Falling off your bike15 October, 2013 0 comments
Falling off your bike - how to be prepared
It happens to the best of us – and usually when you least expect it. Still, there are ways to lessen the impact of a bicycle crash. There is an art to riding your bike and there is definitely an art to falling off!
Of course, not all accidents are the same – and sometimes even the best preparation falls short. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and prepare for those that you might be able to control to an extent. Here are some tips to prepare yourself for that unexpected moment when you do fall!
Wear a helmet
Your head is your greatest treasure, which is why you should try to protect it against injury as much as possible. Therefore, you should wear your bicycle helmet even if you’re just going for a short ride. Off to buy a bottle of milk from the supermarket? Don’t forget your helmet! You should also make sure that your helmet is in a good condition – it should be immediately replaced after any crash or large impact. Finally, your helmet should be a good fit, so make sure to get one that matches your head, and wear it properly. Choose the smallest helmet size that feels right, and make sure it fits on top of the head, with space about the width of two fingers between its front and your eyebrows. The straps should be joined at the jawbone just under each ear.
Wear your cycling gloves
You are probably going to hit the ground with your hands at some point, even if you avoid reaching out with your arms on impact. Therefore, wearing cycling gloves is a great way to prevent further injury to your hands. If you just scrape the ground a little, they might leave your hands spotless. If the impact is greater, they can save you from a deeper injury.
Tuck your head
Your neck is another treasure of yours, so you’ll want to be protecting it together with your head. The easiest way of doing so is the instinct of lowering your chin in case of an accident. This will reduce the risk of life-threatening neck injury.
Choose your surface
In many cases, accidents happen before you are able to react. However, sometimes there is a slight moment during which you can take the decision over how and where you are going to fall. Once an accident becomes inevitable, it might be possible for you to choose which side you are going to fall on. If there is the choice of – let’s say – grass and concrete, you should give your best to direct yourself towards the grass to lessen the impact of the crash. Of course, this also implies that you pay attention as you ride the bicycle, so that you would be more ready to make this kind of important decision at any point during your workout.
Don’t lock your elbows and knees
The first instinct of most people is to extend their hands and feet to stop the impact of the accident. What happens in this situation, however, is that your limbs will probably suffer from injuries, unless of course the fall itself is really minor. Although the best might be to not reach out with your limbs at all, and instead try to tuck them in and roll through the situation, it still tends to happen. If you extend your arms or legs, be very careful not to over extend them – this means staying away from locking them. Instead, always maintain a small bend in the elbows and knees, so that your body will create a natural bounce at the time of the impact.
Nothing makes you better at falling than practicing the art of falling itself. Although not a common part of bicycle training, some cyclists claim that knowing how to fall well has saved them from serious life-threatening injuries. The idea is this – once you’ve mastered the correct movements, these become instinctual, so that even in a situation where you have no time to react, you will hit the ground in a way that causes less harm. Where can you practice that? Probably the best option is taking martial arts classes – like judo, Aikido or ju-jitsu – or consulting a martial arts expert to teach you some moves.
Do you think you can prepare yourself for crashing and falling more safely? How do you stay prepared? Share your thoughts in the comments!