Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NY Times reporter has a bike accident

Fell Off My Bike and Vowed Never to Get Back On

By Gina Kolata

I crashed on my bike on Oct. 3 and broke my collarbone, an experience so horrific that my first impulse was to say I would never ride on the road again.

Turns out I am not alone.

“Well, you’ve joined the proud majority of serious cyclists who’ve busted a collarbone,” said Rob Coppolillo, a competitive cyclist in Boulder, Colo., who also leads rock-and ice-climbing expeditions and is a part-time ski guide.

I’ve since heard from other cyclists who broke bones or were badly bruised and shaken up in crashes. Many say they, too, vowed, at least initially, never to ride outside again. It’s not a universal response, but it is so common that cyclists nod their heads when they hear my reaction to my injury...I remembered what Michael Berry, an exercise physiologist at Wake Forest University, once told me. With cycling, he said, it’s not if you crash, it’s when. He should know. He’s a competitive cyclist whose first serious injury---a broken hip---happened when he crashed taking a sharp turn riding down a mountain road.

Then, last June, he was warming up for a race when he hit a squirrel, crashed into a telephone pole and broke his arm so badly he needed surgery.

His reaction to each crash was a variant of mine. He’d taken up cycling about five years ago because he’d injured his hamstring running. “With each wreck I thought, ‘Maybe I should try running again,’ ” he said.

My running friend Claire Brown, a triathlete, crashed a few years ago when she was riding fast on wet roads, getting in one last training ride before a race. Her bike slid on a metal plate in a bridge and she went down, hitting her head and her left hip. She was badly bruised, and even though she broke no bones, she did not feel comfortable riding for the next two years. Even now, she told me, “there are bridges around here I won’t ride on, and I definitely won’t go downhill fast"...

The rest of the article

See also the interesting comments on running versus cycling.