10:20 AM
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May I point out that on a trike it would have been a non event. At the most you might have gotten a little sideways. Just saying.
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Old 09-02-19, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
May I point out that on a trike it would have been a non event. At the most you might have gotten a little sideways. Just saying.
I'm sure you're right. I'll keep that in mind.
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Old 09-02-19, 03:11 PM
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Sorry about both you and your friend's mishap. I've wondered about wider tires possibly providing a bit more stability. I use 28mm tires and would go to 32mm tires if they would fit. I like the softer ride of a wider tire but in addition, in my area, Rhode Island in NE USA, Spring runoff during the snow melt brings a great deal of, not only gravel, but much unidentifiable trash onto roadways. I believe wider tires are more likely to produce better control if caught by surprise riding over this stuff.
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Old 09-02-19, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
Sorry about both you and your friend's mishap. I've wondered about wider tires possibly providing a bit more stability. I use 28mm tires and would go to 32mm tires if they would fit. I like the softer ride of a wider tire but in addition, in my area, Rhode Island in NE USA, Spring runoff during the snow melt brings a great deal of, not only gravel, but much unidentifiable trash onto roadways. I believe wider tires are more likely to produce better control if caught by surprise riding over this stuff.
I appreciate your perspective.
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Old 09-03-19, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
Perfect ride. Having a blast on a rolling country road................................ I'm going to have to ask myself a serious question; "Are the risks of road cycling something I want to accept anymore?"

IMO, the first 2 sentences provides the answer to your last sentence question for this 69yo geezer who crashed in 2011 resulting in a little broken neck and other related injuries. Dealing with cancer right now has reinforced my desire to continue "rolling the dice" in this "life's game of craps." I'm a devout believer of "one and done" so "damn the torpedoes, pot holes, inattentive drivers ---- and full speed ahead." Nothing follows last breathe.

As mentioned, 3 points of ground contact helps to keep one's cycling spacial positioning in a vertical plane rather than horizontal.
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Old 09-17-19, 07:06 AM
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Getting Back Out There

Any stories about how you overcame the after effects of a crash. I have a friend who spent a week in the hospital after a crash in June, and he's back on the bike. I'm experiencing a combination of fear and anger. My crash happened too fast. I could definitely see it happening again. I'm physically recovered and riding fairly well on Zwift. It's mostly mental for me. My wife and I ride a Tandem. I've previously told her that my responsibility former safety was a HUGE source of stress for me. It would be devastating for me if I crashed and she got hurt. She's the one who asked when are we going for a ride. Even though it was not my fault, I feel terribly sad for the rider who got tangled up in my crash. How did you deal with it?
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Old 09-17-19, 07:42 AM
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Don’t have any good advice on overcoming the mental anxiety. I know riders in our club who’ve gotten back on their bikes, and a couple others who never did. Have you tried going out for a ride around the block, just to see how you react?

WRT tires, I do think more width is helpful. My road bike is maxed out with 25s. On my newer gravel bike I have two wheelsets, one with 30mm road tire and one with 38mm All Arounds. There is definitely a difference when the road is not perfect. I’m starting to think about another bike to keep at a second home, clearance for 30-something tires is one of my requirements. Maybe you need a different bike?
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Old 09-17-19, 07:52 AM
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You could absolutely have avoided this, as it was an avoidable incident. Your wreck happened for the same reason I've gone off the bike twice this year: complacency. Nothing came out and hit you, nothing mechanical on the bike failed. You simply weren't paying enough attention to your surroundings, and that split second was all it took.

I was looking too far ahead at a corner, dropped my front wheel into a rut, and down I went. 100% my fault. The second off, I went around a corner on a path I've been around a hundred times, and hit a patch of watery silt left behind from (I'm guessing) a broken sprinkler. It was like hitting ice. Hyperextended my left wrist, ruined my favorite arm warmers.

I didn't hit the ground hard enough to break anything, so in both events I continued the ride-- the second one happened at mile 17 of 62, and I knew that if I stopped I would tighten up and be done for the day-- and rode the following day after both events. I'm not gonna stop riding because I made a mistake. I'm going to pay more attention. Those falls were lessons, your fall should be a lesson. You know what you did or didn't do to precipitate the event. In the future, make a conscious effort not to recreate that event.
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Old 09-17-19, 08:29 AM
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Glad you are well enough to post. Hope your riding partner recovers quickly. Sounds like she came out on the bad end.

