The Story of My Crash, in the Form of a Quiz

12.10.2007 | 11:46 am

More than two weeks ago, I had a crash while mountain biking. No, let me clarify that: I had a painful crash. More specifically, I had a painful crash that has hurt my left wrist to the extent that even two weeks later, it hurts to type. Or to lift anything. Or to punch through a cinder block.

I am speculating about the punching-through-the-cinder-block part.

I shall now tell you the story of how this crash happened. However, I will not make it easy on you; you must guess, for each event leading up to the crash, which of the statements is correct.

Oh, I know. You’re wondering, “How can I tell which is correct, since I wasn’t even there?”

To which I answer, “Oh, I think you’ll manage.”

1. Which of the following did Fatty do this ride with?
a. Several members of the core team — people he has ridden with hundreds of times — who already know about his proclivity to fall painfully and clumsily, and therefore would not be particularly fazed by this event.
b. Nobody. Fatty rode by himself, so when he fell, nobody saw and nobody was the wiser. Until now, of course.
c. With a neighbor he had never ridden with. A neighbor who was, for some unknown reason, under the impression that Fatty is an expert mountain biker.

2. What did Fatty and this neighbor talk about as they rode, prior to the accident?
a. They talked about politics, greenhouse gasses, and the alarming rate of decay of the moral fibre of today’s youth. Incidentally, they came up with an elegant solution to two dilemmas quantum physicists have been struggling with for the past decade, which will be published in the January issue of The Quarterly Journal of Pompous Physicists.
b. They didn’t talk about anything. Fatty is so outrageously fast on the climbs that the neighbor couldn’t even remotely keep up, and whenever Fatty took pity and waited for the neighbor to catch up, the neighbor was far too out of breath to talk about anything at all.
c. Fatty talked endlessly about how riding a rigid singlespeed is so great, how he doesn’t miss or need suspension, and how he’s actually a better technical rider now without any suspension.

3. What was the trail like when Fatty had his crash?
a. Rooted, twisting, shale-covered technical singletrack. Approximately 39% uphill grade.
b. Fast downhill fire road, off-camber, riddled with blind corners and tall ledges. Oh, and snakes. Lots of angry, poisonous snakes attacking without warning.
c. Mild, straight, gently sloping uphill doubletrack. Not technical. At all.

4. What caused Fatty’s crash?
The neighbor punched Fatty in the kidney, then elbowed him in the throat. All because he wanted to steal one of Fatty’s awesome new water bottles.
b. Fatty was demonstrating how he has recently learned to do a nose-wheelie, pivot his rear wheel around and ride in the other direction — all no-handed, and without the use of brakes.
c. His front tire blew when he hit 70mph.
d. Fatty, while riding 5mph up a gentle slope, hit a small embedded rock, and Fatty fell over sideways as if he had never quite learned to ride a bike.

5. What did Fatty do after the crash?
a. Yell in pain, in what unfortunately must be described as a high-pitched wail.
b. Try to explain to his neighbor why he just fell down on — what looked to the neighbor like — a featureless trail.
c. Get back on the bike and try to ride, then get back off the bike when he realized the pain was sufficient to cause a wave of nausea and that he’d better sit back down for a minute.
d. All of the above, in that order.

So, in short, I — with a neighbor who somehow mistook me for a good rider — fell over sideways on my mountain bike for no good reason whatsoever, and caught all my weight on my left wrist as I crashed to the ground.

I am such a doofus.


  1. Comment by mark | 12.10.2007 | 11:55 am

    We’ve all been there. During Lotoja this year, I passed a group of four or five riders whom I could have just as easily tucked behind for a short rest. Seconds later, I heard the sickening sound of carbon fiber and flesh hitting the tarmac. There was nothing in the road–I know, because I had just ridden it. And yet somehow these riders, who weren’t really in a paceline, all went down. It’s either angry leprechauns or LBODs shooting out the front tire.

  2. Comment by cheapie | 12.10.2007 | 11:56 am

    i’m not sure if i should feel bad for finding amusement in your pain. but i think it’s because i did the same thing this summer….riding along a SIDEWALK with friends and tried some little maneuver. crashed into the bushes and came out bleeding. sheesh. REALLY impressed my friends who, until that little incident, considered me their “biker” friend.

    btw, is there any way you can get an actual picture of the bottles? i’m wondering what a “Translucent black bottle” really looks like. and i need to know what it looks like if i’m going to justify to my wife adding a couple more bottles to my already perfectly-functioning collection of bottles. not only are they all perfectly fine, they’re taking up her valuable cupboard space. yeah. exactly.

