Is a Stack on the road often worse?

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  • Is a Stack on the road often worse?
  • Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    I just found out this morning that a co-worker who took a slip on some black Ice on his commute in Thursday has a fractured Hip and a broken collar bone, fortunately it was while making a turn onto a minor B road so no traffic trundled over him…

    He’d made it in to work and, although visibly shaken, didn’t seem seriously hurt at the time which sort of suggested the stack was a minor one, turns out it wasn’t and he had to have an Op’ on his Hip over the weekend 😯

    It’s a real shame as he’s a nice Lad, young, pretty fit and well into his Road riding, I think this incident means he’ll be missing out on some races this summer, or at least not getting to do the training he was hoping beforehand.

    It’s also just made me wonder how I get away with so much on the MTB (touch wood) – Saturday morning I was knocking about in the woods, DH bike, piss pot, knee pads and flying off things left right and centre, had a couple of tidy stacks, all tangled with the bike, and other than the odd bruise no harm done. Is woodland realy that much softer?

    Anyone got comparable experiences?

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    slower speeds, softer landings (usually). Tarmac is harder and your (usually) going faster.

    yeah I came off at 27mph on a greasy bend a few weeks back and was so bruised the next day!

    still can’t put any weight on my elbow for some reason but I’m hoping if I ignore it then it will get better 🙂

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    Sounds about right – you could go years without a crash on the road but when it comes it won’t be pretty. It might not be your fault, either.

    Sort of vice verca to MTBing. I guess serious crashes are a feature of DHing, but even then if you’re not racing it’s quite possible to ride within your comfort zone and avoid heavy falls.

    Not done much road riding, but can still feel (occasionally) the one serious accident I had and that was 15 years ago – a car cut me up and I slammed my hip.

    Mark N
    Member

    Not a young person so I do not ‘bounce’ like I used to. I do some road riding on the MTB but most of what I do is off road. I have had front wheel washouts, OTB moments but nothing serious fortunately. Like you I have knee/shin pads on and they have numerous scars on them. The smallest off, trip or fall can do some serious damage. I think it is just a case of how you fall and how lucky you are at the time.

    Off road you often fall of into the undergrowth at the side of the trail. That thorn bush, although a pain to get out of softened your landing. You dont get many of those on the road.

    Hope he heals quickly.

    alpin
    Member

    i think with MTBing you have a lot more practice at takinga a fall. you learn how to roll with it, or dump the bike and save yourself when you realise it’s going wayward. also, undergrowth and earth is softert than tarmac.

    usually the last thing you want to do when on the road is hit the deck. you don’t learn how to fall on the road, because you know it’s going to hurt either way. tie that in with the cars then a fall on the road is usually going to hurt more than MTB.

    and as said above, speeds are often higher on-road that off.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    i’d rather go for an undignified roll through the bushes, than land hip-first on tarmac.

    i’m a coward, i avoid tarmac if it’s frosty.

    (but up for reassessment if the sun’s been out for a few hours…)

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    silly double-post

    nickf
    Member

    You’ll often fall when riding off-road, but muddy gloop tends to absorb the energy, and you’re often going no more than 10mph. Plus there’s foliage to slow you down when sliding, so you tend to stop quicker anyway.

    Also, you tend not to get caught out by conditions – obviously the odd slippy root will have you off, but it’s nothing compared to diesel or black ice. When I have a crash, I’m usually well aware of it before it happens, and I have a second or so to try and get it under control or try to minimize the damage when I go down.

    Premier Icon captaindanger
    Subscriber

    road is far worse, gernerally much higher speed, the fall is usually a front wheel washout (meaning you land hard) or there’s a vehicle or something involved. Add to that you’re probably wearing less than you would on an mtbm and you fall on hard tarmac and slide for 10m rather than on the nice soft loam.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    I definitely believe it is the speed that is the main issue. I’ve had a couple of pretty high speed stacks on my road bike and both involved replacing my helmet. I’ve fallen off my mountain bike many more times but I’m always going much slower. I go downhill on roads with a lot more caution on my road bike than I would on the mountain bike. 40mph on a road bike whilst looking out for potholes is more worrying than any mountain biking I’ve done and I’ve done some pretty hairy mountain biking.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    It’s stanrge I’ve always considered road cycling as generally less injurious than MTBing (Ingnoring the obvious dangers posed by Cars/Vas/Lorries)…

    You generally know about it slightly in advance when things are going wrong on an MTB, my workmate’s tumble was not telegraphed from the sounds of it; he was leaned over in a turn and hit the deck hard, fast and of course still clipped in so his hip/shoulder took the full force of it…

    I suppose when you stop and think about it though, while there might not be trees, rocks and roots strewn everywhere the dangers you face on a road bike although mostly static are often very solid, made of concrete and/or galvanised steel and the changes in grip between dry/wet/icey are pretty major (bigger difference than a nice loamy trail in the wet or dry), coupled with the generally higher speeds and smaller contact patch…. I think I might just get my Turbo trainer out tonight…

    hora
    Member

    slower speeds, softer landings (usually). Tarmac is harder and your (usually) going faster.

