Is it worth it (crash content)?
I ride bikes accepting im going to get hurt.
Though my risk assessment is based on how good and confident im feeling. Sort of encroaches on some bits chiefguru was saying, when im feeling good, even when stuff goes wrong, im loose and dont get hurt as much. If i dont feel right, im stiff, more likely to crash and get more severely hurt when i crash.Posted 4 years ago
Thanks for all the comments folks. I don’t have time or space to respond to every post, but I have read them all and taken a lot of good advice from almost every one. Thanks also for the healing vibes and let me send them back to fellow sufferers. Particularly Stavaigan and TrekEx8. A fractured humerus is pretty easy to cope with, but a fractured vertebra would frighten the bejeesus out of me. So best wishes to you both.
It seems that people’s attitude to the risks of mountain biking fall broadly into two camps. There are those who accept that the occasional injury is just the price you have to pay for the fun and they may even plan for it in some way (e.g. insurance). Then there are those who prefer to think that the risks can be greatly reduced by their own skill. Funnily enough I fall into the latter camp when it comes to riding on the road. I hear the stories of cyclists getting killed, but they don’t apply to me as I have good road sense. I know there is still a risk, but through my skill and experience I can keep it to a level where I don’t have to think about it. At least that’s what I believe. But off-road I fall into the first camp, which is interesting.
For my own part, I know I’ll be back on the bike as soon as I’m able and I won’t be able to restrict myself to gentle trails. But I might be able to reconsider my relationship with speed. A lot of the comments about faster not being better have struck a chord. I have definitely fallen into the trap of judging my ability by where I sit on the Strava leaderboard, which is daft. Take that measuring stick away and I would naturally judge my progress not by how fast I was getting down stuff, but by how technical it was and how smooth and confident I felt. In fact, the truth is that I don’t really like speed. The riders that I aspire to are not the downhill guys riding on the edge, but those people that you see hopping, skipping and almost dancing their way down technical trails, seemingly in total control. A bit like these guys:
[video]http://vimeo.com/50478284[/video]Posted 4 years agoPete BMember
Then there are those who prefer to think that the risks can be greatly reduced by their own skill. Funnily enough I fall into the latter camp when it comes to riding on the road. I hear the stories of cyclists getting killed, but they don’t apply to me as I have good road sense. I know there is still a risk, but through my skill and experience I can keep it to a level where I don’t have to think about it. At least that’s what I believe.
That’s what I used to believe too.
And then one afternoon on a local roundabout with light traffic, dry, clear, as good as you’ll get conditions, someone approaching it when I was already on it failed to see me resulting in a collision.
But at least, I think, my road sense and bike handling skills acted in my favour to limit damage & I escaped with superficial, if very painful injuries (the driver, judging by the angle of his front wheels, road positioning etc clearly took no evasive action so I imagine me bouncing off the front wing was his first knowledge).
I’ve driven many miles & cycled a fair few but that taught me to take absolutely nothing for granted – the most benign scene ain’t necessarily so.
As the old advice goes as soon as the pain allowed I bought a new road bike on got back on it. But just a little more touchy when I felt my space was invaded and very wary at roundabouts.Posted 4 years agochiefgrooveguruMember
It seems that people’s attitude to the risks of mountain biking fall broadly into two camps. There are those who accept that the occasional injury is just the price you have to pay for the fun and they may even plan for it in some way (e.g. insurance). Then there are those who prefer to think that the risks can be greatly reduced by their own skill.
I think there’s actually a third category which I alluded to – having an accurate idea of your own skill level at any given moment and thus adjusting your riding decisions to stay on the good side of the fear-fun line. The greater your skills the faster you’re going when it all goes wrong so the more important it is that you reduce the chance of crashing.Posted 4 years agobutcherMember
If you crash alot something is wrong with your technique.
There seems to be a common misconception that the better you get the less you will crash. I have grown up mountain biking, skateboarding, and BMXing, and I’ve never found any truth in this. In fact those at the top of their game are usually the ones sliding across the floor the most, by a long way. Because they only get there by constantly testing the limits.
