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  1. #1
    eBiker
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    Crash Techniques - Need Your Tips

    I need some tips on crashing head first.

    A broken arm (in the wrist area) and a ruptured tendon (again, wrist area - other arm) on separate crashes, 8 months between injuries, and I need to find some new hit-the-ground technique.

    Background:
    I grew up BMXing in the 70s, and learned to tuck and roll, which I still do today. This technique has saved much bacon over the years, but (and here is the AM part) I am not going XC nor DJ speeds. I also wear elbow and knee armor.

    My current technique:
    If possible, I get off the bike (in control) before things blow up. If I go down head first, my hands are in front to set up the tuck-and-roll. I don't use my hands to stop the fall, just to start the energy absorbtion and disappation into the shoulder roll.

    Clearly my technique is not working for my wrists.

    Anyone got any tips?

    Mr. P

  2. #2
    TJT
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    I am no expert, but...

    Try not putting your hands forwards, but down instead. My hands seem to automatically go into almost a push-up position. You should still be able to control your fall to go nicely into the tuck.

    Good question... I'm interested to see what others say.

  3. #3
    over 50 years of cycling
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    you need to get wrist braces to add to your armour.
    E.g. the 661
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...+Wrap+Pro.aspx

    There is another brand that is a similar design too. Note this is the one item that you need in a pair that they sell as "each" so you need two of them, so they are a bit pricey.

    You can improvise wrist braces too, buying a generic wrist support, but these work better than most. I was getting a lot of wrist damage on my weak wrists before using these.

    Tuck and roll is good.

    Best thing is to take some martial arts training in a form that teaches you how to fall....AND kick arse.... Two birds with one stone.
    Something like Akido etc.
    Live in the moment.
    YMMV

  4. #4
    squish is good
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    Not sure how I developed this technique, it just kind of happened after a couple years of crashing but if you can try to land with the back of your hand towards the ground using your entire forarm like you would the palm of your hand normally. I guess a simple way to put it would be land on your entire arm instead of your wrist .Basically it puts you right into that tuck and roll position and naturally keeps your wrist out of the line of fire while spreading the shock of impact over a larger area with stronger bones involved. Don't try to stop the fall with your arm, just stay loose and roll with it. Stiff arms, necks, and legs lead to broken stuff, and don't forget to drink lots of milk!

  5. #5
    Out Of Control
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    Roll and try to stay loose.

  6. #6
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    Crashes by definition are out of control, trying to apply a technique let alone training in that technique is probably not feasible. If you have 'instinctive' technique then you just do.
    Think about the idea of doing a tuck and roll. You are on a surface that is covered in rocks and roots. If you roll you'll be breaking ribs and vertebra. Just fall and 'splat' as flat as you can. Stay face down if you have any say in the matter. You just need to support the wrists a bit.

  7. #7
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    Don't really know a right way or wrong way, but me, once I was riding a good 25mph downhill on some twisty single track and was not able to negotiate a tight turn and sqouze the front brake a liitle to hard and all I remember was holding on to the handlebars as I was airborne, staying loose, and landing on my back, while I kinda shifted my body to the right so the bike would'nt land on me. Only thing dented was my confidence and a wild rose branch stuck to my A$$. I got up and did it again (downhill run that is) and was sucessful. IMO just stay loose and try to find the path of least resistance to land so you don't have to be airlifted out of the trails. I never resort to the diving position for the very same reasons of your past injuries.

  8. #8
    eBiker
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    Thanks for the tips. Based on comments, I think I need to:

    Stay more loose
    Practice my rolls (off the bike)
    Wrist braces for more agressive trails

    I think I also need to:

    Do more stretching (more than the current zero )
    More overall body work-out

    The milk comment is a good one too, I started that up after the first break.

    I've been fine up until this year, but I have been charging in harder and harder. The new bigger bike allows me to go faster at comfort, but the penalty for failure is higher too.

    Mr. P

  9. #9
    eBiker
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyeager
    Crashes by definition are out of control, trying to apply a technique let alone training in that technique is probably not feasible. If you have 'instinctive' technique then you just do.
    You can create "muscle memory", in which you practice a technique enough that it become instinctual. It's how I went from flop to roll, which has worked great up until this last year. I ask the question so I can retrain myself to a better technique that will be instictual.

