A week ago I had my first ever bike fall. The crash came 10km into a 30km ride in Dartford. Clinton was leading, and I was riding a couple of metres behind him. We were riding along a quiet residential street when a car passed me closely on the right. I swerved left to avoid colliding with the car and slid on one of those evil, straight-edged angular speed bumps. The forward momentum caused my body to move up and over the bike, sending me towards the pavement shoulder first. Thankfully, my hip took the brunt of the impact, but my neck and shoulder were jarred as well.
I realised how lucky I am that my accident wasn’t more serious, and I didn’t hit my head! If there’s one lesson to be learned from this, it’s this: always look further up the road, scanning for speed bumps and making smooth adjustments in order to avoid them, and try not to swerve around them!
Since the fall, I have experienced some degree of shoulder ache. As it happened, the bike fall coincided with a week of skiing and a break from swimming and cycling, so I was able to give myself a bit of time away from the standard triathlon training.
The graze on my hip had now healed nicely, but I still have a searing pain in my right shoulder, which I’m a little concerned about. In a few months I’m going to have to swim 1.9km in the sea as part of the Barcelona half Ironman and I really need everything working properly before then!
This is what I did to deal with my shoulder injury and the aftermath of my bike fall:
During the week off, I massaged the tender muscles around my neck and right shoulder gently and practiced a range of motion exercises.
2. Rest the injured areas
After my bike fall, I rested my shoulders for a week, but continued to do other forms of sport. I continued skiing and running. I also did about twenty minutes of indoor cycling everyday in order to maintain flexibility while still allowing injured areas to heal.
3. See a physiotherapist
My shoulder was still in pain after a week so I went to see a physiotherapist who gave me some specific exercises to help with injury recovery and prevention. My physiotherapist told me that shoulder pain is often caused by a lack of mid-back flexibility and incorrect spinal and pelvis alignment so she gave me some exercises to improve flexibility and alignment, like keeping the elbow to the hip and moving the arm out (using a resistance band to make it more difficult)!
4. Bike check
Two weeks after my fall I hopped back on to the bike without checking the gears and the brakes. It was very foolish and I discovered very quickly that the gears weren’t working properly and the chain kept derailing. So before you go back on the bike after a minor crash – run through all the gears to ensure your derailleur and chain are working properly!