  3. Comment by Clydesteve | 12.10.2007 | 11:59 am

    Sheeshm Fatty, I had it all figured out, then you gave it away. What was the prize going to be, if you had awarded it?

  4. Comment by Anonymous | 12.10.2007 | 12:08 pm

    hmm. yes. i had a similar experience about a year and a half ago.

    i was riding to church with an acquaintance who might also have mistaken me for someone who knows how to ride a bike well. he was new to the single-speed in the city thing and veered off to find a less hilly route. when i noticed he was gone i began to turn a small circle on my bike so i could look for him, and then fell right over. in doing so i dislocated my foot, snapped some ligaments, and broke both my tibia and my fibula at the ankle. i panicked and had the acquaintance drag me out of the street, which caused him to injure his back so he had to take the summer off of work. (mark, if you’re out there, i hope you’re feeling better.)

    i have surgery in a week to remove the plate and seven screws from my fibula.

  5. Comment by Steve | 12.10.2007 | 12:10 pm

    I’d like to say that falls are good for us, for they keep us honest and modest when we might be confident to the point of cockiness, but this sounds like one of those “stupid dammit” falls. Bummer, man. And of course some of us are going to feel compelled to share stories. Call it commiseration or initiation into the Barney club or whatever. They’re funny stories.

    My worst fall with a good story happened on the first ride on my brand new Waltworks — and we were riding WITH WALT. It was near the finish of that beautiful ride: an hour and a half of climbing long, excellent, sinewy single track, and then a turn-around and descent down the same, awesome singletrack … Fun for everyone! Near the bottom there is a sweeping turn over a ravine, and falling to the right would be silly and funny. Falling to the left means a long, long, fall offering lots of time to try out different landing postures before you hit the ground. I looked left and thought, “oh, it would SUCK to fall down there.” with that i sealed my fate and fell down there. and managed to find with my ribcage the one large rock in an otherwise soft and silty bottom. Oof.

    It was almost as bad as when a buddy of ours went rubber-side-up in the parking lot as we were getting ready for another ride. it was to be his first ride on HIS brand new bike. We only heard him, but when we looked for the source of the THUD, we saw him on his back, with the bike straight up in the air, like a dead bicycling cockroach — a bug who never unclipped. Hilarious.

    Anyway, it happens. Hope your wrist gets better, and Susan is feeling better.

  6. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 12.10.2007 | 12:16 pm

    Fatty, this post is a thing of beauty, and not surprisingly I have a sense of deja vu…

    FYI, I have had 3 real crashes in the last 6 months, and I have lingering effects from all 3. Even a couple years ago, I crashed hard several times a year and never really got hurt.

  7. Comment by db | 12.10.2007 | 12:23 pm

    Perfect conditions for a crash: new, unfamiliar partner who thinks you’re hard-core for riding single-speed; easy terrain; uphill; with clipless pedals(?). You were doomed as soon as you got on the bike.

    “Walk it off.”

  8. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 12.10.2007 | 12:26 pm

    “… doofus.” You’re too kind.

    I knew 2a was a lie straight up. Everyone knows The Journal of Pompous Physicists is a biennial publication.

  9. Comment by barry1021 | 12.10.2007 | 12:27 pm

    Picture the scene from The Graduate, with Fatty being Benjamin at the graduation party, and me being his parent’s friend that comes up to him with advice

    “Fatty, I have one word for you. Road.”


  10. Comment by | 12.10.2007 | 12:32 pm

    Im going to second Barry on this, road. However I still WILL get a Mountain Bike if it kills me!

  11. Comment by chtrich | 12.10.2007 | 12:36 pm

    All this talk is making me scared to ride my bike again……..keep on snowing!

  12. Comment by bikemike | 12.10.2007 | 12:41 pm

    always, always fall on the “safeside” of the trail. it’s marked clearly at the trailhead.

  13. Comment by Big Boned | 12.10.2007 | 12:55 pm

    Seems like your core group is unable to go a solid month without one of you landing in the hospital for some reason or another – - anyone told you guys you are getting OLD? (sorry to be the bearer of bad news and hope you are feeling better soon).

  14. Comment by Bitter (formerly known as Lissee) | 12.10.2007 | 12:55 pm

    Reminds me of the time you hit that pot-hole.

    Here’s hoping that the damaged wrist is not on the same side as the bad shoulder. Maybe they do arm replacements?…Transplants?…Hope you get better soon.