    Quote Originally Posted by jyeager
    Think about the idea of doing a tuck and roll. You are on a surface that is covered in rocks and roots. If you roll you'll be breaking ribs and vertebra. Just fall and 'splat' as flat as you can. Stay face down if you have any say in the matter. You just need to support the wrists a bit.
    My Camel pack has always protected my spine/ribs. And I've done rolls where I jumped back up onto my feet at the end of the roll, unscathed. I've also done "splat". Splat hurts. I think I will support my wrists more on more aggressive trails as you suggest.

    Mr. P

  10. #10
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    i usually just pray

    it really depends on the crash though. if im endoing, i usually try to just jump over the bars and keep running down the hill while the bike tumbles behind me. other than that, tuck and roll seems to work well for me.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twisted Trail
    you need to get wrist braces to add to your armour.
    E.g. the 661
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...+Wrap+Pro.aspx

    There is another brand that is a similar design too. Note this is the one item that you need in a pair that they sell as "each" so you need two of them, so they are a bit pricey.

    You can improvise wrist braces too, buying a generic wrist support, but these work better than most. I was getting a lot of wrist damage on my weak wrists before using these.

    Tuck and roll is good.

    Best thing is to take some martial arts training in a form that teaches you how to fall....AND kick arse.... Two birds with one stone.
    Something like Akido etc.
    Good advice.... but I took Aikido for three years, and still kill my wrists on a regular basis! Then again, maybe I'm just a shmuck

  12. #12
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    You probaly already doing this, but I really try and remember that I'm wearing those elbow pads and knee pads. Try putting on your pads, standing in some grass and just practice using your elbows and forearms to cusion your falls.

    When I'm going down, I'm all elbow.

  13. #13
    flow where ever you go
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    give it up to tuck and roll

    First prevention:
    1. Don't look down to where your front tire is (or is headed shortly), and
    2. Don't look where you think you are going to crash.
    3. Do look forward to where you want to go! -- looking forward to where you want to go will help you maintain balance and poise.

    It's too late, you are falling or crashing:
    • give up to it, relax.... you'll find out soon enough how it all turns out
    • go ahead and put your hands out, but curve your fingers and wrists in and don't straighten your elbows either. this facilitates rolling rather than straining and breaking.
    • tuck your head in too. same reasons.
    Last edited by noshortcuts; 06-05-2007 at 08:15 PM. Reason: so i don't crash

    "I must not be crazy because I'm seriously questioning my sanity"

  14. #14
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    Nice thread!

    Quote Originally Posted by noshortcuts
    First prevention:
    1. Don't look down to where your front tire is (or is headed shortly), and
    2. Don't look where you think you are going to crash.
    3. Do look forward to where you want to go! -- looking forward to where you want to go will help you maintain balance and poise.

    It's too late, you are falling or crashing:
    • give up to it, relax.... you'll find out soon enough how it all turns out
    • go ahead and put your hands out, but curve your fingers and wrists in and don't straighten your elbows either. this facilitates rolling rather than straining and breaking.
    • tuck your head in too. same reasons.

    Having a lot of small wrecks at slower speeds helps out.
    Keep from being dehydrated/ slow down when tired.
    The wheel is a extension of the foot

  15. #15
    parts leftover
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    The worst thing you can do is throw an arm out and take out joints or bones.

    When I crash hard at speed, I'm usually falling toward my dominant right side (i.e. I'm right handed). In fact, 75% of the time I crash right, not left (I don't know why). Regardless, if I get launched, I'm immediately tucking my hands to my sternum and trying to get my shoulder toward the ground and my forearm against my ribcage. I find that if I hit shoulder first, I will automatically roll it out onto my back. Several hard wipeouts have only resulted in abrasions and evenly distributed bruises over my arm, shoulder, back and leg. It's easy to imagine what would have happened if all that energy was directed into a wrist or collarbone. Always wear the brain-bucket. The shoulder-first crash more often than not results in a light head-tap at the point of impact, since you aren't throwing out an arm. Also, going arm into ribcage can knock the wind out of you depending on how hard you hit. It's a heckuva lot better than body parts snapping and being off the bike for six weeks or more.

