I'm not a doctor but…
Cycling injury, recovery and health issues.
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Hi, I have been a member of these forums for just a year and have enjoyed reading your posts so I guess I should post now, and not without good reason. I have been a commuter for three years plus riding the same route five days a week. I rode an Avanti Blade flat bar on 700x28's with clipless pedals. Yep a real 'mamil' I was...and loving it.
So one morning during early April this year I had a pretty bad crash where I received three breaks to my left elbow, two dislocated fingers on my right hand (including two broken bones to the little finger), 23 stitches to my face, nerve damage and chipping to my teeth, and the obligatory grazes to knees, face, hands etc. Six days in hospital and three operations. So yeah, in a nutshell, nasty.
I have a plate in my left elbow and I still am undergoing physio for my right little finger. It is over six months now and after much consideration I have decided I want to ride again so I walked into three different bike shops...each time I felt extremely anxious in my stomach, like butterflies as people coin it. And I know I will again when I purchase my new bike which I envisage will have a lower centre of gravity, standard pedals, wider profile tyres and a less aggressive riding posture. I feel emotional even at the thought of riding again but I really want to. I attribute these feeling to confidence as I had no memory of the cause to why my crash occurred so I cannot really alter or adjust anything to prevent it happening again.
So after this violin story I would like to know if anyone reading this had a bad cycling crash and had any issues getting on the 'horse' again after being thrown off incurring a few higher end injuries.
I had a bad one fairly early on when I'd just started, came off at about 40km/h and fractured the L1 vertebrae. It was enormously painful, but the bike was okay. The worst thing was that trying to sleep was painful, trying to sit on a reclining lounge chair hurt as well, sometimes it was just painful at any time, never mind sneezing - that hurt. It did recover after a lot of rest.
I realised that I was lucky that no cars collected me, for a while after that I was quite put off riding the bike at all, and not keen on getting back on it on the road. Somehow, I just did, eventually.
Have you got friends to ride with? They are the best motivation you can get. Riding with mates really beats riding alone.
Join a cycling club perhaps or go on a ride with your LBS.
Not knowing what caused your accident must make it very hard for you. As you say, you don't know what to modify/be more careful of to prevent a repeat.
I am sure you are planning to anyway, but be sure to start off small on quiet roads so that you have fewer cars etc to worry about as you rebuild your confidence.
Bluto, I was collected by a turning car in April this year resulting a broken right arm (plate inserted), busted right knee (luckily no structural damage), broken pinkie on the left hand, concussion and several bumps and scrapes. 5 days in hospital and some surgery later I was released. I underwent a period of physio and strengthening work in the gym and am now back on the bike - since June.
Like you, I have NO recollection of the accident - I don't remember any of April 23. I don't remember being hit, dragging myself and my bike off the road nor calling my wife (while the driver called the ambulance). I think not remembering any of this has made it easier, in part, to getting back on the bike.
I've got a new bike and have returned to commuting with a vengeance. I was, and continue to, doing most of my riding on shared paths. When I got hit I was returning home from the train station in my suburb - a 2km on road trip in my neck of the woods where we experience many cyclists.
I know how I ride and I take as much precaution as I can. Unfortunately on that occasion, a car didn't see me and turned across my path from the opposite side of the road - he was turning into his street on his way home. I don't believe there was much else I could have done.
Anyway, I hope that your confidence returns and you get back on your steed. While our stories are different, there are definitely some similarities. Hope this helps a little.
Hey thanks for your replies, very sound advice provided and also encouraging. I don't disagree with any of the posts here and will take the advice given. Probably with PIH, I see they probably tick the right boxes but I have been with Handworks for a while now and they seem to be getting me back on track. Interestingly enough, they say a large proportion of accident victims they see are cyclists. And since my accident I am realising that there are plenty more cycling victims out there.