  15. Comment by fatty | 12.10.2007 | 12:58 pm

    barry1021 – you know, i was actually thinking about that yesterday. i said to myself as i flinched because the weight of a gallon milk jug hurts to lift with my left hand, “next year is going to be all about the road for me.”

    botched – you know, your comment here made me think: i haven’t done a post about your hypochondria yet.

  16. Comment by Ricky | 12.10.2007 | 1:42 pm

    Some of my nastiest injuries came from “dead-weight” falls. Notice, I don’t call them crashes. Of course, some of my nastiest injuries also came from high-speed crashes. The thing is, the dead-weight falls are not only painful, they’re often humiliating. Did your neighbor happen to record the yelp?

  17. Comment by AMG in Texas | 12.10.2007 | 1:46 pm

    My silliest fall was when I was trying out my first pair of clips. I rode past my neighbors house, waved goodbye to her in her car, then tried to turn around in the middle of the street. Wham! Good thing for me my neighbor was not too far away from me to not run me over. Life happens… even on the road.

    You may need to get the wrist examined. My wife was unloading clothes out of our washing machine and hit her wrist on the agitator. That all it was, a bump on the agitator. She couldn’t lift heavy things, always in pain. Her doctor xrayed it and told her that she damaged the cartilage in her wrist such that the bones would touch each other when the wrist was at a certain position. That doesn’t heal by itself like the rest of the body, so his option of injecting some fluid into the wrist in lieu of surgury was what has helped her out. Now she just cant lift very heavy things with that hand.

    Hope you get well and Susan too. (or is it the other way around).

    BTW – why is your website color purple? Shouldn’t it be pink to support your wife through her cancer ordeal??? This website is about her you know. I have two pink jerseys to prove it.

  18. Comment by barry1021 | 12.10.2007 | 1:52 pm

    Fatty said: you know, i was actually thinking about that yesterday. i said to myself as i flinched because the weight of a gallon milk jug hurts to lift with my left hand..

    Well Fatman, i am going to be a cornacopia of advice today. Try the quart size. If it still hurts, move to pints.

    You’re welcome.


  19. Comment by Kris | 12.10.2007 | 1:54 pm

    Glad I’m not alone – good to meet another Doofus rider. Hmm, Team Doofus has a nice ring to it. I registered it so it’ll cost Twin Six to make those TD jerseys. I need the money for my medical bills. ;-)

    My favorite doofus moment: I was having a good ride down the Bennie Creek trail (Payson Canyon) when I came to a minor technical drop where I succeeded in nailing the lone protruding root dead on resulting in a flying dirt nap endo. Partially knocked the wind out of me, tweaked my thumb bad (hurt for weeks) and loaded me up with cuts and scrapes. I got off easy – it could have been worse. Then my wife rolls up on the scene, perplexed at what could possibly have caused this carnage. The line from The Princess Bride sums it up: Humiliations galore. Then I rode like a gun-shy pansy the rest of the way down – suspicious of every pebble.

    Ya, the road is much safer. Bruce over at UtahMoutnainBiking.doc (also an ER doctor) summed it up best: Mountain biking has a higher incidence of injury, but lower severity. Road biking has low incidence, but high severity. Pick your poison.

  20. Comment by Mike Roadie | 12.10.2007 | 2:17 pm

    Doofus…..and possibly a baby, too!
    Don’t feel bad, though……it’s like all of us roadies who fall at stop lights when we forget to unclip!!!!
    Now go do some holiday shopping!

  21. Comment by Al Maviva | 12.10.2007 | 3:00 pm

    Out for a ride with some friends recently, I crashed my cross bike recently on a hunk of rock. I was going slow but was in the process of shifting my weight when I hit the rock, I was hoisting the rear wheel to get it over another barrier, actually, so when I went down, I went straight down on my face, still clipped into the pedals, half-superman style. Oh man, did that hurt. It was bad enough that I just laid there in the mud for about two minutes, shaking and getting my breathing under control and making sure I could stand up without crying. When I did stand up everybody thought I was praying because I kept going “Jesus, oh, Jesus,” for about five minutes. My wrists were starting to swell up and my back was spasming. Thankfully the ground was pretty soft or I would have lost teeth. As it was I had a mouthful of plants and dirt, and I was still dizzy an hour later on during the ride. My back is still screwed up.

    The way I really know it was a great crash is everybody else on the ride was complaining they didn’t catch it on film. Oh yeah, that and there’s a knot in my back the size of an orange.

  22. Comment by sans auto | 12.10.2007 | 3:01 pm

    You can’t call yourself a doofus until you are stopped with a foot down when you fall and you end up lying on your back completely exposed and peeing all over yourself.