    Also, I made dumb mistakes on the trail when I'm overfatigued and my blood sugar is low. The split-second slower reaction time is usually the difference between a close call and being jettisoned. Fuel up and try to get a good handle on if you are tired to the point of impairment.
    Last edited by schlim; 06-05-2007 at 09:29 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlim
    The worst thing you can do is throw an arm out and take out joints or bones.

    When I crash hard at speed, I'm usually falling toward my dominant right side (i.e. I'm right handed). In fact, 75% of the time I crash right, not left (I don't know why). Regardless, if I get launched, I'm immediately tucking my hands to my sternum and trying to get my shoulder toward the ground and my forearm against my ribcage. I find that if I hit shoulder first, I will automatically roll it out onto my back. Several hard wipeouts have only resulted in abrasions and evenly distributed bruises over my arm, shoulder, back and leg. It's easy to imagine what would have happened if all that energy was directed into a wrist or collarbone. Always wear the brain-bucket. The shoulder-first crash more often than not results in a light head-tap at the point of impact, since you aren't throwing out an arm. Also, going arm into ribcage can knock the wind out of you depending on how hard you hit. It's a heckuva lot better than body parts snapping and being off the bike for six weeks or more.

    Also, I made dumb mistakes on the trail when I'm overfatigued and my blood sugar is low. The split-second slower reaction time is usually the difference between a close call and being jettisoned. Fuel up and try to get a good handle on if you are tired to the point of impairment.
    I understand the need to keep limbs in but not sure about wisdom of landing shoulder-only. I tried it recently and separated my AC. Shoulders are also slow healers, often need surgery and can be bothersome in old age... Wished I'd used the tumble technique instead of the splat.

  17. #17
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    Not sure if it is right thing to do, but I always hold onto the bars up to the bitter end. In every situation when endo is possible, I sit behind the saddle, nearly on the rear wheel. So far it has never happened that the bike fell on top of me. I fall with the bike on my right side and even in pretty tough cases get away with minor scratches protection gear would prevent if I wore any.

  18. #18
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    my technique for crashing:

    pick a trail that's far too steep, rutted and rocky for people to even walk. ride down it.


    and that's it, i'm almost guaranteed to crash. as a backup for when the death trail fails me, i also aim for small bushes. the smaller and more insignificant, the more likely i'm to hit it and crash.

    and dont forget the clipless pedals! they increase your chances of successfully crashing by orders of magnitude. i swear by them.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by drunkle
    my technique for crashing:

    pick a trail that's far too steep, rutted and rocky for people to even walk. ride down it.


    and that's it, i'm almost guaranteed to crash. as a backup for when the death trail fails me, i also aim for small bushes. the smaller and more insignificant, the more likely i'm to hit it and crash.

    and dont forget the clipless pedals! they increase your chances of successfully crashing by orders of magnitude. i swear by them.
    solid advice !~!

    i like bush brakes

  20. #20
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    arms

    I've been watching videos lately and the downhillers always seem to stick their arms out. I hate the idea of tucking your arms in and here is why: hard to roll. I would say stick your arms out (I do), but do NOT try to take any load on them. hell no. Instead, I always "throw" the ground in what ever direction it's already going in. this way, your pushing your body into a roll instead of relying on friction between you and the ground to roll. The most I ever get from this is sore hands because I'm basically slapping the ground. So in other words, my hands basically 'go with the flow', and help me execute a clean roll. Also, a lot of times I've been sent flying sideways, and end up doing some sort of log roll. If you don't use your hands, those seem to end up as 'splats'.

    usually this works for me, however I did over rotate on a table- top jump, and endoed straight into the ground. I was out of it during the jump and didn't react until it was too late. fractured wrist.


