Monday, July 12, 2010

Mountain Bike Monday - Play it safe!

Let's take a moment to talk about some basic bike safety. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that riding can be dangerous. Growing up riding my pink banana seat bike I can't remember ever wearing a helmet, and oftentimes we didn't even wear closed-toed shoes. Well, over time we've gotten smarter about things and realize that even riding in your driveway is dangerous, so maybe wearing a helmet is a good thing.

Bike safety is more than just wearing your helmet, and although that is a major component there are more measures to keep you safe on the trails. What prompted this post was an incident that occurred around a month ago while riding at Pocohontas Park with our friend, Mountain Bike Mike (MBM). MBM is fairly new to the sport of mountain biking, and had his first major crash about a mile-and-a-half into the Lakeview Trail. And, I do mean crash! His handlebar was attacked by the tree on the right side of the trail (as seen in pic below, which is the scene of the crime), overcorrected slightly, and then proceeded to fall off of the left side of the bridge busting open his lip badly!
I will spare you the initial picture of the busted lip, but trust was really bad. We immediately had to ride back to the car, drive to the Patient First, be examined, and then drive to the emergency room because it required a specialist to stitch it back up (16 stitches!). In addition to the busted lip, MBM got a scratch on his forehead and some small scrapes on his arm. Imagine how much worse it could have been if he hadn't been wearing his helmet! We still aren't sure exactly what he hit, but we're pretty sure it was the wooden edge of the bridge.

Sure, everyone falls even after they've been riding for a long time. We're all human! But, it's very important to be safe just in case. Being safe involves being sure to ride in a good frame of mind. This is often an issue for me. Some days I'm just not in a good mood, either because of something that happened at work or just not "feeling it". Those are the days when I just don't ride. A couple of Mondays ago I talked about my big crash and riding 5 miles bloody to get to the car. Well, that was a bad day from the start and I never should have ridden. You have to know your limitations. Don't take the chance if you're not mentally prepared. It does take concentration and focus, especially for newbies like me.

Some other considerations for safe riding include: proper bike fit, proper functioning equipment (i.e. brakes, tight nuts and bolts, no broken or cracked parts), proper tire inflation, riding in your comfort level, maintaining control over your bike, and not wearing loose clothing.

The trail is a really unpredictable place and things (loose rocks or creatures) can pop up in an instant. Like yesterday's encounter with Mr. Turtle in the trail. I was going so fast and came upon him so quickly that I locked up the brakes and squeeled. We missed each other, but it could've ended badly for the turtle and/or me! Here he is!

 So, remember to play it safe!

1 comment:

Jim Rosen said...

Great Post. I have come so close to braining turtles. I always skid to a stop and avoid them but I may not get so lucky one day. I would hate to hit one. That would make me wince.