when you crash... let go of the water bottle first

Okay, this is a standard “injury thread” with a little “I’m an idiot” thrown in for your amusement and edification. I’ll spare you the pictures.

I was riding my Coker today on the bike path that connects several parks. As I passed through one park, I approach two guys who are standing alongside the bike path. One talks to me as follows…

guy: “That’s not hard once you know how, right?”

me: “I takes a long time to learn. Then it’s easy – you don’t have to think about it.”

I’ve ridden past by the time I’ve finished saying this. No more than a second passes, then… CRASH!

Somehow I get wobbly and come off the front of the Coker. I stumble on my feet and my tired legs can’t hold me up. I go down on my hands and right knee from a riding speed of about 7 MPH. I don’t know why I fell and I don’t know why I couldn’t get on my feet at only 7 MPH. It was a freak accident, leaving me no time to prepare. Being tired and getting over the flu must have contributed.

So, without hesitation after crashing, I sit right up, look back at the two guys, and say…

me: “See what I mean?” (referring to how “easy” I just told them it was)

Here’s the “I’m an idiot” part, which is why I’m posting this thread. This is a cautionary tale for similarly clutzy people.

When I sat up, I noticed something curious. The Poland Spring water bottle was still in my hand… and my thumb hurt. I think I bent my thumb back because I failed to let go of the water bottle before skidding to a stop on my hands and knee. I can live with the road rash on my leg, but I need my thumb! The opposable thumb is what separates us from animals and allows us to grasp things.

My injuries are not serious. But my thumb injury was totally preventable.

Moral of the story: as you begin to crash, safely drop what you are carrying.

(Why didn’t I? Because I thought for sure I would just run it out. Why would I throw my water bottle on the ground for no reason? So, is the moral of the story valid???)

if you had ridden before the release party, you would have been too tired to go out for the water bottle ride :slight_smile:

That’s pretty embarassing. At least you cleverly and quickly responded to the crash with some humor. I think you probably didn’t run out and also didn’t drop the water bottle because you were distracted by the thought of conversation you’d just engaged it. Your mind probably didn’t think quick enough to figure out what was going to happen on the fall.

When I fall to the ground, which isn’t too often on my 20" trials, I try to make it look as casual and cool as possible. You know, rolling out of the fall into some sort of a backwards somersault - landing on my feet if i can. I had the sweetest fall the other day after trying to ride down a really steep grassy hill. I made it down the hill, but bounced awkwardly after immeditately jumping off of a curb at the bottom and wound up doing a hands first dive sorta action. Unfortunately, no one saw how cool it was.

Bah, if monkeys can ride unicycles then the opposable thumb can’t be that important!

By the way, in interesting fact: among the various creatures with opposable thumbs are also Pandas. Although apparently it’s an extension of a wrist bone or something and not a true thumb. So now you know!

camelbaks are your best friend!

When on my way home one day, I was gliding down my driveway with my satchel on, and 2.25L L&P bottle in hand. I bailed, dropped the L&P and rolled my ankle badly. My thumb was ok, but this was the second bad sprain in the space of 2 months (I had just recovered from my left ankle sprain, and had sprained my left just to even things up).

Well at least you were quick on your feet with the “See what I mean?”.

Your injury is comparable to the most common skiing injury, thumb sprains and breaks from falling while gripping the ski pole.

I have to second Mr. Potter’s suggestion about Camelbaks. They eliminate the need for water bottles, and often protect your back from scrapes and bruises.

Heal up quick.

That’s for sure! I was riding along yesterday, and someone started talking to me about trying to ride my uni. I started talking to him, and suddenly I was flat on my back! It was really surreal, because it all seemed to happen in slow motion. I landed flat on my back, but I didn’t even feel the impact because of my camelbak and the few T’s and towels I carry in there. The guy decided he didn’t want to try to ride anymore after seeing that!

That’s too funny cause the same has happened to me. I fall on my back and people are like “I don’t want to try that anymore” It’s all good though, that’s more unicycling for me then. :smiley: :smiley:

Yeah…whenever folks ask to learn, I always mention that it will take a fair amount of time, bruises and scrapes. Gotta be willing to get back on and do it again.

My favorite bail was right in front of a sorority as I was on my way home. They were having a picnic and shortly after I hear a “whoa, look, he’s on a unicycle”, I was off a sprawling. Thank you, Murphy’s Law.:o

Thanks for the nice comments everyone (except for Brian). And for the record…

… I wasn’t embarrassed. Not at all. I made the comment just because of my silly sense of humor. I think I was more concerned about the image of unicycling I was giving to those two guys. And I was glad I didn’t wipe out right in front of the playground full of little kids (we were slightly past that and out of view). I didn’t want to scare them – “Look, mommy! A guy on a unicycle! <screams!> Mommy! He’s bleeding!”

… I have two Camelbaks. One with a lot of cargo space and three liters of water (for MUni). And another that is sleek and holds less water. Both were home, of course (and this was only a ten mile ride), so I stopped at the ice cream guy at the park to buy a bottle of water. My bad. Ouch time.

Simple lesson to be learnt, you should have got an ice-cream instead.

now that’s funny!

I’m glad my suffering continues to amuse you, eh. Do you know what it’s like having only one working thumb? Worst of all, knowing that it’s your own stupid, klutzy fault? I only wish I could hold an ice cream and ride at the same time, but my good thumb is on my seat-holding hand (for mounting).

I hear that Pandas have thumbs. Perhaps Mei Xiang would like my ice cream?

Not true thumbs!


I’ve had too much coffee and it’s trigger random-post-itis.

LOL, thanks, I feel much better now. One of my thumbs is superior to a Panda’s.

(none of my rants are serious, you know…)

But what if you were holding a beer instead of a water bottle? This is just your body reacting with natural instinct not to release a refreshing beverage. In the heat of the moment you don’t have time to think and your body just reacts on instinct. The instinct in a male to keep hold of his beer is strong. Instinct assumes you have a beer (or maybe even a root beer) in your hand and reacts accordingly. It’s not your fault.

The problem here is a lack of conditioning. You don’t fall often enough and clearly aren’t practiced in the art of UPD while holding a beverage.

A water bottle is of little consequence. You must practice riding with a beverage of true value, such as a beer. When you fall you must not only protect the vessel containing the beer, but also avoid all spillage and wasting of the precious commodity.

By protecting the beverage you are ipso facto protecting the thumb.

I’ve met some people who run trails. Several of them carry a water bottle that has a strap that wraps around the back of the hand. The bottle will stay in the palm even without the use of the thumb. During a fall the bottle doubles as a padded palm glove and protects the hand from abrasion and impacts. The thumb still has to be moved out of the way.