    Disagree- due to the angle/difficulty dismounting you normally go down off a roadbike quite hard. On my road I was at less than walking pace (off brakes) in a straight line and I suddenly washed out – I still had my hands on the bars – thats how quick I landed. I did my neck in for ages from landing head first.

    At least on a mountain bike you can come off the rear, disengage sideways, come off rolling (ever tried – even think about rolling off a road bike!?!!) etc etc.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    I think the it’s the danger perception thing I was commenting on really (My own really more than anyone elses perhaps)…
    MTBing is sold as all Ruffty tuffty Grrr; out in the woods with Tree’s, big rocks and panthers, I think I’ve been suckered into that whole thing a bit myself TBH.
    And you see the twatty photo’s in mag’s don’t you I suppose, with their captions:

    “Tarquin from Surrey fell off in the car park by a tea shop and rather than do the old tuck’n’roll dragged his face across the ground so he could get a free water bottle (or whatever tat MBR/MBUK give you these days)…”

    But the injuries are seldom as serious as they look, certainly not irrecoverable or long term, normally just a nice bloody picture to feed the Gnarrcore mythology.

    I’m not saying MTBing isn’t dangerous, it definately can be, but I think the dangers of it are often over-sold, while because road riding is well you know ‘just’ on the road, dressed like a nancy in lycra and we most people feel pretty safe on roads generally then not much is made of the potential severity of a stack on the tarmac…
    It’s not like I’d really stop riding on the road or start wearing a full facer & armour for my commute, but someone elses accident has made me consider the safety side of it a touch more, I might modify a couple of my regular routes…

    hora
    Member

    Road is far far far more dangerous.

    No one nudges me, no one drives into me, I have no one to avoid. My mountain bike has stable low down weight- broad tyres and an upright riding position. The frame isn’t big either.

    Gary_M
    Member

    Slipped on ice just before Christmas and slid along the road for quite a way. Very grazed, swollen and bruised hip, deep hole and long gash on my elbow/forearm which hurt quite a bit.

    Its the sliding on a road crash that generally causes the damege plus speeds are usually higher. I’ve got bashed and brusied on mtb crashes but this was the worst I’ve had.

    Edit: I was going around 20mph, reached down for my water bottle, then bang on the ground, so absolutely no warning.

    oldgit
    Member

    Anything involving the front wheel/diesel/ice/downed rider interface will often hurt.
    Back wheel wipeouts generally less so.

    Lost three teeth hitting downed riders in road races, pre hardshell days.
    And I have scars from head to toe from just one off on diesel.

    GW
    Member

    Crashing safely is a skill! Pure roadies aren’t really accustomed to crashing often and certainly not in the same way a DHer, Dirtumper or BMXer for instance would be. Speaking from experience if you’re used to crashing/bailing often and have good reactions and good crashing/bailing skills off road you’ll be better off when it happens on the road too.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    Dunno that I’d agree with that totally GW.

    They’re just very different environments to ride in, I don’t think DHers are necessarily “Better” at crashing simply that a Hard, Fast crash in DH seldom just happens, it’s normally preceeded by an “out of spec” event; a cased jump or blown corner that pitch you the wrong way towards an off, also gives you thinking time to bale more safely, most DH crashes are “Soft” so to speak.

    Where as a roadie will seldom have that sort of warning, tarmac is a terible surface as there’s very little visually to differentiate at speed between a grippy bit and a slippy bit, plus you often have your attention on the wider environment as well as the surface you’re riding on, on a DH track you can focus far more on the terrain (arguably).

    Then there’s the riding position on a Road bike; primarily aimed at efficient pedaling, not technical handling or weight shifts for jumping or cornering, a DH bike is easier to kick clear of, you have more time to do so and more soft things to land on if/when you do.

    On a Road bike you are bent forwards, on a higher saddle, when the grip goes it just vanishes so your go from up to down very fast and your going to hit Tarmac/Kerb stones/bollards when it happens, don’t really know how you’re meant to train or prepare for that, just accept the risk, stay alert and do the best you can to preserve your limbs when it happens I suppose…

    A stack on *ice* is often worse.