A couple of unsolicited comments regarding the trike recommendations. I rode one for several years before moving to my current location and really enjoyed most aspects of it, and a few things I didn't.
First and foremost having a trike is important to have a vehicle you can transport it in. Even if you ride from home, there will come a time you want to go somewhere else or take it to have work or modifications done. I was able (at the time) to lift the trike(s) into the bed of a truck but could see where the progress of time would have made that more difficult. I considered a trailer if I had continued to own them.

When I purchased my first trike ones with rear suspension were not as common as now. Doing it over again I would certainly consider having one with the rear shock. Bumpy roads and potholes did a number to the spine.

Consider your visibility on them. Where I had lived was much more flat and open/deserted roads. I never had a situation in which I felt particularly threatened or unsafe on it. That changed within a few short rides at my new location, in that there is more traffic and much more of a abrupt rolling hill enviro where visibility is cut down a lot. With that said, I actually don't even ride a DF on the roads around here and more. Too many crazies.

Another aspect to consider is whether you like to attend group rides with other DF riders. It can be very difficult to keep up with those type bikes, according to where you ride, particularly up a hill.

With all that said...trikes are super fun on flats and particularly downhill. If you have significant elevation change in your area consider internally geared hub, "mountain" cranks, etc. Add on to the cost of the trike for mirrors, in some cases special bags to carry your gear, flags for visibility, and don't overlook the fact that many of these utilize at least (3) standard chain lengths, mid-bearings, two headsets....there is much more to maintain.

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Old 09-17-19, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
You could absolutely have avoided this, as it was an avoidable incident. Your wreck happened for the same reason I've gone off the bike twice this year: complacency. Nothing came out and hit you, nothing mechanical on the bike failed. You simply weren't paying enough attention to your surroundings, and that split second was all it took.

I was looking too far ahead at a corner, dropped my front wheel into a rut, and down I went. 100% my fault. The second off, I went around a corner on a path I've been around a hundred times, and hit a patch of watery silt left behind from (I'm guessing) a broken sprinkler. It was like hitting ice. Hyperextended my left wrist, ruined my favorite arm warmers.

I didn't hit the ground hard enough to break anything, so in both events I continued the ride-- the second one happened at mile 17 of 62, and I knew that if I stopped I would tighten up and be done for the day-- and rode the following day after both events. I'm not gonna stop riding because I made a mistake. I'm going to pay more attention. Those falls were lessons, your fall should be a lesson. You know what you did or didn't do to precipitate the event. In the future, make a conscious effort not to recreate that event.
I never wanted to say this for fear of jinxing myself. This was my first crash in 17 years of riding. I also ride in an area where road conditions are very bad. A valid question I have to ask myself is, if MORE vigilance is required for me to enjoy cycling safely, is it worth it? The answer is different for all of us. To say that my accident was avoidable is technically true, but not really valid. I could have avoided the crash if I decided not to ride that day. I know what you mean, though.
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Old 09-17-19, 09:17 AM
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While I don't recommend it as a pursuit, falling down more does seem to help. I seem to fall off the bike around twice a year. I've cracked two helmets, busted up some wheels, taken a couple of decent knocks. I just get right back at it.

I sometimes wonder what my mental state will be if/when the incident occurs that's outside my control... so I make every effort to avoid those instances. The cops no longer say car accident, it's traffic collision, because accident implies it could not have been prevented.

I believe +99% of such occurrences can be avoided. Some stuff is simply out of our hands, but I still like my odds.
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Old 09-17-19, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
This was my first crash in 17 years of riding.
DrIsotope is right, you were like way overdue. I don't know what combo of skill, luck, and vigilance it took for you to pull that off, but the bubble is now burst. I did have a series bike wreck 20 years ago. Hospital stay, major surgery, two titanium plates in my face, another round of orthodontics. I remember feeling cautious on the bike for a few months after that one. The pretty much annual incidents with scrapes and bruises don't really affect me that much.
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Old 09-17-19, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
I never wanted to say this for fear of jinxing myself. This was my first crash in 17 years of riding. I also ride in an area where road conditions are very bad. A valid question I have to ask myself is, if MORE vigilance is required for me to enjoy cycling safely, is it worth it? The answer is different for all of us. To say that my accident was avoidable is technically true, but not really valid. I could have avoided the crash if I decided not to ride that day. I know what you mean, though.
Like @DrIsotope I've had a few wrecks in the last year. Six, to be exact. All were some variation of mud or algae and all were on a MUP. Not a single one on the road. I got a little damage on the frame of one bike, broke a helmet, ruined some riding pants and jacket, and destroyed an Apple watch.