A lot of people do find their own comfort zones though. It’s when you stop pushing the boundaries of this that you’ll stop crashing so much. Ironically you’ll probably stop improving as much too. Which is fine. It’s what I do! It’s all about enjoying it at the end of the day, and I enjoy having a bit of a bimble.
No one is immune though. It’s all too often the simple stuff that puts us down.Posted 4 years agomolgripsSubscriber
In fact those at the top of their game are usually the ones sliding across the floor the most, by a long way.
I’d say that’s true for skateboarding and BMX, because the point of those sports is to learn more and more tricks. That’s not (necessarily) the point of MTB.Posted 4 years agochipMember
I had a couple of big offs last year one resulting in fractured ribs and scapula and another nearly knocking myself out and severely winding myself to the point I was on my knees taking a lean off a tree thinking I need to take a breath soon or I will die, and the fact I physically couldn’t was quite scary.
I am not naturally skilled on a bike and never have been even as a kid on a bmx but I enjoy riding never the less.
I do crash every ride so choose to wear quite chunky knee/elbow guards and a helmet and do not make me feel uncomfortable or compromise my ride in anyway.
Both of my above crashes were at swinley and I believe they would have been a lot worse without the padding as when it comes to body slamming that armoured trail is very unforgiving.
Also as far as swinley is concerned, I get the impression that I am being over the top with my attitude to safey, the whole stormtrooper/power ranger labeling, or the occasional “nice pads comments” from a little shit who has no responsibilities.
Yet to the contrary I have seen many ambulances in attendance there, three at once one time.
I have broken a fair few bones in my life some more than once,worse being smashed heel and fractured spine after crashing a motorbike which meant a mechano core saver care of the NHS and not being allowed to put my plaster clad foot on the floor for 3 months.
Stupidity is the reserve of the young, that is why they make great soldiers, I am now well into my cautious phase of life.Posted 4 years agoOscillate WildlyMember
Rover pig – where do you sit on the strava leaderboard and out of how many?
Genuinely interested as I think strava Is a great tool to see within reason what your skill level is TBH especially if it’s technical as if you can ride it at speed and it’s techy then you obviously do have talent
So if you are relatively high up the leaderboard depending on how many then yeh I would put it down to one of those stupid crashesPosted 4 years ago
I might be able to reconsider my relationship with speed.
Did I really write that? Pity I didn’t listen to myself. After Tuesday’s ride I’m now up to 3 trips to A&E in 14 months. This time I hit a rut that I hadn’t seen on a very simple (but quite fast) bit of trail and was down before I knew it. Dislocated right elbow, plus a few minor fractures on the ulna and knocked a bit of bone off the end (trochlea) of the humerus. The nice folk at A&E managed to get it all back into place nicely though, so I should get away with just a cast again. Once again though, the walk back to the car wasn’t much fun (nor was the one handed drive to A&E for that matter) and the rest of the family have to work around me again, just because I’m too selfish to stop doing a sport that keeps reulting in me injuring myself. Surely I should be able to find something that I can enjoy as much that doesn’t carry such a high fracture risk (at least until the kids leave home). Did I read somewhere that fatbikes are uncrashable 🙂Posted 3 years agowwaswasSubscriber
Did I read somewhere that fatbikes are uncrashable
I don’t know about that – round the woods they’re bloody brilliant.
However I did a 25-30mph downland descent (chalk, flints, ruts, bits of grass) at the weekend and near poo’d myself. The gyroscope effect of the wheels and tyres meant that the sort of ‘quick flick’ changes of direction I usually use to hop over and round stuff were a complete non-starter. I ended up just pointing it straight down the middle, letting go of the brakes, shifting my weight back and hoping for the best. I got a PB but I’m not sure it was worth the anxiety.
Hope the elbow heals quick with no long term issues.Posted 3 years ago
do you wear any pads
I had my knee pads on 🙂 I’ve been trying to force myself to wear them. I do have elbow pads, but they were in the cupboard of course.
