Sunday, 28 September 2008

A minor accident statistic

There are days when wild horses couldn't drag me out on the bike; some when I need a bit of encouragement, and others when it would be madness not to go and enjoy a ride. Today was one of the third kind. It was a beautiful morning: clear blue sky, cool air, no wind, and sun breaking through a very slight haze.

So I set off in high spirits for a good long stretch.

However, as I came into Windsor, the front wheel hit a rut at an awkward angle, which caused me to swerve. I braked hard to avoid going into the traffic, and flew straight over the handlebars. Not exactly good braking technique; and certainly not the most dignified way to come to a rapid halt.

I'm proud to say that I then managed to execute quite an elegant three-point landing, on my forehead and knuckles. Thanks to the helmet, there was no serious damage done. I am a bit grazed and bruised, and I broke the face of my watch, but the bike landed on top of me, so it is fine.

At first I felt a bit shaken though, so I took my time getting started again, with every intention of continuing the ride. However, after the third person had stopped to check that I was OK, and offer me help, I was holding more baby-wipes than I knew what to do with, and I had come to the conclusion that things must look a lot worse than they really were. So I decided it was better to go home and get myself cleaned up.

I ended up covering just 17 miles, on a day when I intended to do about twice that. I am disappointed that I didn't get to take more advantage of such lovely weather. I clearly need to improve my braking technique, but the more important lesson from the whole experience is that three complete strangers went out of their way to show concern and offer support. Their help wasn't neccesary, but that isn't the point: by taking the trouble, they turned what could have been a bad experience into a very positive one.


Anonymous said...

Glad that you were relatively undamaged by the experience.
I reckon it could have happened to any of us - and given the condition of some roads in the area normally occupied by cyclists it is amazing that it doesn't seem to happen more often.

gom1 said...

Thanks for the comment, and thankfully there is nothing that nature won't sort in the next couple of days. I was grateful for the helmet though - I'd have had a heck of a thump if it hadn't been wearing one, and that could have been much more serious. I don't want to blame the road though: I should have been able to cope with the rut, and it really was my fault for hitting the front brake too hard.

disgruntled said...

Ouch. Well done breaking the fall of your bike with your body though. I can see where your priorities lie...

toppoi said...

I had my first fall, just over two weeks ago. Luckily I was at a standstill, and landed on the sand that I had just got stuck in. I thought I could stand on the pedal to get out of it, but the front wheel twisted 90 degrees, and I fell sideways without being able to react all all. Ended up with bruised ribs which had kept me off the bike until this weekend. One thing I've noticed is that I'm much more wary, and take it a little easier downhill. I guess I got a glimpse of my own fragility.

gom1 said...

I've had the same experience on gravel - just getting wedged, and losing control. We live and learn.