Falling off your bike, literally

I’ve been cycling for years. I was playing squash before I learnt how to ride a bicycle, but probably only got on a bicycle when I was 5ish. My Dad got into cycling, and the whole family kind of followed along, we did fun rides occasionally and I did my first Argus Cycle Tour when I was 14. I then proceeded to do the subsequent 10 Arguses, this year being the first one I’ve missed. And in between this I’ve kept up a bit of mountain biking too. I enjoy both disciplines for different reasons, but in general over the past 5 years I’ve tended more to offroad.

My trusty steed (aka the Giant Iguana Bomb), cantilever brakes and all

My trusty steed (aka the Giant Iguana Bomb), cantilever brakes and all

I’ve been fortunate to live in areas with great mountain biking. Living in Somerset West and Stellenbosch a mountain was only ever a 10min ride away. Whether it was the farm roads of Lourensford or the multiple dirt roads around the bases of the mountains surrounding Stellenbosch, it was quick and fun to get a cycle in. Now in East London we’re fortunate enough to have multiple mountain bike tracks in the vicinity that are open to the public and a steady supply of events as well. But it seems like the longer I’ve been riding, the more I’ve been falling off. I don’t know why.

I never really had any crashes/falls until last year. About 8 years ago I came off my bike on the road, going round a corner and hitting a patch of gravel, I lost my front wheel and went hands first into the tarmac. I wasn’t going too fast, but managed to sprain my wrists enough to keep me off a bike and the squash court for a week or two. And then there’s the odd fall in between. Usually going quite slowly, and on two occasions on other people’s bikes, being almost stationary and falling over sideways without being able to unclip my shoes in their much tighter cleats.

Giant Iguana Bomb 2

Then end of last year I had a ‘nasty’ fall. I was flying down a dirt road, dodging some washed away sections of road and not looking far enough in front of me when all of a sudden I was going in the wrong direction towards a donga. As I arrived, the bike went down and I launched myself off, landing sprawled out on the otherside of the donga chest down. My body took it surprisingly well. I hurt my shoulder a bit, and was completely winded, but was able to get up and cycle home. The bike took it slightly worse, putting a nice buckle in the front wheel, breaking one of the gear changing levers and damaging the brake lever a bit too. And it wasn’t even my bike :x

Two weeks later doing some nice downhill single track, I fell twice on my ‘sore’ shoulder, managing to cycle home but cutting my cycles short. And I’ve come off my bike another one or two times since then. This last weekend I managed to do what I consider a fairly graceful roll onto the ground as witnessed below. Youtube made it a bit blocky though.

I’ve been fairly lucky though. Although it’s happened a couple times, I’ve never had any lasting damage. And my confidence knock doesn’t seem to be as lasting either. As I write this I’m having more opportunity to think about the incidents, and it seems like it’s often because I don’t commit entirely, or commit to the wrong choice. This last incident involved my weight wanting to go in one direction, but my front tyre deciding to step down a slight ledge and altering my direction of choice

I don’t really know if there was a point to this post. I felt like writing. And I get to post a great video of me falling off my bike. But otherwise I hope that my falling doesn’t increase. I have a very old bike. Like seriously old, it may be partly to blame for my falls. But for some reason, although I have the money available, I can’t bring myself to get a new one, maybe it’s sentimental, I’ve done so much on this bike, like the Karoo2Coast. We’ll see how long that lasts.

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