    EDIT: oh yeah, and my arms always point straight down.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis
    I understand the need to keep limbs in but not sure about wisdom of landing shoulder-only. I tried it recently and separated my AC. Shoulders are also slow healers, often need surgery and can be bothersome in old age... Wished I'd used the tumble technique instead of the splat.
    In my own experience, I caused an anterior dislocation of my shoulder when I fell backward rollerblading and threw my arm behind me to stop myself. It was a bad move that eventually required surgery to repair the torn ligaments and cartilage. I'm keeping my arms tucked in, thank you.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by pizza
    I've been watching videos lately and the downhillers always seem to stick their arms out. I hate the idea of tucking your arms in and here is why: hard to roll. I would say stick your arms out (I do), but do NOT try to take any load on them. hell no. Instead, I always "throw" the ground in what ever direction it's already going in.

    usually this works for me, however I did over rotate on a table- top jump, and endoed straight into the ground. I was out of it during the jump and didn't react until it was too late. fractured wrist.
    I'm a pragmatist, meaning that if something you are doing causes a bone to break, you shouldn't recommend it to others.

    Sticking your arms out is instinctive, but that doesn't make it the best course of action, even if the downhillers do it. Tucking and rolling is always going to be a better option than putting all the load on one bone or joint. I don't buy the ground throwing idea. Having arms out slows you down due to inertia. That's why ice skaters tuck their limbs in when they spin. You'll be less likely to roll and distribute the impact if you throw arms out.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlim
    I'm a pragmatist, meaning that if something you are doing causes a bone to break, you shouldn't recommend it to others.

    Sticking your arms out is instinctive, but that doesn't make it the best course of action, even if the downhillers do it. Tucking and rolling is always going to be a better option than putting all the load on one bone or joint. I don't buy the ground throwing idea. Having arms out slows you down due to inertia. That's why ice skaters tuck their limbs in when they spin. You'll be less likely to roll and distribute the impact if you throw arms out.

    Do I sense condescention here? Its ok. I didn't explain myself completely anyway. when I throw the ground, my arms inevitably end up next to my body. and no, it does not slow down my roll. You don't really want to be spinning through the air anyway because then you have less control over what part of your body hits first. so there goes the skating example. my arms stay out in the air and I dive into the ground. THEN you want to be spinning. and thats where throwing the ground helps. I guess I didn't emphasize enough that my arms yield to the ground-- they move with the ground (respective to your body). The arms only initiate the roll- they don't break the fall.I'd rather push myself into a roll than rely on the ground pushing me into a roll.
    Now I KNOW what you're thinking now-- that I've contradicted myself. Think of it this way. my arms YIELD to the ground rushing upward towards me. I push in a horizontal motion in the opposite direction that I am moving. of course in order for me to push I can't yield completely to the vertical motion. Yes, alot of people fracture wrists and collarbones by doing this. But that is because thier arms are rigid and they are trying to break thier fall. not me.

    Thanks for the skater example, btw. I forgot I'm a total retard. Anyone who's sat in an office chair understands the concept of rotational inertia. so thank you.
    I guess have no idea what I'm talking about here. I just watch those pro downhillers who crash more often and harder than anyone else (and have broken more bones). Yeah they still get hurt. But the number of times they get back up from a horrific accident is no chance happening. They're doing something right here. I don't have too many years of experience but out of the dozens of (decent) crashes I've had I think I'll stick with my technique. I simply pointed out my accident to prove a point: no matter what you do, there's always the possiblity that you will still get seriously injured. when I crashed it was after a long session of jumping and I had lost focus. that doesn't mean my technique is bad. If you don't buy it, thats fine by me. I've heard of yours before, and it does work. I just have my way of doing things, you have yours. maybe I'll eat **** one day and shatter my arm. who knows.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlim
    In my own experience, I caused an anterior dislocation of my shoulder when I fell backward rollerblading and threw my arm behind me to stop myself. It was a bad move that eventually required surgery to repair the torn ligaments and cartilage. I'm keeping my arms tucked in, thank you.
    I agree with you in this case. you shouldn't have stuck your arms out like that. but how many times does that sort of fall happen in biking? maybe in a failed wheelie, manual, backflip or landing. but those (especially the last two) are all pretty rare. Actually now that I think about it, I have fallen backwards when I forgot I had no rear brake and pulled a wheelie. I landed on my back and elbows, though. so there definately are exceptions to my technique. I guess the big issue is being able to think when you're in the air, and deciding your plan of action on the spot.

  25. #25
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    i just happen to be irish so my luck enables me to simpily bounce bake up again
    you should try it some time

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