    If you stop to take a leak, unclip from BOTH pedals.

  23. Comment by wheelman gaz | 12.10.2007 | 3:16 pm

    Fatty, someone ALWAYS sees the silly, non-heroic falls. If the wrist pain persists you should search on “scaphoid”.

  24. Comment by Harp | 12.10.2007 | 3:25 pm

    Glad to see I’m not the only one that has had an embarassing and painful fall when riding with someone new. Hope the wrist isn’t in to bad of shape.

  25. Comment by JET(not a nickname) | 12.10.2007 | 4:44 pm

    When I first got my clipless pedals on my mtn bike, my wife was walking home and I was pedaling along side. Trying to show off a little, I was riding close behind her while she walked, hit the brakes, forgot that I now used clipless pedals, tried to put a foot down, panicked, and fell not so gently to the grass below. All while several dozen freshman tour groups walked by on the other side of the street. It was very suave.

  26. Comment by axel | 12.10.2007 | 5:03 pm

    you jinxed me – I just had a stupid crash on my commute home. A low hanging branch that I pass under twice every day grabbed my helmet, jerked my head and that pushed me off line right into a fence post. Minor injuries only, I can still type…

  27. Comment by Philthy in Oz | 12.10.2007 | 5:18 pm

    Now if you’d been eating more Vegemite, your wrist would’ve been strong enough to withstand the impact or you would have been so tough you wouldn’t have noticed the pain or both!

  28. Comment by KeepYerBag | 12.10.2007 | 5:24 pm

    I’ve taken a fall off of an exercise bike.


  29. Comment by Born4Lycra | 12.10.2007 | 6:02 pm

    I note nobody argued with your claim to being a doofus (sans went close) it must be because you are all seeing and all knowing and therefore never wrong (another super power?). Can you get your neighbor to tell his view of the story?
    B21’s advice is useful I would just add use the other hand.

  30. Comment by monkeywebb | 12.10.2007 | 6:23 pm

    I had a pretty stoopid fall earlier today. I was 9/10ths of the way up Mule Mtn Pass (no one here knows where that is, do they? Whiskeytown, anybody? No?) when I had to put a foot down in the middle of one of the last switchbacks. Since I’d cleaned all the others and this one was thoroughly unspectacular I backed up twenty feet to try again. The second time I hit a root that wasn’t there previously and failed to unclip on the right side. Luckily there were no witnesses other than my dog, who loves me unconditionally. But even she started laughing. I’m not taking her next time.

  31. Comment by Bluenoser | 12.10.2007 | 6:48 pm

    I got to watch Lance take the 2002 TdF from my bed in a similar way. Only my neigbour was 14 years old. Cracked shoulderblade, torn rotator cuff and three broken ribs… on a grassy knol.

    Oh the shame.


  32. Comment by DNAtsol | 12.10.2007 | 6:53 pm

    Seems like it ‘ts the season.

    My crash wasn’t quite on a gentle incline but I did get applause for style. I’ve been eying a log in the middle of a flat grassy plain for several weeks. It has been my nemesis. I have not ever able to make it over (and neither was our fearless leader of the group ride) but this week was the closest yet. I was feeling like a hotshot we had a great single track ride and we were on our way home. As I came up to the log I broke away from the group and picked up a good bit of speed (OK I was fracking motoring!). There was no turning back.

    I popped the front wheel, made it over. I’m now in mid-flight. All air. The rear wheel did not have the height tho’. Imagine a bike going from a 60 degree up angle to a 60 degree down angle in about half a second. I landed and the front shocks must have gotten fully compressed. I hit the ground hard. I almost endo’d. Instead I, barely got off the bike but did do a nice face plant and hyper extended my wrist. I even had leaves and dirt in my teeth when I got up and smiled for the crew.

    The wrist didn’t really hurt until several hours after but I would almost cry when I tried to move it. I’m on a fast recovery but for a day or so I was thinking Carp! there goes my riding for the month.

    As usual, your time for post topics is impeccable. I’m beginning to wonder if your spying on me. :)

    Great post!

  33. Comment by kenny | 12.10.2007 | 7:18 pm

    I’ve rode past the spot where I broke my hip more than 5 times since it happened. Each time I try to find a root, ledgy rock or something that would have caused my crash. There’s nothing there; nothing but smooth single track. Sometimes, #%*#! just happens, for no apparent reason. I believe that it happens to those that experience ultra highs on the bike. It’s bike Karma. You need to take the good with the bad. I’ve had so many good times on my bike, I still think I owe the bike karma gods some more pain.

