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  • Post Injury Demons – getting back to riding advice ?
  • Premier Icon iainc

    I posted up on here about a horrid crash I had on the first ride on a new ebike back in October. Have had various surgeries and am at the early stages of a long journey of physio to see if I can get my left shoulder operating again, after a messy break, dislocation, ripped tendons, nerve damage and reconstruction surgery.

    Last bit of surgery was 7 weeks ago and this week has been a milestone in that I have sling off and am allowed to drive. Shoulder joint still pretty locked up, sore and stiff, minimal movement but enough for basic function. Physio is hoping I may get back on a bike, if I want to… in the summer, so still a long way off, and not a certainty by a long way..

    I love riding, and it’s great for me mentally too. I do a variety of road, gravel and MTB, and was transitioning to eMTB for some heart related issues.

    Mentally, I really don’t know if I am up to the risk of a shoulder tumble on the trails. Logically I guess that this is a bit more likely on the MTB than on gravel or road, but an ever present risk.

    My hope is that with time, and healing of the injury, the demons will recede, and if I’m able physically, I’ll get back onto some gentle trails. At age 54 I’m quite happy to stop the proper steep and techy stuff and aim for scenery, nice trails , company and exercise. I do have bikes to cover all aspects and although my sparkly new FS Ebike is currently back in the shop, for sale, I may buy another if/when I feel ready, as it’s my best route to MTB riding with underlying health issues.

    However, I really don’t know if I want to (well I do, but fear is high..)

    Any similar experiences and advice ?

    The first month or so of cycle commutes on the moutain bike after my RTA were really daunting, especially the ride home mid afternoon, my eyes were on stalks expecting drivers to be completely oblivious to me and run me down. I stopped cycle commuting besides spring and summer and I felt so vulnerable on my racey geo road bike (a lot of my injuries were around my jaw).

    Given time, this feeling subsided, plus I found a quieter route to get home. The fun of riding a fatbike on tarmac also helped a little later on! Think I’ve ridden to work everyday for at least three years now, besides the odd time when I’ve planned to get a train straight after work, plus I’ve had the road bike now for just over 2.5 years and doing more cycling now than I’ve ever done.

    Premier Icon Tracey

    Nice to hear you are on the mend. As you are aware mine was a long time sorting before the operation however I threw myself in at the deep end and two weeks with Bike Verbier.
    I did ride most stuff before the injury and I think it would be fair to say I think I ride stuff now both harder and faster than I did before but that’s probably down to bike designs and technology rather than rider input.
    Its early days yet so don’t give up on it yet. I have had loads of crashes since, none as bad, but I don’t tend to dwell on it.

    Premier Icon iainc

    ^^^ thanks, yes, your recovery helps inspire me ! At the moment I can’t get my arm above 45 degrees, just as well I don’t have much hair as i can’t touch my head 🙂

    Surgeon said it’d be more susceptible to a future dislocation but that I have to live my life….so he’s ok with me riding, not sure if my heid is though !


    Rewind therapy to deal with the mental & emotional aspect?

    We see professionals to heal our body, but we don’t always seek out help for our minds..
    (Other options are available.)


    As dull as it is, think about using a turbo to keep yourself ticking over fitness wise. It’s hard enough starting up after an injury let alone heading out with all of your fitness gone.

    I rode outside for the first time less than 6 months after breaking my spine in a bike v car. It was too soon if I’m honest and I nearly jacked it in completely as I simply wasn’t ready to deal with the mental side of it. If I could go back, I’d tell myself don’t be a hero but expose myself to it slowly and steadily. Don’t expect to ride 40 miles and everything to be as it were.

    I had a puncture 2nd time out and it was nearly enough for me to eBay all of my bikes. I simply wasn’t ready for it.

    But now 2 years later I’m pretty much fine mentally. Physically not so, but I’ve come to terms with what I am aiming to get out of cycling has change, and am reasonably happy with that.

    Good luck.

    Hob Nob

    As someone who had a significant shoulder injury coming up to 3 years ago, I can relate. In fact it’s still not fixed now, and probably never will be, unless I go for some fairly invasive surgery, which will result in me not being able to ride off road any more, because of I then crashed on it, it’s game over.

    At first I was pretty apprehensive on the bike, but decided to hit the gym properly for the first time in my life in an attempt to strengthen it, and other parts of me. Riding was hard as I had no stability in my shoulder at all, and found especially when racing of hitting a corner hard I would collapse over the front of the bike. Over time, as my strength and range of movement improved, it happened less and less. Then the inevitable happened and I took a big crash on it, but was fine. I carried on and have since crashed again but because I’m now stronger I can take the hit a bit better. I’m now at a point where I don’t notice it, or think about it when riding or racing.

    The other benefit is my riding is probably better than it ever has been now, because I’m stronger. Still can’t do certain things in the gym because of it, but then my desire to do snatch based movements and overhead squats is pretty limited anyway 😆

    Premier Icon chakaping

    I think I may have posted this on your last injury related thread OP, but I had a break at top of my humerus aged 40.

    I was a bit tense & scared when I resumed riding (why I did Ullock Pike as my second ride back I’m still not sure), but while it did take me a long time to get my confidence back fully – there was a crucial moment like HobNob had where I fell off, landed on my shoulder and was totally fine.

    The sense of relief was amazing, like when you quit a job you hate.

    I’d also recommend gym work for building up some protection and general good health at your age anyway.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Premier Icon weeksy

    TBH i’ve never found it an issue, both with motorbikes or MTBs…. Sure there’s times i’ve gone slower and had to find the speed after a big off, but i’ve never had any worries or fears about getting back on the seat/saddle at all.


