How do you deal with the risks of crashing at super inopportune times?

I had another crash where I separated a shoulder and broke a helmet on a super benign, easy part of a trail I’ve ridden at least 500 times, not even a technical feature. I don’t know how I crashed due to the super brief memory loss but I knew where the bike as and had a good idea of how I got there. This is my 4th crash with injury in 6-years of the hobby.

I also just spent the summer riding bikes in Arkansas, rode all through New Mexico, throughout central Texas and luckily was never hurt as I was traveling for work on all of these trips. Right now, I’m wondering if riding bikes anywhere but at home, near hospitals I know take my insurance, is irresponsible and dangerous. I wonder if I should be riding the bike at all if I have travel or important events that I should not miss due to injury?

How do you handle this stuff?

I wear a RoadID. When I traveled and was single, I used the interactive version and would update the contact information priority list based on where I was (who was closer, etc). I joked when I was riding in Park City that when someone found my skeleton that they would be able to ID me by the RoadID. Now I use one that just has the 5 main contacts on it. I really do find my stress is lower when I wear it, knowing people can be contacted.

Some of my worst crashes have also happened on trails I know well. Flukes I guess.

We can get hurt at any moment. Just walking near a road is getting stupid dangerous. Why not do things you enjoy? Just stay in your comfort zone and go with it.

If you want, look into who takes your insurance and put that on the interactive RoadID. but if you are that hurt, reality is you want the best care possible, regardless.

I say enjoy life.

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On the last crash, actually on every crash, I was either doing something super simple, was hit from behind, or hit by a car. On the shoulder last month, I was cruising through a flat section, mo more dangerous than rolling down the road aside from the amount of skin I kept.

I want the best care I can afford. My broken arm cost me my retirement account due to out of network coding for one service of many in that surgery.

Man that stinks! Sorry to hear you crashed. I hope your mending up. Personally the risk of crashing (and not actually crashing) provides that little adrenaline rush that I enjoy most from riding. That and rides with the family enjoying nature are what keep me coming back. I previously raced snowmobiles where the speeds frequently were close to the century mark and visibility was zero at times. I stopped because as a father of 3 young kids I couldn’t keep taking the risks that put my life and family at stake. I miss it tremendously but at one point or another we all have to sit down and evaluate our risk versus reward for our hobbies. In relative terms I think most forms of biking are safe if we’re making sound decisions and not being a knucklehead. Don’t get me wrong… Sometimes stuff just happens you can’t expect but that goes for anything in life. Just make the best decision you can at the time and don’t look back on it.

Last summer my wife was riding MTB with her group of friends she always rode with on Monday nights. For some reason we still don’t know she blacked out on a down hill and hit the ground very hard. She suffered a moderate brain injury. Subarchanoid hemorrhage(bleeding in the brain) a year worth of speech, physical, occupational therapy, six months off work, the list goes on… The neurosurgeon said if it wasn’t for her helmet she would of passed away. My point is things are going to happen in life we can’t predict or expect. If we live life waiting for the terrible things to happen we will miss out on all the great stuff too. My wife’s accident has changed life for our family in MANY ways. It’s changed her forever and has definitely created a new normal for us as things continue to evolve with her condition. In the end her accident has made us much closer and stronger as a family. I don’t wish this on anyone but doing our best to look at the positives and staying away from the negatives that can easily overcome you. I know religion is a touchy subject anywhere but her accident has brought us all closer to the man upstairs and reminds us that he’s ultimately in control. If it wasn’t for him I can’t imagine where we would of ended up.

I hope you can find the answers you need and still enjoy all that life has to offer.

Last note… Not sure if youre a Wahoo user. Other company’s probably provide the same service… I use the live link when I go out on rides so it sends a text message to the folks at home when I take off. They can click on the link and follow me in real-time to see where I’m at. Works well.

Best wishes…

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This is so American that it is scary.


Personally I find crashing is always inopportune…

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I broke my collar bone rather badly 6 days before an arbitration hearing out of state. I needed surgery but could not schedule it before the hearing. I was confident I could do the hearing if I could get there and I’d already come up with a clever witty way to explain to the arbitrator why I had no socks or a tie on but i was a bit stymied by how I was going to get all my bags through the airport one handed (lawyer travel heavy). Fortunately, before I had to start begging for an adjournment, we settled the case.

I have a friend who’s a lawyer who was in similar predicament from a bike crash over the weekend while in a multi week jury trial. The judge refused to adjourn the trial. He spent 3 days in the hospital with a collapsed lung and broken ribs then had to go right back to court.

PM sent.