Since these all happened on a MUP, the last few really made me wonder if I should just stop riding on the various MUPs in my area. But they all connect different road routes that I like and avoid congested areas where I don't want to ride on the road. Plus, I like not having traffic around for half my ride. So I decided to just be VERY, VERY careful when I see the road surface is wet, even on the actual road. If the road is completely wet before I ride, I'll wait or skip the ride. If it rains during the ride I just exercise a lot of extra caution. I'll often unclip one shoe and be ready to tripod if needed. In some cases where I know mud or algae is likely to be present when wet, I go ahead and drag the unclipped foot. Actually, if it's rained hard for a few days, there are areas where I'll just get off and walk. Slick tires and mud just don't mix.

So far so good. I feel like a wimp, but so far so good.
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Old 10-22-19, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by jimincalif View Post
Don’t have any good advice on overcoming the mental anxiety. I know riders in our club who’ve gotten back on their bikes, and a couple others who never did. Have you tried going out for a ride around the block, just to see how you react?

WRT tires, I do think more width is helpful. My road bike is maxed out with 25s. On my newer gravel bike I have two wheelsets, one with 30mm road tire and one with 38mm All Arounds. There is definitely a difference when the road is not perfect. I’m starting to think about another bike to keep at a second home, clearance for 30-something tires is one of my requirements. Maybe you need a different bike?
Although there are still lingering physical signs of my crash, I feel back to normal. I'm an avid Zwift-er, and that has been very beneficial. I think I've been outside about three times; twice on our tandem, and once on the bike I crashed. I did OK.I expect the trepidation to fade over time. I still think about the crash. I play it over in my head. I always felt that I could deal with bad situations, but this was so fast. I heard my bike hit gravel, I felt it become unstable, and then I was picking myself up off the ground. My roads are generally bad. I honestly don't know if my bike is set up appropriately for my road conditions. I know that most of my riding buddies are on 25mm tires. I just don't know if 2mm. would have made a difference. I think going to 28mm on a road bike would result in a very different experience. I tried to sell my bike but high end bikes have poor re-sale value. If you were going to spend the amount I was asking, get a new bike. My riding has diminished due to road conditions in recent years and I think it will continue to do so as a result of my crash. If I were lucky, I wouldn't have crashed, but I was fortunate my injuries were not more severe. I don't think I'm willing to take on those risks. Personal decision. For that reason, I don't think I want to invest in a new bike. I'll just pick rides on better roads.
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Old 10-22-19, 03:47 PM
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Gravel can be a beast. I've gone down some roads which were pretty hairy, downhill with loose gravel. I no longer ride my skinny tire bike on gravel, but use my mountain bike. Monday last week I took the day off and rode about 45 miles of gravel. Most of it was fine but there were a couple of hairy spots that even with my 26x2.125" tires gave me a bit of a scare. Had I been on my skinny tire bike there's no doubt I'd have wiped out and eaten gravel.
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Old 10-22-19, 04:12 PM
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Yes, wider tires (and lower pressures) help. (One of the reasons I love custom frames is I get to make the call on tire size. The Mooney can handle almost anything. (Limited to 35 in back.) My ti bike -28s. My custom fix gear is limited to 25 in back if I want to be able to slide the wheel all the way forward to accommodate the big climbing cog but is currently running a 28 in front.)

Regarding the wet roads some have posted about; I take wet weather traction seriously. I do most of my riding on the various high end Vittorias because they offer superior traction. I will pay more for shorter lasting tires that get more flats to keep my body off the pavement. That simple. Two dozen flats to spare me of going down once? Fair exchange. I'll pony up and pay in full every time.

Tires I love: V\ittoria Open Paves, grippiest (road) tires I have ever ridden. The new G+ (and I think, the even newer G 2.0). Not quite as grippy but still an excellent rain tire and faster, longer lasting and far fewer flats. The old and cheap twin tread Vittorias of a couple of decades ago. So sticky they would re-grip after a wet leaf started a slide. A set of green Vittoria CX tires with long "hairs"; so sticky I feared getting chunks of pavement stuck in the fenders. So sticky I used to look for leaves, sand, gravel and wet to lower rolling resistance.

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Old 10-22-19, 05:13 PM
  #20  
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About a year ago a woman from out bike club, while on holiday in Florida with her bike, suddenly ran out of paved shoulder and dropped into sand. She lost control and fell under a van. This mishap was fatal and happened in an instant. We are so vulnerable on our bikes that it could be over for anyone of us just as quickly.

