Crash Bang Wallop

I went out for a chilly ride before work this morning. It was going ok until I headed onto the quiet back lanes and encountered quite a lot of ice. It was initially just small patches which I managed to avoid, however I then came round a bend and encountered ice right across the road and despite slowing down to a near crawl, I still went down like a sack of spuds, ripping a hole in my leggings and my knee. After scraping myself off the ground I got back on the bike and continued until I found a safe place to stop.

Looking at this photo there was a serious amount of ice on the road, but I didn't see it until it was too late

There was a serious amount of ice on the corner which I didn’t see it until it was too late

Torn tights

Torn tights

I rolled up my tattered leggings and used my water bottle to try and spray the worst of the gravel out of my knee. This happened about an hour into an intended two hour ride and despite feeling good enough to carry on, I decided that maybe I should just head back home and clean up before the adrenaline wore off and it started to hurt.


By the time I arrived home it was looking a bit gory

By the time I arrived home it was looking a bit gory

I’m not sure what was more unpleasant out of picking bits of skin from the inside of my leggings, or bits of gravel out of my knee. But I sensibly used a red towel after showering to ensure my wife didn’t inflict more serious physical harm on me for ruining the white towels. White towels and cycle people should never be combined.

The white towels are reserved for non-greasy or bloody people

The white towels are reserved for non-greasy or bloody people

Assessing the damage a few hours later: most importantly, the bike is ok. The knee hasn’t really stopped bleeding so I may try using a “spray-on plaster” to seal it all up. If I shave off the leg hair around the wound does this technically constitute ‘stepping over the line’ in terms of cycling and leg-shaving? My hip is a bit grazed and bruised but should be fine. The worst part of it seems to be my neck which could be a minor bit of whip-lash. I can’t really remember whether my head hit the ground as I was wearing a helmet, but I wasn’t travelling very quickly. Fingers crossed I should be feeling ok to get back on the bike this long weekend. But I’m now 150% sick of this cold weather. Urgh

23 thoughts on “Crash Bang Wallop

  1. grrgoyl says:

    Ugh. Worst crash of my life happened in the middle of summer…I took a curb a little too fast, veered off pavement into grass and back up again, lost control and sailed straight over the handlebars. Took all the skin off my left knee, leaving a hideous wound that would linger for the rest of the season, plus fairly sure I tore my left rotator cuff (which thankfully healed naturally over time without surgery). Worst of all, it put a hole in my very favorite jersey 😦

    Very wise to head straight home (as well as to use red towels lol): Once the adrenaline left me, I didn’t even want to look at my bike for a week.

  2. kevinmayne says:

    Ouch – sore tomorrow.

    I have given up – if there is ice I have decided to skip any long rides except offroad on an MTB. Too old and grumpy for the pain these days.

  3. tootlepedal says:

    Bad luck. I hit a black ice patch a couple of years ago and fell off and resolved not to risk it again. I am getting too old to recover easily nowadays. I hope you heal OK.

  4. tuckamoredew says:

    It’s amazing how much damage even a slow motion fall can cause. I glad that you are mostly OK. And the bike, too.

    Those are tough conditions for a skinny wheeled road bike. I can highly recommend older (mid 80’s to early 90s) mountain bikes as winter bikes. You can usually pickup really sweet chromoly framed non suspension bikes for pretty cheap. Throw some fairly skinny studded tires on and you’re good to go. They can be surprisingly zippy too. Lots of people also do a drop bar conversion:

    Modern cyclocross bikes are a pretty good option, too, but will cost more.

    Finally, the best trick I learned when I first started winter riding was to not use the front brakes in icy conditions. Locking up the front wheel equals an instant fall.

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