  34. Comment by fatty | 12.10.2007 | 7:49 pm

    kenny is wise.

  35. Comment by Little1 | 12.10.2007 | 11:06 pm

    long live the doofus…

    stupid falls always happen in ’slow mo’ especially at robots on the road (say no more).

    I have also “fallen” off an exercise bike… i was the instructor at the time…

    I had had 2 hours sleep, and was teaching a spin class, I decided to turn things around a bit and was sat in the middle of the front row with everybody facing the mirrors (proper peleton style)… some ‘nana (of course not me i could never be a ‘nana) walked in late, i could see them looking for the instructor… so in mid ’standing run’ i stopped… the pedals didn’t i was thrown forward but still being clipped in i landed in the middle of the bike. OUCH! there were bruises i places there should be bruises!

    Lesson one… don’t stop for ‘nana’s
    Lesson two… don’t ever think of coming to a dead halt when doing a standing run on a fixed spin bike
    Lesson three… rather ride outside at least there might be proper mitigating cricumstances that cause the all fall down!

  36. Comment by Dutch Girlie On a Bike | 12.11.2007 | 12:52 am

    Hi all, first time poster here, checking in from Holland. Yeah, the one in Europe. Fatty I love your website/blog/forum and wanted to post today after reading about your fall. I also enjoyed (?) reading about the other falls.

    Most of the falls seem to be attributed to one not unclipping. OK so here’s my question. I got me a nice bike in July and haven’t yet gotten the shoes so I can clip. (I don’t really know the terminology I need to be using here but I hope you will understand me nonetheles). The pedals on my bike have one side I can clip into and the other side is for normal shoes. So anyway, I am now scared to death to use clips because I don’t want to fall!! I’ve already taken a fall and practically smashed out my teeth — the fall wasn’t on my new bike, thank goodness, it was on my 3-speed touring bike and I hit a curb sideways and fell face first, long story.

    Anyway toe clips. I know falls are inevitable on a bike but don’t clips raise the odds??????

    My best to you Fatty (get the wrist checked!) and Susan.

    American Dutch Girlie on a Bike

  37. Comment by will | 12.11.2007 | 2:28 am

    ah so that explains that high-pitched wail a couple of weeks heard all the way in Europe!

    I await your scientific paper with relish.

  38. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 12.11.2007 | 2:44 am

    Little1 just reminded me that I fell off the rollers over the weekend. 3 times. I was beginning to doubt my trackie skills when one of my cohort asked which bike I was using and what I was doing when I fell.

    150+rpm on the track bike on rollers was the response. A quite do-able feat except that my track bike is a proper track bike. Like 3 inches shorter in the wheelbase than my other bikes making it 4 inches shorter than the shortest setting on the rollers. I never stood a chance.

    As for the little incident 12 feet from my front door this afternoon of unclipping the right foot and flailing into the shrubbery on the left side, I offer no mitigation whatsoever. Doofus ahoy.

  39. Comment by DNAtsol | 12.11.2007 | 5:28 am

    Bluenoser, I’m pretty sure you can’t be held responsible for your fall. Everyone knows that grassy knolls contain hidden gunmen….

  40. Comment by Trapper Dan | 12.11.2007 | 5:32 am

    I qualify for this club………..

    While riding the Jax-Baldwin Trail with my 13 year old daughter we came to a stop sign. I was concerned she wasn’t going to stop. I clipped out my left foot and then tried to put down my right.

    I went over and impaled my right fore arm on her front sprocket. She said I was saying cuss words she’d never heard before.

    I show people the scar and tell them I was bitten by a shark.


  41. Comment by buckythedonkey | 12.11.2007 | 5:43 am

    I still have a dodgy hand from when a friend casually observed that my “technical riding” had “come along in leaps and bounds”. Knowing full well that I was doomed, I nevertheless plunged off the smallest of ledges, straight over the bars, mashing my hand in the process.

    I’m sure he knew what he was doing, the swine.

  42. Comment by DoubleD | 12.11.2007 | 5:57 am

    Everyone in my group has done the clipped in, slow (or no) speed fall. We have named the move ‘keystone’. Works as noun or verb.

  43. Comment by El Animal | 12.11.2007 | 6:39 am

    After my two crashes this last quarter, one where I messed up my shoulder and the other where I ended at the MedClinic with stitches in my elbow. I have had doubts about riding at all. I agree with Kenny there are more ups than downs in my bike life and I still feel that I will continue enjoying it. The thing is that being cautious do not avoid all the crashes. These two ones where actually really silly accidents and there is no way i could have avoided them.