I remember during the Vietnam era seeing a photo of a Buddhist monk protesting a policy of the then government, set himself on fire while calmly sitting in the middle of a traffic intersection. Tibetan monks are doing the same today to protest Chinese takeover of their country. This takes tremendous powers of concentration. A similar situation is the Japanese tea ceremony where every move is carefully and thoughtfully carried out. A zen thing.

While we in the West may not go quite so far, we can benefit by being more thoughtful and deliberate in our daily lives. In the sports world we use the term situational awareness which just means being fully engaged in the current activity. I once saw a major league baseball game on TV where a runner on 3rd base stole home plate. I had no idea 'till then such a move was even possible. The pitcher must have been half asleep. Such a lack of awareness for us cyclists could easily be way more than embbarassing.
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Old 10-22-19, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
About a year ago a woman from out bike club, while on holiday in Florida with her bike, suddenly ran out of paved shoulder and dropped into sand. She lost control and fell under a van. This mishap was fatal and happened in an instant. We are so vulnerable on our bikes that it could be over for anyone of us just as quickly.

I remember during the Vietnam era seeing a photo of a Buddhist monk protesting a policy of the then government, set himself on fire while calmly sitting in the middle of a traffic intersection. Tibetan monks are doing the same today to protest Chinese takeover of their country. This takes tremendous powers of concentration. A similar situation is the Japanese tea ceremony where every move is carefully and thoughtfully carried out. A zen thing.

While we in the West may not go quite so far, we can benefit by being more thoughtful and deliberate in our daily lives. In the sports world we use the term situational awareness which just means being fully engaged in the current activity. I once saw a major league baseball game on TV where a runner on 3rd base stole home plate. I had no idea 'till then such a move was even possible. The pitcher must have been half asleep. Such a lack of awareness for us cyclists could easily be way more than embbarassing.
Many of the pros set themselves on fire to improve their situational awareness in the off season.

My sympathies to the OP and their partner. I hope you get back out there once the acute trauma wears off.

Last edited by MoAlpha; 10-23-19 at 06:10 AM.
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Old 10-22-19, 10:21 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
I once saw a major league baseball game on TV where a runner on 3rd base stole home plate. I had no idea 'till then such a move was even possible. The pitcher must have been half asleep. Such a lack of awareness for us cyclists could easily be way more than embbarassing.
Sure hope you never have to witness a hit and run play or suicide squeeze at a baseball game; no telling how that might affect your cycling situational awareness.
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Old 10-24-19, 04:34 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
Perfect ride. Having a blast on a rolling country road. I was going straight, and I hit a pile of loose gravel in the gully. It grabbed my front wheel, and that was that

I remember everything, and I'm trying to figure out if there was anything I could have done to avoid this. It was not a big gully. I did not see the gravel. It was the same color of the road. I'm normally aware of gravel like this after periods of heavy rain…

This is my first crash in 17 years as a serious cyclist. I accepted that it was a dangerous sport, and I don't think I know a rider personally who hasn't crashed. I am a big fan of Zwift for the past 4 or 5 years, so I look forward to transitioning to that. I'm going to have to ask myself a serious question; "Are the risks of road cycling something I want to accept anymore?"
Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
IMO, the first 2 sentences provides the answer to your last sentence question for this 69yo geezer who crashed in 2011 resulting in a little broken neck and other related injuries.

Dealing with cancer right now has reinforced my desire to continue "rolling the dice" in this "life's game of craps." I'm a devout believer of "one and done" so "damn the torpedoes, pot holes, inattentive drivers ---- and full speed ahead." Nothing follows last breathe…
Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
You could absolutely have avoided this, as it was an avoidable incident. Your wreck happened for the same reason I've gone off the bike twice this year: complacency. Nothing came out and hit you, nothing mechanical on the bike failed. You simply weren't paying enough attention to your surroundings, and that split second was all it took.

I was looking too far ahead at a corner, dropped my front wheel into a rut, and down I went. 100% my fault. The second off, I went around a corner on a path I've been around a hundred times, and hit a patch of watery silt left behind from (I'm guessing) a broken sprinkler. It was like hitting ice. Hyperextended my left wrist, ruined my favorite arm warmers….

I'm not gonna stop riding because I made a mistake. I'm going to pay more attention. Those falls were lessons, your fall should be a lesson. You know what you did or didn't do to precipitate the event. In the future, make a conscious effort not to recreate that event.
Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
I never wanted to say this for fear of jinxing myself. This was my first crash in 17 years of riding. I also ride in an area where road conditions are very bad.

