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Diaries: I crashed my bike and learned nothing

My first off in ages served as a reminder that I too am mortal, but little more

Matthew Loveridge
11 May 2022

I guess it had been too long. You might even say complacency had crept in. I crashed into a fence.

One moment I was riding along a bridleway, standing out of the saddle to sprint up a short rise.

The next, everything hurt and I was sitting in the dirt, clutching two bleeding knees and wondering where the skin on my right arm had gone.

I assume I caught a rock or a small stick with my front wheel, although no such obstacle was evident in the aftermath.

Whatever it was, it led me to then hit the wooden fence next to the path hard, battering most of my body against various parts of the bike in the process. It turns out bikes – and fences – are really hard.

Extremely obvious takeaway: crashing hurts

Photo: Matthew Loveridge

While I’ve managed numerous undignified off-road pratfalls, I haven’t properly come off a bike in years and I’d forgotten just how painful it can be.

The minutes immediately post-impact were among the least pleasant I’ve ever experienced, because it felt like someone had taken a hammer to both my knees.

To add insult to injury, the blood on my legs was mixed with sheep shit off my own front tyre, while the enormous abrasion on my arm was speckled with green moss from the fence. Lest you think I’m being dramatic, I assure you my phone snaps don’t do the damage justice.

As my riding partner hovered nearby making concerned noises, I writhed on the ground so overwhelmed by pain that I didn’t even consider the content opportunities that might arise from utterly tenderising myself.

On reflection, however, I don’t think I learned anything of great value from this experience.

The bleak truth is there’s nothing I can do differently to make sure I don’t crash like this again, because it was a freak accident.

I wasn’t riding technical terrain and I wasn’t pushing the limits of my skills particularly – I was just riding… until I wasn’t.

I was lucky on this occasion that my injuries, while painful, were largely superficial, plus I didn’t hit my head.

To an extent, crashing will always be a part of cycling but after years of staying mostly upright I think I’d convinced myself that it just wouldn’t happen unless I was being an idiot.

I live in the real world now, where crashes come at you when they feel like it.

Scraping the barrel for a meaningful takeaway

Actually, I did learn one thing: that stupid lanyard your fancy bike computer comes with is there for a reason.

I never normally bother with them and so as a result, when I hit the fence, my Garmin Edge 530 disappeared from its mount.

Luckily I found it in the undergrowth, but I could easily have lost it for good. Who’s the stupid one now?

Photo: Matthew Loveridge

Oh, and the headline is a lie, it’s actually Giant’s bike I crashed. The 2022 Revolt 0 is an affordable aluminium gravel bike with Shimano GRX components and a can-do personality.

Luckily, my own delicate flesh took the brunt of the impact, the bike is mostly fine.

Apologies to Giant, and do look out for the review on Cyclist in the near future.

Main image: jackscoldsweat via Getty

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