I got hit by a truck from behind in 81= 10days in hospital, fracture head, a huge hematoma to the right buttock and base of the my back resulting in the nerves being torn away from the surface of that area and still screwed up, stitches in the head and right shoulder blade, plus compression of my spine.
Took me nearly 4mths to be able to get back on my bike and was and still am a bit jittery on narrow roads, hence why I avoid them. Have had some heavy falls in races and was back on the bike as soon as I could get new wheels put back on.
The sooner you get back up and riding the better it is for your confidence!
I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
I read all your responses again, and I feel bad for you guys as you most likely went through what I went through. Glad to see you are all riding though. I am having my right arm put into a plaster cast as part of my physio this week. Sounds weird I know but to save me typing a text wall there is a good purpose behind it. So I anticipate mid to end November I will be on a bike again. And your stories reiterate the dangers of cycling even if you are the innocent party. I look at some cyclists who don't wear helmets and just think they are crazy. My helmet has saved me on two occasions from receiving more serious injuries.
I have been riding for just over a year and had my first proper stack Sunday week ago. Not too bad, came off in the wet (AT) 35 km/h and grazed up my right side. Nothing as bad as some of the stories here and definitely no serious injuries however needless to say it has shaken me up! I rode for the first time a week later (covered in medical gauzes and tape) and I was riding totally different to what I was prior to coming off. I guess its just time in the saddle to get the confidence back. Also I was pleasantly surprised and thankful to the motorists who stopped and helped my off the road and made sure i was 100% ok. I am anxious however when I am riding now, especially with all this wet weather we have had in Sydney.
1. Doored twice,
2. Hit a car that pulled in suddenly at 45kmh – shattered collarbone and shoulder reconstruction,
3. Wheel touch at 50kmh in a race and rash through the fat layer that is still visible,
4. One or two slide and crashes on wet corners,
5. A huge two wheel drift towards an embankment at about 30kmh downhill, corner, damp, on that heavy chipped bitumen,
6. A huge race crash in the sprint, where a the sharp teeth of a chain ring were coming at my face directly. The front tyre hit my front tyre and the bike bounced over me and took out several people behind me. I finished, unimpeded but incredulous.
7. Couple of others…
A couple of things on confidence etc,
• Having this list of incidents, I am actually more confident. I understand the downside consequence and that for the most part, I can recover.
• With injuries, the biggest danger is the post-crash-misalignment and the corrective action your body takes. This can skew your position and lead to long-term chronic pain much worse than the injury itself.
• The biggest off/damage doesn’t have the biggest affect on your confidence. For me, the two wheel slide to oblivion, still haunts me to this day. In the wet, I get scared. It happened so quickly, so unexpectedly and I was completely unable to slow the bike. Fate alone saved me from the precipice.
• Dooring is the biggest danger. I ride so slowly between cars.
• If you ride at your pace, where you feel comfortable, your confidence will return. I am much more experienced now. When I am conservative, I am much more conservative but when I go hard, it is much harder. A bit of a paradox of confidence – both less and more confident depending on the situation.
Good luck, you will get better.
I came down hard on wet railway tracks a couple of years ago and broke my left knee. I was lucky to get good medical advice and as a result made a full recovery. I didn't have any problems returning to cycling except that my knee hurt (a lot) at first. I was a bit more cautious than usual at the start but was back to normal in a few months.
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i've had more crashes than i can remember. including fractured skull (at 15 yrs old), another concussion soon after that, but been very lucky since. i've broken a pinky but other than that, only lost skin. mind you, i've lost a lot of skin.
crashes will happen. it's a part of cycling. the only thing that really, really matters is your head. i don't care so much if i a break a bone, they're mostly repairable. a bit of pain - but pain never hurt anyone.
luckily it's never occurred to me to give up cycling. my mum always thought i was crazy, she still offers me lifts in her car when i ride to her place.
over time you learn risk management techniques. almost all of my crashes these days are when i'm consciously taking risks, e.g. racing or MTB. can't complain about those!
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