TCI Friday

The bike-related injury (BRI) that kept me off the bike the longest was a cracked collarbone (which led to frozen shoulder) that took me out of circulation for four or five months, and affected my riding, in terms of lost confidence, for most of a year. I knew, as I lay in the dust in the middle of the trail, staring up into a pair of swaying maple saplings, that I wasn’t gonna like being out of commission, but it sure was a pretty day that day.

That same year, I sprained an ankle failing to clip out of one pedal as my body and bike chose alternate lines around an unexpected stump. But I’ve sprained my ankles so many times (soccer and trail running) that I can more or less live with the tenderness that ensues. It’s a nuisance as much as an injury.

Oh, and one year I insisted on grinding a big gear all the time and gave myself an unholy case of Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome, though it’s worth noting that this affliction, formerly ITBFS, has now been truncated to Iliotibial Band Syndrome or IBS, and that’s probably for the best, because no matter how bad your ITBFS is, it’s better than a serious case of IBS any day. Still, it took me a long time to shake that, and I basically had to learn to ride at a higher cadence/gear.

That’s probably for the best.

Earlier this year I tore my rotator cuff modestly (other shoulder) going over the bars (OTB) from the top of a skinny log pitched at 45degrees to vertical. I sought no medical attention for that one, and it firmed up mostly, although sometimes it doesn’t like for me to remove my shirt.

I’m sure it’s not the only one.

What else is there? A sore rib or two. Plenty of lost skin. Bruises like dessert plates. Oh, I had a chunk of wood stuck in my arm for a few weeks once, but my friend Chapman cut it out for me. His dad was a doctor, so it seemed ok.

Touch wood, my knees and hips are in reasonable shape, and I have an array of other stupid sports to thank for my other, more time-consuming traumas, torn tendons in both hands, busted wrist, angry quadratus lumborum, Achilles tendonitis, etc. I went for a physical just a few clicks back and the nurse practitioner looked at my chart and told me she’d never seen so much trauma in one chart before. I told her the list she had was only partial.

I don’t think she was impressed.

So anyway, this week’s TCI Friday wonders what your worst BRI was, how you got it, and how long it kept you grounded. I’d be willing to wager my list pales in comparison to a few of you.

Join the conversation
  1. alanm9 says

    My worst bike day ended with a broken collarbone, shoulder blade, rib, and punctured lung. The lung got me checked in for a free one night stay and was followed up with a sweet new titanium plate and 9 screws on the collarbone. That kept me off for 3 months. Next worst was when I went OTB and landed on my back in the street while trying not to get hit by a car. Two more broken ribs and 2 months off, but the trade was worth it. Aside from that, the usual bruises and scars for a lifelong roadie with questionable skills and judgement.

  2. tcfrog says

    I have been extremely lucky, for although I have gone OTB a few times, and had some rather spectacular crashes when I was younger, my worst BRI was an injured hamstring. I’m not even sure what the injury was … my rear tire slid out on ice and when I put my foot down, the bike kept sliding so my body twisted until there was a loud pop. It was quite painful, and had me off my bike and skis for 2 months. I should have stayed off longer, but I’m not the smartest guy around. That injury took about a year to fully heal; a process lengthened, I’m sure, by me not giving it the rest required.

  3. papogi says

    OTB resulting in a broken metacarpal. Another wreck resulting in broken ribs. That was the worst, and it kept me of the bike for many weeks. I couldn’t get in and out of bed without my wife’s help. I could sit upright, but I couldn’t get myself horizontal. A few overuse aches and pains that prompted me to back off slightly, but no overuse injury has forced me off the bike for more than a couple weeks. Innumerable spills riding BMX bikes and other bikes when I was a kid. For all the riding I’ve done, I consider myself pretty lucky actually. Others have horror stories!

  4. khal spencer says

    The true BRI was the broken collarbone. Totally broken through and splintered, so it healed in the shape of a big lump. It works fine. Kept me off the bike for six or eight weeks, I forget exactly, as this was back in 1990. But as you say, it killed my confidence for months afterwards because one, I worried about crashing again and two, I lost a lot of upper body muscle tone so a further crash would be bad news.

    A second, part BRI and part klutz, was when I tore my rotator cuff and biceps tendon doing a running leap onto the cross bike/commuter one day headed to work. I had not thought that the flagstone dust mixed with water from a home improvement project would turn the driveway into an ice rink, and did a hard slam onto the other shoulder. That knocked me out for a lot longer as I needed reconstructive surgery on the tendon and rotator cuff and a couple months of physical therapy. Especially as in a separate KlutzKraft that year, I also broke a foot and had to let that heal before the surgery.

  5. bdicksonnv says

    Ahh the classic OTB. Shall it be skinned knees and elbows, rocks in the palm because you think this is the North Shore and you don’t need gloves, or a trip to the ER? So many to choose from. Worst is dependent not only the type but also the time. Broken collar bone in December just means lots of sympathy at the company Christmas party but a week before a big gravel event, that’s a different story.
    Mine was a Tuesday in May on a afterwork hot lap on a trail I could do with my eyes closed. Tuesday is burned into my head since it’s Taco Tuesday and I was thinking what do I need to make Tacos’s tonight…..flip, shoulder to the ground, bounce up, uggg this sucks to breathe. I gather my bike, retwist the handlebars back into some sort of alignment and begin the turn around home.
    Pedaling is harder, sucks to breathe. Man I must have really knocked the air out of myself. I limp/pedal the mile home and decide to call my wife for the ride to the hospital. Long story short it’s a 5 day stay with a broken collar bone, 4 broke ribs and a chest tube. Gave up my spot for the Gravel Race/Ride but got a great piece of metal in my shoulder that’s mildly numb a year later. My rules have always been Ride, Crash, Repeat it just gets longer between Crash and Repeat the older I get.

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