- Swinley crash
If you were riding down Red 7 on Friday 28 April at between 1130 and 1330 you may have seen me reclining in the dirt. A small tree stump had invaded my field of vision – I succeeded in ignoring the 90% of trail that was obstacle free, managed to avoid the stump but the tree beyond the stump then took over distraction duties. Front brake grabbed a little too eagerly resulted in me going OTB and landing on my left hip with a crunch. Luckily i was riding with a mate who wasn’t too far ahead. I managed to crawl off to the side of the trail on my good side but no further. I definitely couldn’t get up.
Bike Hub was called and a warden, Dan, arrived after about half an hour with a first aid bag. Given there was no external damage Dan couldn’t do much beyond cover me with a coat and chat about bikes but this was very much appreciated – thanks Dan!
some time later, the ambulance arrived. The paramedics did their usual bang up job -, gas and air deployed (amazing stuff), pelvic brace put on, strapped to a stretcher , a bumpy push down the trail to the waiting ambulance, about 9 hours on a trolley in RBH, x Ray and CT scan confirmed an acetabular fracture which is a fracture to the lining of the hip socket. This requires surgery to smooth things out and avoid arthritis later.
So I write to you today from my hospital bed at John Radcliffe (RBH cant do this surgery apparently) waiting to know when the 3 hour op will be. More bored than nervous now. This could have been a lot worse – they are describing the injury as stable ie no damage to blood vessels or anything else, so there is no mad rush to do the op – they want to wait until they have the right people in and enough time to do it.
Other possible contributory factors are that a) i’m new to Swinley – this was my 2nd ride there b) i was completely new to the bike – it was a demo Bird Aeris 145 and i was getting used to 1x and the Sram Guide shifters which you push to move up and down (I kept looking for a pull shifter therefore shifting too late). This is no reflection on the bike – for the 40 minutes I was upright it felt good and the bike definitely came off better than I did! C) I was riding SPDs – flats may have allowed me to run off the bike as it started pivoting.
They are thinking 10 weeks on crutches then light weight bearing exercise so the biking is off the agenda for the foreseeable.
Anyway if you were one of the riders who passed by and offered help (100%) thanks !
BobPosted 3 years ago
Sorry to hear that Bob – I think I saw your ambulance as I was leaving but didn’t see you. Good luck with the op.
MurrayPosted 3 years ago
Well get better soon, crutches are a good opportunity to practice balance on one leg…. especially with a pint in one hand…
Other than the bike et al… really you were just unlucky with the landing…Posted 3 years ago
We all fall…. sometimes you just land badly…
Get well soon OP. Is there an emergency number for Swinley?Posted 3 years ago
10 weeks? You’ll not miss all of summer then?Posted 3 years ago
Sorry to hear this.
Hope the op goes well and you are soon on the road to recovery.
10 weeks of Internet searching for an n+1 reward then 😉Posted 3 years ago
I did this but snapped ball end of the femur clean off, rather than damaging the socket. All I can recommend is take it easy for as long as they tell you, but I was back on turbo at 6 weeks (easy going). A year later and I’m fully healed with no complications. Feeling very thankful…
I mention this because if you read about people with similar injuries on the internet, you’ll only learn about the ones that went badly in terms of healing, get well soon!Posted 3 years ago
Good luck on the recovery!
Seems like everyone did a great job on getting you safe and sorted though.Posted 3 years ago
Oh man. Swinley can bite in a fraction of a second just through bad luck!