  44. Comment by ridethewomble | 12.11.2007 | 6:58 am

    I routinely ride the rockiest, nastiest singletrack in our area, and never, never suffer any ill effects. Er, you know, besides the obligatory bloody shins and forearms. My significant injuries? A chipped C4 vertebra riding A FIRE ROAD from one parking lot to another, a tweaked shoulder riding from a checkpoint I’d just closed to a parking lot THROUGH A GRASS PICNIC AREA, and broken wrist (both sprained) and a broken radius riding a transition from a fire road to the single track on a Wednesday night race course.

    Drops, roots, and rocks? Fine. I’ll save my butterflies for smooth, green lawns, fire roads, and doubletrack, thanks.

  45. Comment by Trapper Dan | 12.11.2007 | 7:46 am

    I traded my clips in for a set of flat pedals and a pair of low top Chuck Taylors after my “keystone”

  46. Comment by Donald | 12.11.2007 | 7:55 am

    Yep- been there! Road bike… stop light… long ride… too tired… not thinking… what clips… drivers laughing! Thanks for the entertaining quiz.

  47. Comment by buckythedonkey | 12.11.2007 | 8:08 am

    > awesome new water bottles.

    I must resist.
    I must resist.
    I m-must re-sist.
    … I …
    … mu-st …
    … re-si-st …

    Gah! It’s no good. They’ll never be with me by Christmas but what the hell.


    ROFL, I am such a sucker for Fatboy kit.

  48. Comment by Al Maviva | 12.11.2007 | 8:10 am

    I have it on very good authority that Michael Boogerd became one of the greatest Dutch bicycle racers of all time simply because he was afraid to come to a stop and unclip from the pedals, so he just had to keep riding and riding until eventually he became quite fit. Even now at the end of races you’ll see soigneurs (a French word sometimes translated as ‘dope purchaser’) grab a racer when he crosses the line with the rider still clipped in. That’s because all those guys are terrified of unclipping and tipping over in front of a television audience of millions, and Versus.

    Dutch Girlie, if you ride a bike, you’ll have minor tipovers sometimes. That’s just how it is, you have to not worry about it, but do try not to lead with your face if you find yourself going down. Sticking your arms out to break your fall is a better idea than leading with your chin.

    With the pedals, you might try riding with one foot clipped in, and the other foot resting on top of the “platform” side of the pedal. Just ride around somewhere flat (where would you find that in the Netherlands, right?) and practice clipping that one foot in and out as you ride. Remember to rotate your heel outwards fairly vigorously each time – you can unclip by moving the heel to the inside, toward your bike, but it isn’t as safe (moving parts) or as easy. After a very short time you should be confident enough to use the other clipless pedal.

    You do make a good point about pedal nomenclature. Old-style pedals with straps had toe-clips that you slid your shoe in and out of. Your shoe was only as secure to the degree you could tighten the strap. The new style is called ‘clipless’ because it doesn’t have toe-clips, it (usually) has a cleat that goes on your shoe, which inserts into a cam and lever locking device on the pedal. But then we call putting your foot into the pedal as “clipping in,” which makes no sense at all because there is no toe clip.

  49. Comment by Clydesteve | 12.11.2007 | 8:51 am

    My top three “keystones”
    1. Bike new, clips new. Lunch ride. ooh – need a haircut, here’s a barber. Pull up, while she looks out the window. Suddenly I disappear from view. Enter the barbershop not only sweaty, but bloody.

    2. Commuting to school with my then-middle school son. Highway crossing, & he is worried. Not to worry, I say. You stay clipped in, I’ll hold you up, when traffic clears I’ll give you a start, then I’ll follow. Only I didn’t. I was on the ground, doing an Artie Johnson imitation.

    3. Riding up a 25% grade hill I live on that had just been chip n’ sealed. (Man thoses chips are sharp!) Neighbor comes up on my tail, just as I clear the top at the corner. I pull left for him to pass. New chips look just like the loose chips past the edge of road, and I miss the edge, and keyhole on my right forearm and calf, fully clipped in, with the force of a slam dunk. I just lay there, totally spent from the vigorous climb, ragged breathing and blood. Neighbor: “Are you OK? Need a ride home?” Me: “I’m fine, just taking a breather – That’s a steep hill!”

  50. Comment by Clydesteve | 12.11.2007 | 8:56 am

    Hey Dutch Girlie – You have to swallow hard and drink the koolaid. If you do not get clips, you will be a permanent doofer. But if you do, you will be able to live one of these stories. It will come while you least expect it. Comfort yourself with these words!

