Tuesday, 21 January 2014

How many times?....

How many times do I have to fall?

I've been commuting by bike since I started this blog, actually before that about 3 years. I've never fallen, not once. I've ridden in all conditions, rain, wind, sleet, snow, ice never fallen, until now.

Now I've fallen twice in 2 month's. Twice! This could be a number of contributing factors i.e. my tyre choice, the age and condition of those tyres, my lean angle on the bike when the accident occured, the road surface, my mental state - was I paying attention or a number of these factors.

My bike has changed as have my tyre's but I'd also like to think my ability level may have risen in this time. Perhaps it's my belief in my abilty thats the problem.

To clarify, I've not been knocked off my bike, these falls have been all of my own doing. No one about, no cars close, just me, falling. Both crashes have hurt and lead me to spending time off the bike. My lastest crash required 1 week off the bike to recover, which was more of an annoyance than anything.

My first 'off' was a painful misjudgement of the road conditions. I'd ridden on this particular stretch of road numerous time's and never fallen, in most conditions. This time I feel on a wet road, only it didn't really look wet, the atmosphere was damp but the road seemed ok, so I just hit the roundabout with my normal pace, I may have clipped the roundabout.....this was one of those small white bump type of roundabouts, the ones cars generally drive over. I may have hit oil or simply slipped on the wet roundabout (which is more likely). Tarmac kisses on my right shoulder and right thigh, nothing too painful and only a day not riding.

Funny what a spil does for your confidence. My conering confidence in identical conditions has deteriorated greatly since, being that it's consistently cold/wet at the moment this isn't helping my overall pace. You could argue that pace doesn't really matter at this time of year but its a niggling thought all the same.

 My most recent fall was on ice, nothing else to blame, with the exception of the idiot riding in icy conditions. The impact of my fall seemed to focus exclusively on my ribs. I put my arm out but my arm slipped on the ice and I landed in a heap on my right side. I was heavily winded, I haven't been winded since a mate last punched me at school (those were the days), a few minutes at the side of the road to catch my breath and I was back on the bike.

I managed my commute to and from work that day but the pain got worse and I sat out 4 days of commuting (7 days off the bike in total). Nowt much they can do with ribs so Co-Codamol has been my best friend.

I'm riding with 25mm Gatorskins, which are a great winter tyre and only 6 months old, so plenty of life in them yet, only one puncture in that time (i'll get one tonight now i've written that) but my grip should be fine. It must be these odd wet/cold winters we're now having as myself and my colleague's seem to be racking up a record number of 'off's' for this time of year.

Perhaps I'm just noticing it more, with the impending ride to Barcalona less that 5 months away, we all seem to be in a mad rush to be fit enough, after all they do say 'Winter miles equal Summer smiles'....

Must stay upright

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