It’s good to see that I’m not the only one with 4 injuries in the last 6 years. With an older, non-muscular body, I’m strongly leaning toward giving up road racing. It is the scariest, but has resulted in only one of my injuries (ribs and lung). Commuting doesn’t worry me as much since most of my usual route keeps me away from traffic. I did manage to rip open the skin on the inside of my elbow during an inattentive moment commuting, totally by myself.

Meanwhile, I’m another happy user of Garmin Varia Radar. I also use Garmin’s LiveTrack system to let my wife know where I am, but I’m disappointed with how often it doesn’t work in one way or another.

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Yup. Canuck health care kinda sucks on all levels but at least we don’t go bankrupt or need crowdfunding trying to pay for services. We may, however, die waiting. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I agree with others in that you shouldn’t stop riding because of what might happen. I knew an accomplished MTBer who crashed a couple years ago, landed on his head wrong and died. That could have happened on any previous ride, but it didn’t. Yes, I know, it only has to happen once…that’s not the point.

You might have to start scheduling rides around your type of work/life events if it cuts down on your stress & lets you enjoy riding when you do it. It’s a hobby we love and we make sacrifices to do it, but on occasion we gotta sacrifice the hobby for life.


Crashes happen, I’ve had two grade 3 separated shoulders in the past 3 years from MTB. Statistically you’re probably more likely to get in a car accident on the way to the trail than while on it. A safe way to live is to stay on the couch and cover yourself in bubble wrap, but that’s not living.

Aside from all of that and what’s been said above by others, give a good hard look at why you’re crashing. Are you doing stupid or risky things on the bike? It appears you’re not as your crashes happen in “safer” parts of the trail. This would indicate loss of focus. When the trail is technical and/or sketchy we give our full 100% attention, so we don’t crash. Then as the trail becomes smoother there is a tendency to let our mind wonder and all it takes is an odd rock, root or tree to put us on the ground. If this is you, correct this and if you need more breaks mid ride then take them to maintain focus.

Additionally, look at your bike setup. I found that many of my crashes were front tire washouts. A bit of that was me not weighting the front tire as much, but that was compounded by not enough sag in the fork and too much psi in the tires. So I softened the fork, went with 2.35 tires and psi of 18/20 in the front and back respectively. Furthermore, I really focused on cornering and weight distribution. All of this drastically improved my handling and all but eliminated frequent loss of grip.

I walk around my work and see people injured from yard work, moving furniture or other typical lifestyle activities. Not to mention those afflicted by other health conditions, but such is life in your 40s. My perspective is to live a life worth living but don’t be an idiot :wink:. Heal up and get back to it.

The big ones with injury were hit behind by a car, 13-ride pile-up and hit from behind/launched, hit by a boat trailer, and this one on the MTB trail. I don’t know that I lost focus here because of the memory loss, might return to the crash site today and try to see what I may have hit or screwed-up.

This is what I’m most curious in regarding others. I travel for work for extended periods of time, 3-9 months. Am I being irresponsible?

I came from weight lifting, think I’m going to at least get back into body-weight work to strengthen soft-tissue. I went from putting up 1000lb on my big three to struggling to produce 20 push-ups, lol.

I slowed down when my son was born. But for me, that meant no more road racing or crits. They always scared the @*$^ out of me anyway.

A reason I say “enjoy life” is one day at work, while my wife was on fall break from teaching, I get a phone call at work. My wife had just had a stroke. Every doctor we saw was stumped as to WHY she had it. Cholesterol was a smidge high, but she had zero other risk factors. the common phrase was “We don’t know why you are here.” (She is doing well and is now running 5 Ks)

The reason I mention that is only to enforce the fact that is you live life in a bubble, things can still happen. And will happen.

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Apologies in advance for taking this thread on a detour. Consider this a side note.

A kinda relative of mine, perhaps 10 years ago, was walking through an airport when he collapsed. His heart just stopped. So very lucky for him there was a nurse and a policeman in a near by ticket line and an AED within feet. Docs said that he basically died for a couple of minutes but that the bystanders brought him back/kept him alive. And they have zero idea why his heart stopped; classified it as a “cardiac event”. Long story longer, it changed his life. With a pacemaker he’s not as active as he once was but now he is much more carefree and NEVER sweats the small stuff. Family time is family time (and there’s a lot more of it) and nothing stands in the way of that.

Lesson to learn?
Don’t wait until you almost die – literally – before you start to really appreciate the value of your life.

Perhaps. If being injured means you can’t do your job. Your employer is trading their profits for your skills, after all, don’t rip them off. Ha! Sit down and have a chat with yourself, see if you can rearrange things so your work and cycling can co-exist without either of them suffering too much. I don’t think it’s a big of a worry as you are making out to be.