    I’ve done it and theres absolutely no warning what so ever and you hit the ground HARD. mega painful.

    mogrim
    Member

    Also when you’re riding a DH bike you’re usually at least wearing long sleeves, not to mention pads etc.

    I think the main difference though is that the road is uniformly hard, offroad there’s a reasonable chance of soft(ish) grass, bushes, etc. (That said, the last time I came off it was offroad and I bruised my ribs on a handily placed rock, nothing soft about that!)

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    I think the increased speeds on the road really make a difference, not to mention the plethora of hard things you can hit.

    That said, the longest I’ve spent in hospital with an injury is 7 days, from a silly off on a muddy trail where a bit of stick or rock punched a neat hole in my forearm. Said puncture wound subsequently got infected and required a lot of unpleasant hourly doses of antibiotics before it sorted itself out.

    warton
    Member

    I went over the bars (so I’m told) at 25mph on my road bike a few months ago, no idea how it happened. 2 days in hospital, no memory of about 48 hours before the crash, or the crash itself.

    I’v had many, many MTB crashes, always got away with a few minor cuts

    Simple crashed can hurt too.

    Read this

    Then near the end of lap 6 things went wrong in a big way. On a flat rooty part of the course my front wheel slipped out and in went down. Its the type of crash I have had a thousand times but luck was not on my side and I landed with my full weight on my hip onto a large tree root.

    I never experienced pain like it as I dragged myself of the track. After a painful trip to hospital and an xray it turned out that I have a fractured the neck of my femur, in other words I have snapped the ball of my hip joint of my leg!!!

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    I had an over the bars moment I had just hooned down a hill that then had a short uphill bit at the bottom. I got out of the saddle and was honking up it at a good lick in top gear when the chain came off. I’m not sure how, maybe my legs were just too strong for my budget cranks 🙂

    I certainly had no time to react before I was dumped on the tarmac. Despite a cracked helmet and some scratches and scrapes I could at least finish the ride.

    Premier Icon madxela
    Subscriber

    All too easily done, I had a near identical ice off on my crosser commuting into work, slowing in anticipation of my turn to a quiet lane and the next second whack onto the hip (even bent my rear mech hanger)

    Was walking like John wayne for the rest of the day!

    As a regular thursday night MTBer it not about being good at falling, more about getting some warning.

    The only time I really hurt myself off road was at speed – almost dislocated my shoulder going over the bars when I hit mega soft grass one wet november night that ate the front wheel.

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    Tarmac is worse I think, but knowing how to crash definitely helps mind you. Given everything being equal, I’d personally rather crash off road than on road(Though these days I tend not to crash, it hurts more!). But then again, offroad does have it’s perils, not too many pointy rock gardens or branches to impale yourself on on the road, but with these things I guess you can see them and adjust to suit the danger levels beforehand, I guess off road you kinda know when a crash is likely..

    jonba
    Member

    Hmm, not sure about “knowing how to crash”. Granted it works off road but my experience of road crashes is a little different.

    Off road you are generally going slower and the ground softer. The bike position is often more relaxed which seems to help getting away from it and making a safe landing.

    My experience of crashing on the road is black ice. We were in a group. I went down so quick I crushed the fingers on my right hand where I was still holding the hoods when I hit the deck. Didn’t get a chance to unclip. I was going about 20mph so no quick, 2 guys behind me landed on top of me breaking my helmet.

    I don’t think the position helped. With having you head down and your arse up when it does go wrong you are heading head first towards the ground.

    Having seen a pile up in a bunch sprint happen in front of me I can assure any non roadie that that is far worse than anything you’ll get offroad. The guys riding pro tours are tough, if they can get up and ride from that. Several of the guys were out for the season. One in a coma for a week. Must have been 35mph + and about 7 bikes

    bikebouy
    Member

    I’ve stacked it many times on the road, in most cases it’s been a combination of sliding road rash and smashed elbows/palms/knees, of all the mtb crashes I’ve had they’ve been at slow speed, endo’s or skid run off’s into foliage.

    Worst stack was into the side of a people carrier on it’s way to skool when “mummsy” pulled out on me.. result.. busted shoulder, nice (and thanks)

    GW
    Member

    They’re just very different environments to ride in, I don’t think DHers are necessarily “Better” at crashing

    No and I didn’t say all DHers would be better at it, infact I wasn’t actually trying to compare DHers to roadies at all, just riders who are used to crashing and those who are not..

    simply that a Hard, Fast crash in DH seldom just happens, it’s normally preceeded by an “out of spec” event; a cased jump or blown corner that pitch you the wrong way towards an off, also gives you thinking time to bale more safely

    it’s exactly the same with most road crashes, they don’t just happen and you still usually get the same time to think as you go down and make the crucial decision of how you’re going to go with the crash.

    most DH crashes are “Soft” so to speak.