The problem with wearing protection is that I fear I’d just go even faster and end up really hurting myself. Maybe it’s a glass bike I need rather than a fatbike.Then I’d be a bit more cautious.Posted 3 years ago
Firstly, best wishes to those that are injured.
This is a timely thread for me as I think about my riding – I’ve a fairly low skill level, low fitness, and haven’t done much riding after having 2 kids in the last 6 years and working long hours. But I’m itching to get back into riding more with a few months off work coming up (cue a big crash as I experience a child free bike!).
I’ve been out when I can though, with a little one on the LOCT seat – my 3 year old enjoys loops of the Blue and Red routes at Swinley for example.
My oldest daughter (6) wants to come riding with me now and it’s led to a debate on safety. Last time out, with the youngest on the LOCT seat, I had a zero speed tumble as a result of just clipping the end of the bar on a tree as I did a 90 degree turn, overbalancing (the youngest is 15kg now..and almost too big for the seat), and not getting unclipped before we started to tumble. She landed on my chest as I wrapped my arms around her. She was fine (and thanks to the lads who stopped to check we were ok) but the first thing she said when we got home was that we’d fallen off and she’d hurt her hand a little, but it was ok now.
Of course, my wife gave me “the look” but as there really wasn’t anything wrong, we moved on.
Fast forward a week and I’m looking at getting a FF helmet for the oldest in the sales before she comes out with me..and we have a conversation about why she needs one…the risks involved etc.
Reading threads like this, and as I investigate FF helmets, it has made me seriously consider one for the youngest and myself despite only going pretty slowly really. If I’d been 6 inches further forward on my tumble my 3 year old would have had hit her face on the tree. She’s already fallen off the balance bike at home and banged her face enough to warrant a visit to the dentist. The oldest has needed no encouragement to try little pumps / steep hills in a local park and she’s had quite a few little crashes already!
I’ve found it interesting assessing the risk / reward trade off from their perspective and how that then relates to my attitude to risk vs. my wife’s for example.
If I want my daughters to wear pads and FF helmets just in case, why don’t I wear a FF helmet even for trail riding?Posted 3 years ago
Finally I’m just not sure I enjoy technical descents that much. I love being out on my bike, I relish the challenge of a climb and gentle descents are great fun. But even if I make it down a technical descent I’m not sure I could really say I’ve enjoyed it.
Don’t do them then.
I’m in the same position, I find I enjoy pedally single track rather than technical plummets. So that’s what I do.
Wishing you a quick recovery.Posted 3 years ago
@smurf I’m thinking if you want your little ones FF’d & padded up etc just to come riding with you, perhaps what you’re taking them on isn’t really appropriate. I don’t think I’d take my little one on Swinley red on a piggy back seat, there are countless ways that can go wrong … where’s the upside?Posted 3 years agochakapingSubscriber
“enjoy riding what you enjoy riding”
That’s it exactly.
Just do the rides you want to, not what you think you should or what your mates are doing.
Worked for me anyway. Big increase in proportion of road riding, but that feeds back into the MTBing as better fitness and then more riding overall.Posted 3 years agoYetimanMember
Ouch. Heal soon RP. Were you on Bennachie by any chance (going by your other post)?
I had a big tumble on Millstone 3 weeks ago. Despite all the rocks around me I somehow managed to bail into a patch of rock free heather, and came out of it with just a few bruised knuckles from using my hand / arm to protect myself from the bike which landed on me a split second later 🙂Posted 3 years agochrisridesbikesMember
I’ve had numerous nasty off’s in the past 12months resulting in various broken things and scars.. Never for a minute considered giving it up, at least for now.. just keep planning when i can get back out on the bike..
Having put allot of thought into it after the latest smash i came to the conclusion that i needed to be more concious of the trail, the risks etc. Judge where to take some risks and where to play it safe. Just being a bit more mindful of what i am doing.