GWSPosted 3 years ago
Guys thanks for the kind words
Steve – Yep it’s bad luck as much as anything and could’ve been worse. I could do with a beer now…
Bubs – my riding buddy managed to call the bike hub and they sent Dan the warden to see us. Dan then called the ambulance
Mtbfix – no but I’ll be taking it easy when I do get backPosted 3 years ago
Normalman – absolutely! The Bird didn’t really get a fair shake in 40 mins so may have to take another out sometime. In the meantime my current bike (2012 camber expert) is getting some TLC including conversion to 1×10 so maybe I’ll get my confidence back on the old bike first
Bainbrge – I was hoping to hear from someone who’d had a similar hip/pelvis type injury. Everyone is telling me it’s a serious/nasty one so I was getting slightly freaked out. Plus a 3 hour op. I am trying to avoid googling acetabular surgery for that very reason. They are telling me that JR in Oxford is the place to be for this type of injury so that’d reassuaring. Glad to hear your recovery went so well – that injury sounds horrendous
Thanks all.Posted 3 years ago
Well, a do as I say not as I did …though my long term crutches were ankle but I ended up making things worse and ending up on crutches much longer through not listening…
As bainburg said
All I can recommend is take it easy for as long as they tell you
I don’t know much about your injury but remember people come back from much much worse… You can always watch Gee’s recovery on Youtube….
Like I said a bit of bad luck… I did a OTB at Swinley about 4-5 weeks ago .. (just not paying attention) but I landed OK, helmet hit a tree but not hard and landing on pine needles and bracken didn’t even have a bruise… I could have done exactly the same and landed badly and be in the bed next to you…
I’ve broken a lot over the years…. it doesn’t even bear counting (not just on the bike either) but stupidly when I was young and foolish I tried getting back into sport too early and screwed stuff up ….Posted 3 years ago
@rascott I think the doctors tend to err on the side of caution, or at least blunt realism. First thing the A&E doc said to me was that I’d done the worst break possible, and the surgeon would likely do a hip replacement there and then. Luckily they just pinned and plated but then said that I had a very high probability of bone necrosis, hence hip replacement very possible down the track.
Last X-ray the surgeon said ‘thou art healed’ and despite having to keep lots of metalwork, my risk of needing a hip replacement had diminished.
Re the operation, I got the impression that if they remove your femur from the pelvis to fix things, it necessarily damages lots of tendons/muscles that hold things in place. Hence the long recovery time. However, the nurses had a great time telling me exactly how my leg had been manipulated to get things sorted – not sure I believe my ankle went behind my ears though…
I’m sure some people come off worse than me, but in retrospect it’s worth having the attitude that nothing is set in stone with long recoveries. Also, a close friend of mine needed a hip replacement due to other issues at 35. He’s fully recovered and riding, so nothing is insurmountable.
Last thing – quality and quantity of physio is very variable but really critical. In hospital they just get you on your feet and then show you how to do stairs with crutches etc. I would not have been prescribed anything at 6 weeks had I not asked. In the event I got three 30min sessions which wasn’t great. Paid for a couple of additional hours then took up Pilates later. I was really disciplined with the exercises they gave me early on, which were really simple given lack of mobility, but so valuable for keeping things moving and helping healing. Having said that, if you are toe touch only for 2-3 months, your muscles will need significant rebuilding work once you get the OK!Posted 3 years ago
Swinley is evil, there’s some bad juju there.Posted 3 years ago
I think it’s the site of an old burial ground.
After 44 years of falling off bikes I broke my first bone there, then went back after it was healed and landed on my face, with my bike doing a great job of messing up all my limbs and torso when it landed on me.
Rode CYB, Cannock and FOD all many times with no such bother.
Never like to read these stories…good luck with the op dude & here’s to a speedy trouble free recovery.
the trails won’t ever go awayPosted 3 years ago
Get Well Soon OP! Listen to what your body is telling you, take things slowly, but don’t be too afraid of a little bit of pain and trying to at least get things moving (if not weight bearing) ASAP!
I actually think quite a few of the Trail Centers are really quite nasty places to fall off, which sounds silly considering in the grand scheme of things they are pretty tame trails! But, because of the amount of traffic they get, they tend to be really hard hard pack trails, that doesn’t move an inch when you hit it!. As someone who most rides at Woburn Sands, where the clue about the trail conditions in in the name, i do get a bit blase about falling off, as most times, there is a soft(ish) landing…..Posted 3 years ago
thanks for all the supportive messages – great community here.
