The Big Off

Well, it comes to all cyclists, and today I had it.  The Big Off.

There’s a long story here, but basically I had a touch of brain fade and bad luck at the same instant.  The next thing I know I’m slapping the left side of my entire body, including my over-rated head, on the concrete.  I’m fine, and except for a couple of abrasions and a forehead bruise the shape of a helmet pad, I’m none the worse for wear.

Basically, I drove off the narrow concrete path.  There was plenty of grass, but I inexplicably cut back toward the pavement and hit a nice deep groove.  It was then I rediscovered one of my brother’s sayings, ‘gravity never sleeps’, and hit the deck.  Hard.  The sound of my helmeted head hitting the ground couldn’t have been louder outside my skull than inside, and though I had a millisecond light flash surprisingly I have had no ill effects.  Not even a headache.  Finished the ride, which included adding some mileage before the turn around, and proved something to myself.

My bike, alas, looks like I dragged it over concrete.  Both Ultegra shifter covers are deeply scarred, and both rims have scratches on the left side, making interesting sounds under braking.  I figure nothing expensive was bent, which is good.  Oh, and I get to throw away the jersey I didn’t like due to the holes, so there’s always a silver lining. 

The helmet, a one-time-use item did its duty.  Its exterior shell looks like it met concrete, but the inner liner has the telltale cracks in the styrofoam, so that’s that.  I’d like to thank the nice folks at Giro, who made my helmet and will be the manufacturer of my next one.  Spend money on your helmet like your brain depends on it.  Mine did, and does.  As one of my residency colleagues used to say, "get a helmet, and wear it".

If only this immunized me from future spills.   Heh.


  1. Was this on the Trinity Trail? Road bike or MTB?

  2. Aerospace Genius says:

    Hooray for Helmets! I’m pretty sure I lost at least a few IQ points when I fell off without a helmet hard enough to break my nose and glasses and had a brief LOC. At least I fell right in front of the university medical center.

    While working for my university wind tunnel, a group of bicycle companies joined forces for a test of everything they made. All of the helmets produced nearly identical drag results except one with no vents that looked like a speed skier teardrop extending down the rider’s back and covering his face with a smooth shield.

    I still have a lot of cycling related scars, and all on my left side as well. As I recall, I had a long spell of 6 to 8 week intervals between bloody clothes-shredding goofups as a teenager. Considering how dangerous I was to myself on a bicycle, I’m amazed that I never collected so much as a scratch from my offroad motorcycle.

    A colleague who is a serious long distance cyclist caught a stick in the front spokes recently, resulting in two broken wrists and a collar bone. He’s out of the casts now and recovering well.

    As they say, the price of man in motion is the occasional collision.

    Comparing bicycles made in different eras is a very accurate indication of technological progress. The basic design and purpose have not changed, but the materials, design sophistication, and manufacturing processes sure have.

  3. AG, I had forgotten about your fall at school. I won’t comment on losing IQ points.

    Yes, Trinity Trail, and a beautiful Trek road bike.

  4. Sorry to hear about you fall, but glad to hear you came through it okay. As my dad always told me “we can always buy more things.”

    It drives me crazy when I see parents riding with their kids and only the kids have helmets. I want to yell at them “how do you think their childhood will be with you as a vegetable”

    Dr. Andy

  5. “Yes, Trinity Trail, and a beautiful Trek road bike.”

    Oh man, bummer. BTW, I just discovered this blog. I used to be a radiologist at Baylor All Saints. Have you done any ER work there?

  6. No, I’m at a ‘Trauma Center to be named later’. Thanks for reading.

  7. Dr. Andy,
    I have the same thoughts when I see unhelmeted adults, but for som reason I think in Sailor Words.

  8. Glad you’re OK…I hope you save the helmet to show other idiots who don’t wear them, how it can save their skulls.

  9. Sorry to hear that you took a spill, but glad to hear that you made it through fairly unscathed. It reminds me that I really should get a helmet…