Can I learn to fall off better?

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  • Can I learn to fall off better?
  • milko9000
    Member

    At the weekend I stacked it on the first tabletop of the ride, about 30 seconds into what was gonna be a day’s uplift followed by a day at Afan. But it wasn’t to be, as I spent most of the day getting my shoulder put back in place, and the following day sat in the cafe while my mates rode White’s. Should’ve warmed up better, I really wasn’t focused or ready enough and caught myself out going faster than I realised behind the full-face and goggles. Hindsight is lovely.

    Anyway, this has got me thinking. I do not seem to fall “well”. In a rather more unfortunate hard-to-blame-myself crash in June I bust a collarbone. Previous crashes have also seen me come off reasonably well battered in one way or another. By contrast I see mates fly off at higher or lower speeds with barely a scratch, and also the pro dudes walking away from ridiculously big smashes. (OK not all the time, but still). Obviously a crash is almost always caused by a technique failure but I’ve done a day with Jedi (and I think will return for more) and do know a little bit about what I’m doing. It’s coping with it when I mess it up that’s the question, pushing the envelope a bit too far.

    I have two ideas: build some more natural padding for myself in the gym; and learn to land a bit more happily either by recognising the danger earlier and bailing, or uh, something else. I don’t really know if that’s possible or where to start if it is! But I have to do something – I’m too old to keep winding up in hospital like this, and I have a baby almost due which ain’t gonna help any. But I enjoy it too much to swap it all for something more sedate. Any help welcomed!

    I suffered a reasonable amount of pisstaking after the latest crash already from my pals but if you’ve anything new to offer there, feel free 🙂

    Premier Icon GHill
    Subscriber

    There’s something about learning to tumble as a little kid in the Brian Lopes book. As that seems unlikely, how about Judo? Those guys know how to break a fall.

    danielgroves
    Member

    Tuck, duck and roll. Or what thats what I’ve always been told, can’t remember the last time I crashed.

    Premier Icon ddmonkey
    Subscriber

    I do think crashing in a semi-controlled way and bailing are key skills in mountainbiking but not sure how you learn it other than through experience. The pro’s bounce better due to their fitness and strength training no doubt but experience also counts for a lot. But sometimes it doesn’t matter you can just be unlucky.

    milko9000
    Member

    I feel like I’ve hopefully used up a fair chunk of my bad luck quota this year. I’ve got the Lopes book somewhere actually, I’ll see what it says in case there’s any further advice. I did Judo a bit as a 7-8 year old and do remember the breakfall things actually, but obviously that hasn’t stuck around too well in practice in the nearly 30 years since. Whenever I come off the bike it’s more of a “whoah, oh shit this isn’t gonna work…splat” and my acrobatic form in that moment is essentially a passenger to whatever I’ve just done. I wonder if I can train a reflex to curl up in a ball and see if that works out as enough of a tuck ‘n duck to roll out of the worst harm.

    jedi
    Member

    what happened in the crash? email me if you like and we’ll see what and why then talk about rolling out of stacks

    Premier Icon stevomcd
    Subscriber

    Tuck and roll. I’m always amazed at what I seem to get away with. Have had some pretty big smashes mountain biking and snowboarding over the years and never had a serious injury.

    Some of it is luck, no doubt, but I do put some of it down to experience and to having played rugby since I was 7 and hence learning how to fall.

    That said, going big off a jump first thing isn’t the best example of self-preservation! Mountain-biking is a sport and a warm-up, as with any other sport, is a good idea.

    Buy a skateboard and/or rollerblades

    campkoala
    Member

    Anticipate the crash, accept it and choose how and where to eject without stressing.. Tuck n roll is a good option, as is sliding, anything other than stopping dead is preferable and yeah, don’t try to save your self with a limb with a joint locked straight.
    Good core strength held. p crashing safely takes good muscle memory so the more you crash the better you’ll be at doing safely.

    As. Jedi eludes to, work out why you are crashing too.

    campkoala
    Member

    Sorry, the short answer is “yes”

    milko9000
    Member

    Thanks Jedi, I will do that and that’s very kind of you.

    stevomcd, I didn’t go big exactly, but I’d intended to not ‘go’ at all as I approached it. Ended up hitting the tabletop nose first with weight too far forward, and while I almost rode it out at the other end of the table was effectively a little kicker (so perhaps this could be considered more of a double? I’m not really up on the lingo) and it finished me off.

    From what koala is saying I see probably I should’ve been looking to exit the bike way earlier rather than trying to save it, and then when I did finally come off I probably had my arm in a vulnerable place that I hopefully won’t be doing again.