    It kind of depends. When I did my wrist, I was a bit nervous, but the main problem with breaking my wrist was riding my bike became impossible for a bit and restricted for a bit more.

    What made it harder was that whilst I was off with the wrist I’d overdone the running and picked up a couple of injuries/niggles. Felt very vulnerable, and I guess you probably do with your recent health issues.

    If the main issue with the shoulder is that it’s restricted your riding, remember that that’s the problem so riding again is necessary. On my return to MTB I forced myself to do the scariest bit of local descent I knew, just to get back into it. It sounds like you might have a different opinion on what you want to get out of riding, so a different approach might be required.

    Premier Icon iainc

    Some great ideas so far, much appreciated

    Premier Icon TiRed

    First time I got back on the road after a similar accident was awful! First roundabout saw me lose it. Then I went out on some gentle road rides and things got better. Off-road I’ve never really gone back, but simple red stuff is ok. My climbing days are also over.

    Just go gently until confidence comes back.

    Oh and every time I see a really deep pothole I still get flashbacks to 2016 when I lost my clubmate

    Injured self back in 2016, putting pay to planned 50th birthday cycle-tour. In fact it put pay to pretty much any cycling excepting local bimbles with seat lowered to the point where it wasn’t re-injuring. Fitness levels dipped and weight gained until motivation for exercise became a problem. Took a fall and came to close to making it worse. Made me sensibly nervous. Recently bought a kick-bike which is great as it’s a better workout than regular cycling without the repetitive strain from being ‘fixed’ on the pedals. Also no falls likely as you just walk off it. Mixing this in with some gentle riding on gravelbike and improvements are at last being felt. Some singlespeed hardtailing too. Then two years later I reinjured it simply by a steep road climb. Absolutely gutting to go back to near stage 1 after two years. Two years later (now) I’m still super-cautious but it’s getting better with strengthening exercises/physio other than cycling. (injury is transverse abs/groin/inguinal tears)

    Lower your immediate risks and gradually increase/diversify your physio exercise is my advice. Look at hydrotherapy.


    Busted collar bone and frozen shoulder August 2018, collar bone plating op in November and capsular release op in April ’19. It’s been that, which has caused the most discomfort but as the surgeon predicted, the weird joint clicks and pops are slowly diminishing as I approach the first anniversary.

    Getting back on the road bike wasn’t a problem and I’ve recently refreshed my mojo by treating myself to a 2020 Roubaix, an astonishingly good bike, so I can’t wait to get out on it. The only real consequence of the time off the bike is lack of shoulder strength but as I passed 60 I was already seeking out shorter but better quality rides, so for example I’ll drive out then ride 32 miles round the Bowland Fells, missing out the boring 10 miles at each end on busier roads from home and back that I know well. I’ll be doing some gravel on the Roubaix but won’t ever mountain bike again as the risk of a fall worries me too much. Going skiing in March and will also take a bit more care not to take any tumbling falls.


    OP I also commented on your original post. I’m one year and two weeks post surgery for similar.
    It gets better 👍 slowly

    Premier Icon chakaping

    First time I got back on the road after a similar accident was awful! First roundabout saw me lose it.

    My first ride back was a drizzly road ride on my old Kona Jake, with terrible canti brakes.

    Gave myself a scare as a car didn’t give way on the first roundabout, took the easy way home and put the bike straight on eBay. Bought something with discs instead, a Boardman CX which didn’t handle as well off-road and which I fell off of, landing on my shoulder as mentioned in previous post.

    All’s well that ends well I suppose.

    It took me about 8 months to recover my confidence from a brain injury resulting from an MTB accident and over a year for me to return to anywhere near normal from the injury.

    Man up ya auld fanny. 🙂

    Premier Icon iainc

    ^^^ I knew you’d be along with words of encouragement soon 🙂

    (hope you’ve not snuk a car park ride in on my bike in Sprockets… ! )

    I could’ve done with it on wednesday night, 8 of us out and me the only one on a clockwork bike! ****!

    Premier Icon iainc

    Many thanks for all the ideas, good food for thought 👍


    Hope the recovery goes well, one thing that really helped me after surgery on my shoulder was riding my full suspension bike on the road and local gravel paths. My first ride was on my CX and every bump , small pothole and dead cat that I went over would send shooting pain through my shoulder, where as the 160mm travel big bouncer with a few psi out the front folk really took the sting out of riding for a month or so.

    Premier Icon Poopscoop

    Torn rotator cuff here, last April.

    Still going to physio. Range of movement is pretty good but you can feel/hear the joint moving around as it’s not yet stabilised enough by the surrounding muscles.

    I did the SDW in July wearing a shoulder brace I bought and was VERY aware that a crash could be very bad news so I took it nice and easy.

    Must admit, the concern over the shoulder is partly why I’m hitting Zwift hard over winter. The thought of landing hard on my right arm and that shock being sent up to the shoulder makes me wince at the thought.

    Anyway,I enjoy Zwift and I’ll return to real biking this Spring much fitter and with the shoulder in better shape too by then.👍

    Premier Icon argee

    As like a few above, had a bad crash, recovery is very personal, i was back out quick, probably too quickly, same with first crash on the shoulder, that was about 3 months after the accident, as a couple of others say, it gave me confidence that the shoulder wasn’t made of glass, but was a bit daft to be honest doing that so early.

    As for demons, again, personally it’s scenario based, i had a front wheel washout at high speed, straight into the ground, so i am nervous when hitting speedy descents, but getting better by just practicing more, if you have a certain scenario you are worried about maybe a lesson would help, especially on a new ebike, loads of coaches do this type of thing now, and it may give you the confidence to get back out there?

    Premier Icon iainc

    Some great suggestions, and inspiration, much appreciated all.

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