  51. Comment by BurkeInTheOzarks | 12.11.2007 | 9:06 am

    Kenny, I think you have, unfortunately, defined the issue perfectly: Bike Karma. I’ll still take trails over road any day.

    Fatty, although the fact that your bike is a rigid singlespeed probably played no part in your crash, I think I will stick with my fully suspended, geared rig. The older I get, the more I appreciate gears and suspension. As tempting as you try make it sound to swap over, I am afraid that Karma would quickly repay me for my efforts. If I was 25 I would probably already own a rigid singlespeed. At 41, I’ll take every comfort I can get that allows me to keep riding trails, thankyouverymuch…

  52. Comment by Marrock | 12.11.2007 | 9:28 am

    You know, I could easily go for a black and green “Team Doofus” jersey.

  53. Comment by Boz | 12.11.2007 | 9:29 am

    I’ve crashed a bunch, being the clod I am, but no serious injuries from bike crashes to speak of. Road rash, bruises, scrapped up back after a bunch sprint endo. But the worst was 2 weeks ago at work. Tripped over a tied-off extension cord. Near face plant. Broke the fall with both hands hitting hard palms down. Loud slapping noise heard thru the shop. I jumped up as if nothing happened. My boss was typing an accident report in seconds, as he saw it. No OSHA approved incident for sure. Both shoulders in bad shape, left knee bruised, missed my face on a step by inches. 2 weeks later, my shoulders still ache. Palms are too. So don’t feeel alone Fatty, healing takes time. Lucky your not a old or fat as me, your damage is probably less.

  54. Comment by Maggi | 12.11.2007 | 9:36 am

    The only thing that could possibly make this story better … is some stick-figure flash animation from Fatty Jr.

  55. Comment by KT | 12.11.2007 | 9:39 am

    Dutchgirlie, I’ve got the same pedals on my bike.

    I used to be afraid of the clippies (as I call ‘em,), but then my boyfriend suggested that I would have an easier time getting up hills if I had more efficiency in the pedaling department, and that clippies would go a long way towards that end.

    So I got the shoes, got the cleats… and practiced by riding my usual commute to and from work. So far (touch wood!) I haven’t had a problem, except for the minor panic sometime of forgetting which foot I’ve unclipped.

    I can’t ride on the platform-sides very well any more… and I’ve tried. I took my bike over to the shop for a mid-day tune up and rode wearing heels and a dress (I had biking shorts on under the dress, don’t worry). It was weird.

    I did almost crash right outside of the office going home one day… I was approaching the stop sign to turn right onto the main road, and unclipped the left foot instead of the right. Went to put down the right foot, hastily leaned to the left in an effort to convince gravity to not hurt me, and managed to land on the left foot and unclip the right at the same time.

    But hey, it’s those little panic times that keep your heart rate up.

  56. Comment by KT | 12.11.2007 | 9:49 am

    My stupid crash story:

    Scott and I were riding to see Berlin in concert at a local city fair at a park about 7 miles from our house that we had never been to. How can you miss a free Berlin concert that close to home??? Riding was my idea.

    Now, Scott’s a great rider; he’s very experienced in the bicycling department, he’s done road riding and mountain biking and rode to the emergency room in Moab one year to get stitches in his palm. I trust him implicitly.

    We were one block from the park, crossing a twisted set of railroad tracks, trying to find the entrance to the park. Scott paid less attention to the road surface than he should have, and his front wheel disappeared into the gap between the track and the road surface… and he went down.

    Did I mention that at the same time this happened, he was telling me to be careful of the railroad tracks, and to go over them perpendicularly, or I’ll crash?

    So. He sprawls all over the road, attached to his bike by one foot and swearing… and I’m grabbing handfuls of brake trying not to run him over…. and I do the EXACT SAME THING as him.

    Luckily, there was one truck approaching from a distance, and he stopped so we could drag ourselves from the road.

    Scott ended up with a messed up wrist, and the Red Cross folks at the first aid tent at the fair just gave him some ice and ibuprofen. And suggested that we numb the pain with beer. Well, that’s practically a perscription from a medical professional, so we did that.

    The show was great, Scott got Terri Nunn’s autograph, and somehow we made it home. His wrist is stil messed up, and this was 4 years ago. Less messed up now, but still sometimes sore and stiff.

    Oh, I guess I should tell you my injuries: skinned knee. Skinned elbow. Sore flank (that’s a nicer word than the one I could use– the part around to the back from your hip). That’s it.