    But yes, the main cause here is stupidity, I will readily admit that. Since I’m unlikely to entirely eradicate silly mistakes from my life I might as well at least try and minimise its bad effects.

    rhyswilliams, I would have broken wrists within minutes, I am sure!

    Premier Icon Onzadog
    Subscriber

    Aikido is another martial art option that has saved my ass on a bike more than enough times.

    campkoala
    Member

    Yeah dude, when you jump or hit a turn you spot the landing or the exit, crashing is no different in this respect.. Make the decision when it’s gone wrong and choose where /when to eject if possible.
    Jumping proper doubles teaches you this pretty quickly..

    campkoala
    Member

    Wish folk’d stop talking about martial arts and buying stuff?

    My 4yr old has good bailing technique already without any martial arts training , books or Rollerblades

    Premier Icon Onzadog
    Subscriber

    Why do we need to stop talking about martial arts?

    The op asked for suggestions. It might not be your suggestion but why does that make it invalid?

    campkoala
    Member

    Because he’s asking about riding a bike, not rolling around on crashmats after having his arm almost pulled out its socket by a thug..

    campkoala
    Member

    its MY “wish” not yours or anybody else’s..

    Premier Icon davetrave
    Subscriber

    Tuck and roll probably* would’ve resulted in things being far worse – serious back/neck damage – in my recent big off into the face of a kicker and everything happened so fast there was no time to bail. Sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow and deal with the aftermath…

    Instead, the “Superman” skidding-across-the-gravel-on-face-and-chest technique was used. Result – dislocated shoulder, broken elbow. That was over 2 months ago, I’m back on the ‘cross and road bikes but am under strict instruction from the physio not to ride my MTBs, on pain of death, either from falling flat on my face again or her finding out (she lives a couple of doors away from me so it’d be a bit obvious) and beating me up…

    * Pure speculation…

    xiphon
    Member

    Learning when to ‘safely’ hit the eject button is all part of biking.

    Learning how to overcome the need to hit the eject button is also part of the sport – progression!

    edlong
    Member

    This is really interesting – every time I crash seems to be the same thing – over the bars face first into the ground. It does seem to mean I never get the shoulder injuries that seem to be such a favourite, but it would be nice to be able to have an unplanned dismount without needing that silver stuff from the NHS that gets bits of trail out of your skin, that and the expense of buying new glasses.

    no_eyed_deer
    Member

    When I MTB’d in my teens I was made of rubber. Could literally do anything to myself, throw myself off anything, and get away with a few cuts (and cool scars).

    Now, whenever I come off, I tend to really hurt myself. I think a lot of this is to do with getting older and no longer being made of rubber.

    .. perhaps something to consider.

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    not rolling around on crashmats after having his arm almost pulled out its socket by a thug..

    why would he be a thug because he does Judo ???

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    I tend to try to keep hold of the bars for a bit longer if I can to start the roll into a fall and to avoid putting my arms out where I might end up with a broken collarbone.

    Premier Icon Onzadog
    Subscriber

    Campkoala, if you knew a bit more about the suggestions that you’re rubbishing, you’d perhaps realise that there are key components to most sports that cross over. I remember Jedi talking about the same thing the first time I trained under him.

    And I think I’ve possibly come across more thugs while cycling than I have while studying martial arts.

    However, we do appear to be going off at a tangent here. Perhaps we should agree that those who’ve not studied martial arts don’t see the relevance to falling off a bike but those who’ve studied the particular martial arts that look at how to cope with being thrown, such as judo or aikido, do see the relevance to falling off a bike.

    However, better still, it not falling off in the first place. For that, I’d suggest picking up with Jedi and his 4c’s.

    campkoala
    Member

    No eye deer – How old is that?

    campkoala
    Member

    Yes, I’m rubbishing wasting your time learning a whole new sport from scratch to learn simple techniques in another un related sport.

    I’m not saying it won’t help.

    playing computer games will improve hand eye Co ordination and reaction time so help with biking too. A discussion about which games will help most is about as relevant as which martial art.

    campkoala
    Member

    This is the last I’ll contribute on the matter for fear of be in accused of trolling or being negative in this strange forum.

    no_eyed_deer
    Member

    ^ I’m 36 now… pretty much every time I’ve come off my bike properly since turning 30 it’s involved a trip to A&E (once every few years).

    My approach is to tend to try to avoid falling off now..

    milko9000
    Member

    Thanks for the advice all, plenty to work on. Just got to heal up so I can actually do that!

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