From bad to worse,…..nurse!


December 10, 2008 by welshcyclist

I had alot of sympathy for Doug, mnbicyclecommuter, in Minnesota, when I read about his unfortunate accident on some ice in Duluth, I have even more now. I don’t know if reading that post has had some sort of effect, but I’ve now fallen because of ice, twice since. The first one I reported in this blog, in my last post, sadly I have to report another.

Yesterday, Monday my pre-commute to work began with an inspection of the outside street and path, a little frosty, but nothing to be concerned about. Then I packed all my gear, and went to the shed to get my Subway 1, by this time I could feel it had started to rain a little, so I went back inside and changed my long trousers for waterproof ones. By 05.30, I didn’t need to be in work till 07.30, I was riding through the village on my way down the Neath valley, within 10 minutes the rain had stopped.

The ride was great, didn’t see any cars on the old road at all, and I was enjoying myself, even got up that stretch of hill I hate, without too much bother. My ride continued as normal into Neath itself. I decided to cut through Morrison’s car park, that’s a large supermarket in this part of the world, I’ve done it loads of times before. I crossed the entire car park with no problem, and as I thought no hint of slipperyness or ice, then as I left the car park to go into the pedestrianised area of the town, the next thing I knew I was smacking into the ground.

I think it was shock that made me lie still for a few seconds, my leg was hurting, and my first thought was, ‘ have I broken my leg?’ , then ‘ had anyone seen me fall?’ Though my leg was hurting I decided it wasn’t broken, and gingerly got to my feet to discover my left shoulder was really painful. I got my bike up, and despite the pain, again probably because of shock, I started to um and ah about continuing on to work. Like this I dithered for, I guess 5 minutes or so.

Finally, I rang my work, told them what had happened, and that I wouldn’t be coming in. Then I rang home, because I knew Tierloch would be up, getting ready for work, it was now 06.20. Well then I spent 20 minutes shivering, and getting more and more uncomfortable with both a stiff and sore left knee, and a really painful left shoulder. It was a great relief to see Tierloch drive round the corner into the car park.

We loaded the Subway 1 onto the bikerack, while Tierloch told me of the numerous car accidents he’d seen on route, and also how he’d almost lost control driving because of ice, on the roads and especially when he came into Morrison’s car park. I just couldn’t understand it, I hadn’t seen a sign or felt any kind of slipping or sliding.

I soon saw for myself that there was a problem with ice, in the form of another very forlorn and sorry looking cyclist, pushing his bicycle along the pavement. Let’s hope he didn’t have far to go, anyway Tierloch safely transported my bike and I home, where I’ve stayed since, save for a trip up to the surgery yesterday afternoon. The doctor said nothing was broken, but both my left knee and shoulder had been badly bruised and traumatised, they would get more painful for a few days, and that I’d need a week’s rest, stay off work, for them to get back to normal, and to go back if things didn’t improve. She gave me some painkillers, which have helped immensely.

Today my knee has swollen even more, and is difficult to bend, but, my shoulder has eased a little, I have more movement in it, but if I try to do anything it really hurts, and makes me shout ” ow”.

Since Tierloch put it in the shed, I haven’t looked at the Subway, when he took it off the bikerack I noticed that the chain was off the cog and derailleur, I just hope no real damage has been done. Having said that, I am very reticent about cycling in this weather again, and concerned about having to leave off commuting to work through the winter.

Which leads me to the big question, I need to put to all you winter commuters out there,

” How do you all stay upright, most of the time, because I assume the occasional fall is inevitable, during icy conditions?”

I’d be grateful for all your advice.

Where’s my nurse, “Nurse!”

10 thoughts on “From bad to worse,…..nurse!

  1. R:B says:

    Would be the left leg again, wouldn’t it?

  2. 2whls3spds says:

    Couple of suggestions…I typically ride a smaller frame so I can hop off. I also will run studded tires or tire chains Here is an article on how to make your own chains. Studs will wear out but a couple of studded tires will last a year or two and are cheaper than losing a week of work!Aaron

  3. Doug says:

    My recent fall was not on ice, as you mentioned. It was on a damp, steel grated surface on a bridge. .Studded tyres keep me up right all winter long. A good quality studded tyre like a Nokian are worth their weight in gold. If you buy a tyre with carbide tipped studs they won’t wear down. I put over a thousand miles on my studded tires last year on dry pavement with no sign of any wear on the studs. Studded tyres would prevent a fall just like the one you experienced.

  4. andrewp says:

    Hi there, my name’s Andrew Pugh and I’m a reporter for the Neath Guardian. I’ve been reading your blog with interest and wondered whether you would be interested in doing a piece on your commute to work – 40 miles is a hell of a trip, particularly in this weather. Also we recently did a story on councillors being paid 20p a mile to to ride their bikes to work but it seems none have taken it up. If you’re interested you can contact me at or phone me on 01639 791813

  5. cyclingred says:

    I bought some studded tires for my bike a few years ago. I used them a few times. Then I finally decided that maybe I was being a little too compulsive about the whole thing.Days that required studded tires were probably days to take off and do and think about other things.Here ice conditions rarely last more than a day or two.

  6. welshcyclist says:

    Well R:B., sadly if I’m going to have an accident, you can gaurantee it will affect my left knee, it’s always been that way since I was 16 or so. Thanks for the advice Aaron, when I’m back to fitness, I’ll be looking into your suggestions. Sorry Doug for getting the circumstances of your fall wrong, my memory is dreadful, but thanks also for your advice. As you say cyclingred, these conditions only hang around for a couple of days usually, but I want to cycle-commute everyday, no matter what the weather.

  7. 2whls3spds says:

    I had to have my wife go and look, but the last set of studded tires I bought were Nokians A10. I live in a southern climate where more than a day of ice or snow is quite unusual. It is usually easier to just wait for it to melt…and avoid the idiots on the roads. I have also seen Scwalbe studded tires. Regarless get the ones with the carbide studs. In the US they run ~$50 each.Good Luck and stop falling down ;-)Aaron

  8. 2whls3spds says:

    I did a quick bit of research the Schwalbes and Nokians are running a bit more in the states now…closer to $75 (57 EUR) each, still a bargain IMHO.Aaron

  9. R:B says:

    Here’s a BikeHacks piece on making your own studded tyres

  10. Over here it’s been down to -11 C. Today it was -9 C at commuting and school run time in the morning.There’s very little change in the cycling rate. In fact, the children have been cycling more than ever as they’ve been taken out of school during the day to go ice skating (this, like all other school journeys, is by bike).There’s no ice on the roads or cycle paths except for a few frozen puddles. Everything is gritted very thoroughly here.

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