Max torque definitely – i guess for the trails to be all weather at these places they need to be pretty hard packed – where i landed certainly didn’t give at all.
Jkomo – you might be right – first major off ive had in years…
Stevextc – which crash are you referring to? He seems to have had a couple …will check it out on youtube to make myself feel better
Bainbrge – thanks and i will bear that in mind re the physio – hoping my work medical plan will cover some sessionsPosted 3 years ago
Sorry to hear of this, hope recovery goes well.
I believe Red 7 is one of the flat sections through the trees? Just shows you don’t need to be barreling downhill to get hurtPosted 3 years ago
was getting used to 1x and the Sram Guide shifters which you push to move up and down (I kept looking for a pull shifter therefore shifting too late).
Confusing at first coming from Shimano, but makes more sense when you get used to it, and means you can keep index finger resting on brake lever and just thumb to shift.
Anyway, healing vibes. Hopefully it’s not as bad as it seems.Posted 3 years ago
Ah sorry to hear about the crash, swinley is great at biting you in the butt out of the blue, here’s to as speedy recovery as possible. Your camber isn’t a red and white one by chance is it? Could be coincidence but I had a chat with a chap earlier in the week who has one and was test riding an aeris 145 (I was the mechanic with the Bird Zero festooned with Orange hope bits)??Posted 3 years ago
(Using iPad here or I’d be using the quote function!)
Flashinthepan – yes that’s it, it was a gentle flat bend with a 2 inch tree stump on the outside of the bend. I was doing about 5mph, I even have a photo of it – slightly embarrassing it’s wasn’t a big gap or something
Kenny yes I see the logic of that. Like all things you’d get used to it
Hi Matt yes that was me , we spoke on Thursday. Take your time on the camber as I won’t be needing it for a while! Enjoy the zero, very nice bikePosted 3 years ago
Heal fast. Take your time. I broke my first bone at Swinley, I s not about speed or even difficulty.Posted 3 years ago
Swinley and Llandegla seem to have a bit of a reputation for wrecking riders.
Get well soon.Posted 3 years ago
Hi. Sorry to hear about your crash. Doctors always err on the cautious side, better safe than sorry. Swinley is an easy track/trails, but if you take your eye off the ball for a second it will bite hard. A lot of variables involved in your crash i’d say From what you wrote seems like you were concentrating on controls when you should of been concentrating on the trail. Personally myself i wont use SRAM on my bikes for various reasons, one being the gear shifter. It would take me too long to get used to it to the point of it being something i wouldn’t need to think about, when i should be thinking of the trail.( I use chassis mounted cranes for a living , and know with a change from one to another with differently configured controls that you haven’t used before takes 3 weeks to get used to the point of not thinking about the controls, once you know all variants you just switch modes in your brain)i’m not a slow learner,but i’ve always had bikes with Shimano drivetrains don’t think about changing gear.I go to Swinley most of the time, it’s about the after buzz. Got closer trails , a bit more technical perhaps but not the full package and don’t leave you with the after buzz, which is what it’s about to me. Perhaps you should of done the blue a few times to get your eye in with the new kit. Hope you mend quickly and get back on the trails asap. One thing i would say is i wouldn’t jump straight back in with 1x as 2x will be easier on you because of ½ gears, but your choice.Posted 3 years ago
Sorry to read about your crash OP. Sounds like you’re in safe hands now though. As others have said, just do as the Doctors and Physio say and you’ll be back on the bike before you know it.Posted 3 years ago
Healing vibes. It’s bizarre how often the slow speed crashes are worse that the omg high speed wipeout.
Take it easy on the recovery as in follow the schedule they say but do the physio with dedication, its scary how much muscle loss there is so quickly. When you do start riding treat yourself to a 1-1 with Jedi/Tony at UK Bike Skills – aside from the technique stuff he will help massively with regaining your confidence.