A valid question I have to ask myself is, if MORE vigilance is required for me to enjoy cycling safely, is it worth it?

The answer is different for all of us. To say that my accident was avoidable is technically true, but not really valid. [Not necessarily so, IMO.] I could have avoided the crash if I decided not to ride that day. I know what you mean, though.
Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
While I don't recommend it as a pursuit, falling down more does seem to help. I seem to fall off the bike around twice a year…

I sometimes wonder what my mental state will be if/when the incident occurs that's outside my control... so I make every effort to avoid those instances. The cops no longer say car accident, it's traffic collision, because accident implies it could not have been prevented.

I believe +99% of such occurrences can be avoided. Some stuff is simply out of our hands, but I still like my odds.
Originally Posted by berner View Post
…I remember during the Vietnam era seeing a photo of a Buddhist monk protesting a policy of the then government, set himself on fire ...

While we in the West may not go quite so far, we can benefit by being more thoughtful and deliberate in our daily lives. In the sports world we use the term situational awareness which just means being fully engaged in the current activity.

Such a lack of awareness for us cyclists could easily be way more than embbarassing.
FWIW, I have frequently posted about my mindset to “automatically” be attentive to avoid those incidents, particularly of seemingly unseeen dangers.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
So often on these threads about calamities or near misses, I post about my mindset that I believe gives me that extra edge.
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
In all fairness, I don't think there's anyone who's been riding for a long time, who hasn't at some time (or many times) ridden in that zone where the only thing separating us from disaster is favorable alignment of the stars. (Note the "us" rather than "him")

We all take chances and make mistakes, but fortunately life is"organized" with plenty of forgiveness. In my experience the difference between disaster and "whew, that was close" is millimeters and microseconds, and not anything we can take credit for.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I try to keep safe with certain aphorisms in my head that come to mind to alert me when I encounter a situation where unseen dangers may lurk, such as “Like a weapon, assume every stopped car is loaded, with an occupant ready to exit from either side.” or“Don’t ride over an area (such as puddles or leaves) when you can’t see the road surface."...

Over the past few months I have come to realize that my safety aphorisms (link), collected over the years by personal or vicarious experience, are my way of actively aligning the stars in my favor, to anticipate those unseen and otherwise unanticipated dangers.

FWIW, for my own information at least, my other aphorisms:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post

1..5
6. Don’t ride over an area (such as puddles or leaves) when you can’t see the road surface.
7...9...

Those are all I remember for now, and they all pop-up in my mind as I encounter the situation.
In the incident of the OP, I think #6 best applies, especially if as described,” I did not see the gravel. It was the same color of the road. I'm normally aware of gravel like this after periods of heavy rain.”

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Last edited by Jim from Boston; 10-24-19 at 05:43 AM.
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Old 10-24-19, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
...This is my first crash in 17 years as a serious cyclist. I accepted that it was a dangerous sport, and I don't think I know a rider personally who hasn't crashed. I am a big fan of Zwift for the past 4 or 5 years, so I look forward to transitioning to that.

I'm going to have to ask myself a serious question; "Are the risks of road cycling something I want to accept anymore?"
Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
...I'm not gonna stop riding because I made a mistake. I'm going to pay more attention. Those falls were lessons, your fall should be a lesson. You know what you did or didn't do to precipitate the event. In the future, make a conscious effort not to recreate that event.
My own experience:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
When I was hit from behind, it was on a wide, low-volume, well-lit residential road at about 9 PM in June, by a “distracted driver.” The route was so calm that I was not closely monitoring my rearward view.

In fact, though perhaps I could have ditched the bike, I’m glad I didn’t see it coming if I was going to get hit anyways
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...My first recollection was the assemblage of first responders with their vehicles to put me on a board to the nearest Hospital, with vivid memories after that, including airlift to a major Medical Center, the six week Hospital stay, and three-month rehab until I returned to work.


Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...My main injury besides a few minor broken bones was a fractured sacrum. Weight bearing activities such as walking a distance and prolonged sitting are [still] uncomfortable, but fortunately sitting on the bike seat is OK, even for a few hours.

I also lost some upper thigh muscle due to a soft tissue injury and had a draining wound that made me dependent on someone to change my dressing until October [five months later]
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
"Do you really enjoy riding a bike?"

I describe my riding experience similarly, as a cycling lifestyle (of 40 years). I once listed as my credentials: a carbon fiber bike, year-round cycle-commuting, a cross-country tour, and a serious car-bike accident.
But don't cry for me, Argentina.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 10-24-19 at 06:17 AM. Reason: added photo
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