Another thing i have been doing is exploring new trails.. Seems a bit daft to say go ride trails you don’t know but my thought being that you can have the same amount of fun as pinning trails you know well whilst not going totally flat out because you are always holding back a little because you don’t know whats around the corner.. I’ve found some great new trails and had a load of fun doing it..
This has helped me build back up my confidence at least and i’d like to think that it’d make you a better rider aswell as you are having to really think about what is coming at you..Posted 3 years agozilog6128Subscriber
I do have elbow pads, but they were in the cupboard of course.
I don’t like to kick a man when he’s down but you must be feeling like a bit of a plonker about this!
Maybe try some different pads until you find some that are actually comfortable? For example my POC pads are so comfortable there’s no reason NOT to wear them – they stop my legs getting ripped to hell by brambles if nothing else!Posted 3 years agoj450nMember
I sprained my wrists pretty badly the last time I went OTB, Panic Grabbed Front brake when a Kid on his bike cut across me from know-where.
I was Advised to get one of those large exercise balls, and practice forward rolls until it became natural/Default, you essentially roll head over heals, without sticking your hands out.
This coupled with being Padded up has meant I’ve Had nothing more than Grazes & Bruises to deal with.
Get well soon and keep at it.Posted 3 years ago
Yes, it was on Bennachie, but not on anything technical. Just a totally innocuous trail on the lower slopes. That’s part of the problem.
I am guilty of riding stuff that I don’t enjoy or at speeds I find uncomfortable just because I feel I should and I need to have a word with myself about that. What am I trying to prove? But in this case I was just having a great time on easy trails, got a bit carried away and didn’t see the rut until I hit it.
Pads may be part of the solution and I guess I will have to start wearing those elbow pads now (plonker indeed), but I think speed is the key. I crashed a lot more when I first started riding off-road, but was never going fast enough to hurt myself. I’ve had my Five for a year now. Only crashed it twice, but both times resulted in broken bones!
Of course it’s never really about the bike, but it is a fact that the Five is so capable that I start to feel as though it will always get me out of trouble. It’s also a fact that the Five feels so much more fun at higher speeds.Posted 3 years agogonzyMember
i had the same feeling as the OP go through my head last week…Posted 3 years ago
in 2001 i had a crash which left me with compressed L4 and L5 vertebrae…it took 12 months of treatment before i was able to move again without any pain…fast forward a few more years and another crash triggered the back again and this time is damaged my left thumb which to this day still looks like its been pulled from its socket.
at the time my physio said of my back that i would have to continue doing stretches and various exercises to keep it pain free and that the pain would come and go, which it has done.
a few months ago i had a crash at Llandegla…not a big one but i managed to walk away unscathed as i’d bailed in time…but it was a sign of things to come
2 weeks ago i was at BPW…and on the final run i hit the new A470…on the first run i did it blindly and at a very fast pace and it wasnt a problem…but on the second run of it i made a mistake of drifting off line…when i tried to correct it i was going so fast i overshot the landing on a jump and went OTB and landed on my head.
just to give you an idea of how hard i landed…after i hit my helmet i landed on my back with such force that the unopened bottle of pop in my camelbak burst.
the impact twisted my back and has now triggered the back pain again…now i’m struggling to sit down and walk properly.
it feels like i’m being stabbed in the back and a pin is being inserted into my thigh…the pain will go away eventually but for the moment i’m staying off the bike, doing my stretches and praying that i dont need any further medical treatment
i dont feel sorry for myself and the wife has no sympathy for me either…she laughed when i told her and says i’m getting old
though she did ask if me pushing myself like that on the bike was worth it
i said it was but obviously my injury record says different.
i know she wont dare ask me to give up biking as she knows that in doing that, i wouldnt be the same person and i’d be impossible to live with
i know the crash could have been avoided if i’d paid more attention to the trail on the first run…but i accept that these things happen and could even have happened if i knew the trail like the back of my hand.
whenever i get on the bike i’ve always pushed myself, but as i’ve got older i’ve been more wary about what my limits are and even though i still push myself i keep to within my limits
i know i’ll recover eventually and TBH i feel lucky the crash didnt result on something much worse..i.e. broken bones, knocked out or a broken neck
would i ever give up biking? never!
i’m counting the days before i can get back on the bike!!