1 more thing when I bust my knee I was told to focus on road/smooth ground riding to start with, I ignored this but it was good advivce as the joint will need a gentle rehab not being rattled around.Posted 3 years ago
Swinley, she’s a cruel mistress, she’s an errant child, she’s a deceptive ocean with strong currents underneath.Posted 3 years ago
My biggest off was at Swinley, still have the scars, and every time I’ve been there I’ve seen a big accident. Strange place.
Hmmm Swinley. I had the Air Ambulance land after my crash (mashed shoulder / collar bone and concussed) but they decided to carry me out. Worst crash ever, it’s not to be underestimated!
Healing vibes OP.Posted 3 years ago
People mock Swinley for being flat and tame. But I’ve heard of one impact related fatality there and several other serious accidents.
Moral of the story* is – just because it looks tame, doesn’t mean safety is guaranteed. Swinley can be risky because it can be really fast.
* for general readers, not the OP obvs, he’s probably aware of this 🙂Posted 3 years ago
Stevextc – which crash are you referring to? He seems to have had a couple …will check it out on youtube to make myself feel better
Broken neck one!
(He was just messing about which just shows the band landing thing..I mean compared to the CRAZY stuff he’s done and walked away from..which I hadn’t realised till I watched a few Athertons vids… I mean you expect him to have bad crashes with what he does… just not when essentially “messing about in his back garden” )
Lots on youtube if you just search “Atherton broken neck”Posted 3 years ago
I hope your recover quickly and completely, OP.
Those little trail-side tree stumps all over the place Swinley (including the very last Blue section, where if you’ve ‘done a purple’, you might be a bit tired) are bastards. But then so are the rounded, highly polished stones in all the most hard-pack trails – they were really slippery in places this Sunday. As many of you have noted, Swinley may be pretty flat and not very technical, but you have to pay attention or you’ll come a cropper…Posted 3 years ago
Plenty of opportunities to break yourself at Swinley, more so off-piste. In my case, myself being useless numpty failing to land a drop (or at least land on wheels instead of my head).
For A&E though I recommend making a right mess of it and therefore getting straight in out of the ambulance on a stretcher. No waiting for hours. 😀Posted 3 years ago
Hey Bob hope your doing well now! You’ll be pleased to know (I’m sure 😉 ) I fixed that reverb. Deadkenny and I have both butchered ourselves at Swinley (DK much more so mind) so you’re in dubiously good company.
Hopefully you’ll be back on the bike soon. Ben (of Bird).Posted 3 years ago
Hi guys , day 9 update from John Radcliffe hospital
The pelvic surgery was done last Tuesday. A 7 hour operation ( which the surgeon underestimated by 50%). This is when the fun and games really began. Because they have to move your insides round quite a bit for this operation it’s quite common for the bowel to “go on strike”. So food and water were not being passed along and my stomach was distended. I looked pregnant. So they put me on nil by mouth on Friday and are feeding me via IV. The next bit was one of the worst things I’ve had to endure – having a nasal gastric tube inserted so the contents of my stomach could be drained. This involves a tube up the nose and down the throats which you have to “swallow”. Seems I have a very sensitive gag reflex. The first attempt was like a scene from the exorcist, green vomit everywhere etc.
Everything is a mix of boredom, pain, bed pans, x rays, boredom, repeat
So they need to sort the bowel, then do physio, then I may breathe fresh air sometime in the future. It could be 3 weeks in total. My advice is to avoid this injury if you can
Thanks for all the comments and best wishes
BobPosted 3 years ago
Oh and the nasal tube has just slid out so I have to go through all that again.Posted 3 years ago
That sounds crap. I hope you are over the worst of it and start getting better soon.Posted 3 years ago
Grim. Hope you get better soon.Posted 3 years ago
Aww man, that doesn’t sound fun at all… got away with a few stitches and a sore face after an otb this weekend so I should quit whining about it really.
Heal fast mate.Posted 3 years ago
not good – hope you’re out soon.
I’d second the comment above about physio.Posted 3 years ago
Anything you need from us ? Magazines, clothes bringing in, food etc… I’m only 20-25 mins away just south of Didcot and happy to drop in if you’re stuck.Posted 3 years ago
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