Ken Looi in Bangkok Hospital with Broken Leg?

Anybody have any details on what is happening in Laos? Sid left this message on the LUT guestbook:

Message: Sorry for the lack of updates, guys. Ken, broke his leg and is in a hospital in Bangkok. The rest of us are a bit sore- Ok a lot sore…

I’ve been really enjoying the photos and storyline of their wonderful trip, wishing I was there. I feel sorry for Ken, after all that planning, training and preparation for this great adventure - hopefully he won’t be in the hospital too long.



I got a brief update from Tony.

Ken’s first generation geared hub disengaged suddenly at very high speed, leaving him completely without control, resulting in a very fast, very bad crash.

Ken self diagnosed a compound fracture of the tibia (which produced a very floppy ankle). Along with the fracture he also gained a gruesome gash on his leg.

Road-side first aid was administered under Ken’s instructions with Tony applying traction and Hans bandaging the gash. They splinted his leg with 2 stout sticks and a wine box. Ken was driven back to Luang Prabang by Jason and then airlifted to Bangkok hospital.

It sounds like it will be a while before gizmoduck is riding again :frowning:

That’s hideous. After all his work and anticipation. Looi’s a cool, generous, adventureous guy and I hate to see something like this happen to him on the ride he worked so hard to organize. Ken, as a physician, at least could diagnose his own injury but a compound fracture is hard to miss. Is there anything that we, as the unicycling community, can do to help him out? Does he need donations to get him back home sooner? Any suggestions would help. We’ll decide what we can do with input from the folks on the ride and Ken himself, if possible, and then let’s do it.

Argh that sounds like a lot of agony. You usually don’t even need a doctor on the scene to diagnose a compound fracture because this is where the broken bone is likely to protrude out the side of your leg!!.

I’m fairly certian that the tibia is the biggy at the front of your shin that we all frequently wack with pedals.

Ouch! That has to be disappointing for Ken since it is a tour that Ken had planned. I hope the rest of the group presses on.

Let’s hope that it isn’t too bad so the recovery is faster. Still, I’d think it would be doubtful he’d be ready to ride again by the time UNICON rolls around.

Get well quick, again.

Yes it is! But what is a compound fracture? is that the kind of fracture wher the broken bone goes throughout the skin (which means blood, infectious risks, especially in such jungle countries).
Just thinking about it chills me to the bones and I’ll be careful while back commuting tonight (coker on icy trails…) even if I’m shure I can’t go as fast as Ken.

This sounds only marginally better than the broken ankle in Nepal/Bhutan (?) episode.

Here’s wishing Ken a speedy and effective recorvery with special commiserations for not having officials on hand to verify the new world coasting speed record.

In a compound fracture the bone breaks through the skin causing an open wound. The times you might need somebody like Ken to diagnose it is when the bone immediately recedes back into the wound and isn’t visible through the skin.

Yikes. Best of luck and a speedy recovery to you, Ken.

Ouch. Bad luck. Injuries caused by equipment failure are the worst thing, cos you can’t avoid them. Bummer to have to miss most of a tour. Hope it mends soon.


that kinda puts me off buyin a schlumph any time soon then :roll_eyes:

I wonder if the hub actually failed or if his foot tapped the gear-change button.
Anyway, I hope you recover quickly and fully Ken.

Thanks for all the support everyone :slight_smile:
I’m sitting in the Bangkok Hospital now, finally hooked up to the internet in my room so will try to post some more updates from the LUT.

Anyway, yes, these things seem to happen to me when I’m overseas (First time was three yrs ago in Nepal). This time, I broke my the lower shaft of my tibia and fibula.

It’s an accident that could have happened anywhere (and I wish it did!), and had nothing to do with the tour. We were just starting the days ride on a quiet road. I was going down the hill at about 25-30km/h and suddenly the gear slipped. I landed my L foot on the ground but it happened so quickly I don’t recall how I landed. I think it was a slight twisting motion as I planted my leg on the ground and kept going forwards. Anyway, my leg snapped and I lay crumpled on the road. The bad news was that it was an open fracture- it was bent in half and the bone was sticking through the skin, which makes it more serious as it need surgery urgently due to the risk of infection. I yanked on my foot and straigtened it and stuck the bone back into the skin. At which point Jason arrived followed by Tony. Tony put traction on my leg (thanks!) despite it bleeding all over his hands (sorry) and we then splinted my foot with an old wine box and some sticks and Han’s jersey and a few bandages.

Jason drove me to Luang Prabang in the support vehicle to have it cleaned and put in a backslab,and given a dose of antibiotics. He then managed to get me on the first flight to Bangkok and admitted to Bumrungrad international Hospital ( They operated on my ankle within 12hrs of the incident which is better than I had hoped for. So now I’m a bit sore, but otherwise they’ve disconnected everything. I’m limping around on crutches, still on antibiotics and will probably be on it for quite a few weeks due to the nature of the fracture. Hopefully flying home next week. The real concern now is whether I develop an infection because it was an open fracture for 12hrs.

A few notes on the hub slippage: it happened on the first generation hub and Florian had been very concerned that I was still using it, so my apologies to Florian- I know he’s corrected the problem (and did a very expensive product recall) and if I had had more time I would have switched over to the Generation 2 hub before the trip. But I was seriously pressed for time before the LUT. Sad excuse but I can’t do anything about that now.

The LUT is still progressing. I’ve been emailed some updates and photos from Florian and Tony, so keep the site bookmarked. There is still a lot of riding to be had!

Anyway, that’s all for now.



Good to hear you in good spirits, all things considered, Ken.

I hope the nurses are as knockout as the painkillers.
And/or vice versa.

This is going to be in someone’s signature before too very long.

This is the first generation hub, which David Stone also had a crash on when it didn’t engage, the fix in the second generation should make this much less likely to happen. I’ve got the second generation hub and the hub bit seemed fantastic for the 6 hours I got to ride it before the frame snapped itself.

I guess with any kind of gearing system, epicyclic, geared giraffe/jackshaft etc. unless you have a complete backup like on a twin chained giraffe, there’s some risk of a sudden loss of drive when going very fast, especially if you’ve got changeable gears and a freewheel in between, but from riding the new schlumpf one, I’d say it’s pretty unlikely to knock it out of gear by mistake, and it really doesn’t feel like it’s going to do anything bad, there’s so little backlash on it and the shifting motion is a very definate ‘clunk’ into gear.


I’m really sorry to hear about that. hope you get better soon Ken!

Get well soon, Ken!

OMG!! Heal quickly and fully, Ken!

I suppose we’re going to have to work out a new Coker Guinness Records Book sub-category “most excellent coker crashes.” also: be sure to post pictures of all your adoring nurses, and make them autograph your abs.

Get better soon!


how do you do that without fainting due to pain?? i busted my arm and i couldnt stand up it hurt so bad.

hope you have a good and speedy recovery.