    Yeah, you’re not wrong there, funny that even non competitive roadies still wear a slither of lycra most of the time and “soft” mtbers are usually wearing cordura shorts, and often a few more layers uptop :/ I actually wear fox freeride trousers and use DX spds on my roadbike.

    when the grip goes it just vanishes

    other than on ice it doesn’t really.

    a so your go from up to down very fast and your going to hit Tarmac/Kerb stones/bollards when it happens, don’t really know how you’re meant to train or prepare for that

    similar seemingly instantanious crashes can happen off road, at jumps, bmx tracks or skateparks too..

    I don’t know of anyone who actually trains for crashing off-road either, it’s something that naturally develops in the individual rider from taking risks, the strength to get straight back up could come from training/preparation if you so wished.

    theboatman
    Member

    I spent my teenage years competing bmx, and came off hundreds of times the worst of which resulted in a broken wrist and a brake lever went through my hand.
    Got into road riding at about 20, had a few front wheel wash outs resulting in plenty of skin loss, some meaty bruises and some stitches. Had a guy do down in front of me sprinting at a crit; I went over the bars breaking my collar and cheek bone and leaving me with concussion.
    Had about 10 years mtb’ing, with countless off’s resulting in some cuts, sprains, bruising and the odd winding.
    Hit by a BMW on a roundabout cycling to work breaking both wrists, an ankle, popping out both shoulders and having to spend 3 days in icu with swelling of my brain and surgery to have skin grafted back to my shoulders.
    So I would say I have my worst on the road. Some bits of me really ache on a frosty morning commute like this morning, but I still love it!

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    it’s exactly the same with most road crashes, they don’t just happen and you still usually get the same time to think as you go down and make the crucial decision of how you’re going to go with the crash.

    No. Just no. Unless you ride off the side of the road or sommat they tend to happen rather rapidly, usually due to wet/icy roads, or someone else doing sommat.

    People walk away from 95% of MTB crashes with a scratch at worst, and often totally unscathed. It’s a bloody miracle if you walk away from a road crash without the loss of a fair bit of skin, at best!

    GW
    Member

    I don’t ever road ride with anyone else anymore nevermind a bunch, it’s simply not my idea of fun (and TBH if I wanted to end up in plaster from someone elses mistakes i’d play 5 a side). can cope with wet roads and slides fine thanks and ice over hardpack is just the same on an mtb! (possibly worse)
    Yes oh yes!

    and like I said don’t wear lycra

    enfht
    Member

    Since getting into MTB’ing and have fallen off literally hundreds of times but it took one fall onto tarmac to remind me just how painful falling off my bmx was as a kid!

    ouch

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    I don’t ever road ride with anyone else anymore nevermind a bunch, it’s simply not my idea of fun (and TBH if I wanted to end up in plaster from someone elses mistakes i’d play 5 a side). can cope with wet roads and slides fine thanks and ice over hardpack is just the same on an mtb! (possibly worse)
    Yes oh yes!

    Right, but this is not just about you, other people exist. I’m sure a God like you can cope with wet and icy roads, but I’d (and I suspect others?) personally rather bin it on my MTB on an icy trail than on my road bike on an icy road.

    How is an icy trail worse than a road? Particularly when we think about speed. I doubt even you often hit 40mph on the MTB.

    oliverd1981
    Member

    Two out of three of the worst injuries our group have suffered on alps riding holidays have been falls from MTB’s on wet tarmac, one of my own personal worst’s was riding to the trails on a BMX, again lost control on wet tarmac. There’s just no margin for error.

    I shudder in disbelief at road bikes.

    Omar Little
    Member

    Most of the crashes i;ve had on my road bike i’ve not really known i was going down until i was on the deck – you dont even get the time to think “****…this is gonna hurt”. On the MTB it seems to happen the other way – it is as if the crashes happen in slow motion.

    btw apparently Danny Hart was crit racing at the weekend and was involved in a crash. Was anyone here in the race?

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    FWIW, I went down like a ton of bricks on my commute last week, on a wee patch of ice, and there was no chance at all of catching it- just because it caught me unawares, wasn’t easily visible and I was watching traffic and pedestrians as well as surfaces. Probably wouldn’t have happened offroad since I’d have not had that divided attention.

    oldgit
    Member

    You can’t know how to ride out a road crash, they’re too quick. You often see the guys still in a riding position when they hit the road.

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