    I still felt like a dummy, though… I didn’t have to ride exactly where he was. And I could have “done as he said, not as he did”…

    Oh well. It’s a learning experience. :)

  57. Comment by spbarnes | 12.11.2007 | 9:52 am

    Many examples on my resume, but here is the one that gets the best keyscore.

    Keyscore(R) = I * W * Y / S
    I = Innocent persons injured, and/or immobile objects damaged by the crash
    W = Witnesses to the event
    Y = Years of riding experience
    S = Speed at time of crash

    Of course, the mathematically astute among you will notice that this makes a
    zero speed crash gnerate an infinitely large score. Leading to a many-ways
    tie for high score. But nobody should be denied champion status for a zero
    speed crash. You have earned it at that point, don’t you think?

    Anyway, I don’t spend much time thinking about the pro cyclists and their ilk.
    But I always make the annual pilgrimage to Redlands in March for the Redlands
    Classic. Been going for almost twenty years, always on the bike, and I chase
    around the course watching the pros climb the hills, and having a generally
    good time.

    Sunday is the downtown crit, and the locals all come out for it. You all know the
    Mavic neutral support cars and motos, right? Well, they had all their kit parked
    in a little pen right by the road crossing. We were queud up to cross the street
    in between groups of riders warming up. Me trackstanding all clipped into the
    pedals of the fixed gear, and waiting for my turn. As soon as I started to go, a
    small girl squeezed in front of me. Reflexively, I backpedaled to stop. Perfectly
    upright, pointed dead straight ahead, stopped cold. Hey, I have those same
    pedals with platforms on one side. But I was clipped in just the same. And I
    slowly fell right over. Couldn’t saw the front wheel for balance, and my usual
    ability to…you know, BALANCE, or unclip, or do anything (except check out and
    watch it happen) had evaporated.

    So I fell. Into the crowd barrier. Very slowly.

    The Mavic bikes and wheels were foolishly all stacked up on the barrier right
    where I fell. Every one of them toppled as the Mavic guys grabbed for the
    yellow bikes falling like dominoes lined up for a Guinness World Record run.

    Th eMavic guys somehow made it worse when they didn’t even care that their
    fancy new bikes were all in a heap. they just fussed over me and wanted to
    see if I was injured. I think the Keyscore (r) needs another term, for number
    of people offering sympathy.

    Full marks for doofus-ness.

  58. Comment by spbarnes | 12.11.2007 | 9:57 am

    Doesn’t the TD jersey need to be black and blue?
    Optional red accents, but I will just add my own…

  59. Comment by Lisa B | 12.11.2007 | 10:49 am

    All your talk of mountain biking finally got this road-only girl to try it two weeks ago. My husband kept saying “yeah, I’ll take you out, but don’t expect me to instruct you” … nevertheless, he did. Except for the whole “pop your front wheel up before you try to go over a tree branch” … It was the first crash of the day and I didn’t come off the bike, but I think I put a Lisa-pelvis-sized dent in the top tube. Say it with me: “owwwwww”.

  60. Comment by bikesgonewild | 12.11.2007 | 5:29 pm

    …i’ve never ever done that…

    …signed: big liar…

  61. Comment by Dutch Girlie On a Bike | 12.11.2007 | 10:46 pm

    Al Maviva–interesting story about Michael Boogerd (one of my fave Dutch “fietsers” to be sure…). Thanks for your advice on how to train myself using clips! Much appreciated.

    Clydesteve–you see the problem is I have already fallen off a bike w/o clips so I fear what will happen when I *do* get those clips……

    KT–riding a bike with heels–I am impressed!! :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I do feel that using clips will enhance my riding pleasure and those little panic times you mention are probably exciting but I am wondering if I should get motorcycle leathers to wear to protect myself.

    The other fear I have is breaking really hard and flipping over the handlebars.

    Yeah yeah I think too much just get out there and do it!!!

  62. Comment by BillFrog | 12.12.2007 | 6:21 am

    Reassure us: You have some seriously good reasons why you aren’t getting this xrayed at the earliest opportunity…

  63. Comment by swiss dreamer on a bike | 12.14.2007 | 8:31 am

    Really is fun reading all the doofus moments – and somehow reassuring…

    My moment came when crossing a small wet and slimey wooden bridge.
    I was on slicks and had the brilliant idea that if I would push hard in the pedals then the rear tire would spin.

    The rear tire somehow held better than the front one…

    Speeds were low so nothing serious happened. I gathered myself and headed on laughing quietly. Cruising along the street I looked down on my slicks…

    when I looked up again a 50cm high street post had miracoulously appeared in front of the bike…

    two crashes in two minutes

    oh boy

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