Of course it’s never really about the bike, but it is a fact that the Five is so capable that I start to feel as though it will always get me out of trouble. It’s also a fact that the Five feels so much more fun at higher speeds.
I’ll swap you for my Voodoo if you want, you can’t fall off the Voodoo, I came off a turn wrong a Mabie last week and nose dived into a big rock, just rolled straight over the top of it and stayed on.
Don’t thanks me, it’s fine, just let me know where I can pick the Five up fromPosted 3 years agoNorthwindSubscriber
Good elbow pads are surprisingly little bother- my POCs are expensive and stupid looking but they’re not sweaty or restrictive or anything, and they’ve spared me a lot of pain. I know pad cynics often say they can’t prevent broken bones but that is, frankly, so much horseflops and just a bit of justification people bring in after they’ve already decided they don’t like wearing them.
(I ended up with some weird nerve pressure point thing riding in the alps this year and couldn’t wear them, braking bumps had set my arms jangling… I spent the whole week waiting to smash my arms up!)Posted 3 years ago
Sometimes, bad stuff just happens. Could be you were just unlucky, all the analysis in the world won’t change that.
Yes, this one was just bad luck, but it’s reminded me again of three basic facts.
1. Hooning around mountains on bikes is going to lead to crashes.
2. Fifty year olds break more easily than 20 year olds.
3. Breaking bones isn’t just a pain for me (if it were, I’d accept it as a price worth paying). It’s a pain for the whole family.
Statistically, even 3 trips to A&E in 14 months isn’t significant, but to just carrying on doing the same and hoping for a different outcome probably isn’t sensible.
To be honest I don’t know the answer (it’s probably not a Voodoo though prawny, thanks for the offer 🙂 ), but at least I’m getting a handle on the question.Posted 3 years ago
“@smurf I’m thinking if you want your little ones FF’d & padded up etc just to come riding with you, perhaps what you’re taking them on isn’t really appropriate. I don’t think I’d take my little one on Swinley red on a piggy back seat, there are countless ways that can go wrong … where’s the upside?“
Thanks for the question as I think it’s helpful to get some other views.
I certainly won’t be taking the oldest (6 yrs old and on her own bike) round the trails of Swinley for a little while – I’m thinking through a series of practice sessions in the local park (that has a few small hills and “bumps” rather than jumps to play on) are needed first. I want to see good brake / low speed control, looking ahead, better balance, learning about letting the bike roll over undulations etc before we go anywhere else.
As for the younger one on the seat…an interesting question. I will give it some more thought as my perception of risk is going to be different to others (e.g. I commute into the City each day on a motorbike, I’ve done loads of bike trackdays, and when I was younger I was into my action sports – climbing, diving, backpacking, kayaking, caving).
I do take it really easy though and I’m always pulling over to let others pass as we’re the slowest out there, but you’re right – something could happen that leads to a tumble that has a negative outcome.
The upside? I get to ride…she gets to ride off road and do something she likes – they have both used the seat / ridden with me loads.
As for the FF and pads – again, an interesting debate. To be honest my thinking is more driven by injuries to date at home rather than zooming around Swinley. We’ve already had our fair share of skinned knees, elbows, grazed chin, cut lip, knocked teeth – all from just playing in the garden and driveway. I don’t think anyone enjoys that kind of low level but still quite painful stuff, hence the thinking.Posted 3 years ago
To be honest by upside I was meaning the red instead of family trails.
I bet they adore begin out on a bike with you wherever you go, they’re lucky. Special memories for them to hold for the future.
I have a 3 year old who blats along on her Tinybike with me running down the path behind her. Am looking forwards to when we can go riding ‘together’.
I guess this is one part of “is it worth it?” – yes it is.Posted 3 years ago
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