On broken bikes...

I read the posts regarding broken ETSX frames. I ride a 2002.5 19" ETSX 50. Nothing in these posts convinces me that ETSX owners need to be worried. Only one poster suggests that this is a serious problem but doesn't post numbers: "many" means little.
Even if the frame breaks while climbing the damage was done while descending and MTB'rs are notorious for understating how they treat their bikes. That and the larger frames breaking would imply that the riders were larger and possible more abusive. The ETSX is not a jumper. I for one am not worried. If mine breaks I will not be replacing it since there are aspects of the 2002/2003's I prefer over the 2004's and beyond. Reparing aluminum frames can be done and in a manner that would make the joint stronger.

The fact a few have broken should not deter anyone from buying this bike, one of the best 4+ inch travel trail bikes available. And any posters who think otherwise, give us numbers not subjective adjectives.

On broken bodies...

8:00 PM, July 15, 2004 I had the worst bike accident ever.

The accident ocurred in the laneway behind our house about 100 meters north from our rear gate. I had just entered the laneway on my bicycle, proceeding south. A car was already in the laneway proceeding north. I pulled to the side yielding right of way to the car. After it passed I accelerated back into the middle of the laneway only to have my front wheel drop into the grill of an old style storm sewer, throwing me from the bike. I landed about fifteen feet from the bike impacting my right side with the ground, bruising my right leg, hip, ribs and knocking me out and, as it turned out, fracturing my pelvis through the right hip socket.

This is a reconstruction.

I have no recollection from the moment of yielding right of way to waking up, lying in the dirt, at the side of the laneway. I was in disbelief. I recalled the car and thought I had been hit. It was only days later that I remembered the storm sewer. There are four storm sewers in this lane way and the one in question is only about 3 feet from a manhole cover and is easily overlooked, depending on which way you are riding. I am now convinced the car did not hit me. There was no damage to the bike. The damaged to me was consistent with being launched from my bike and being slammed into the ground with my right hip taking the brunt of the force with my leg, ribs and head the rest ( yes: I was wearing a helmet, a Giro Atmos, the one with the carbon fibre reinforcement ).

It took me some time to gather my wits and try to get to my feet, only to realize I couldn't stand up. It was only with the help of some passersby that I was able to get home. Once there I waited, hoping for my hip to recover, thinking it might be only a pinched nerve. After a couple of hours I realized something more dramatic had happened and my partner called 911.

Waiting in emergency was strange to say the least. The full extent of my injury and the subsequent pain had yet to reveal itself. The only blood was on my right elbow from two skinned patches, each about one square inch. I was lucid but still confused about what had really happened ( the emergency records read "HIT BY CAR / PAIN RT. HIP" which I now believe to be completely erroneous ). The accident happened around 8:00 PM. Called 911 about 10:00 PM. Finally got to see a doctor around Midnight by which time the pain was hitting me big time. Pain like I have never felt before. They put me on a morphine drip, catheterized me and sent me for xrays. Sure enough, a five inch fracture through the right socket of my pelvis. The top of my femur had been driven straight onto the hip with the pelvis taking the full brunt of the blow. The attending doctor was taking an amusing delight in the dramatic nature of my injury in the absence of any other serious injuries. The question of whether I was wearing a helmet came up and I think both the doctor and the nurses were delighted to be not having to deal with a brain injury, that and, "how the hell did you do this falling off a bike?".

Well...they then sent me for a cat scan. I never did think to ask why. However a cat scan is the cheaper way of detecting soft tissue damage. I was lucky. There wasn't any.
This meant that I did not need surgery. The pelvic fracture, whilst expremely painful, did not need pinning. Only one end of the fracture was floating while the other end was still firmly attached. The treatment was simple. Massive doses of pain killers and bed rest for at least a week or two. Once I felt up to it, I was allowed to move around but I am not allowed to apply any weight to the right leg until the fracture has complete healed. I was discharged from the hospital July 21 and spent the next week or two doing absolutely nothing. My world had shrunk to the bedroom and the bathroom. Moving between the two was an adventure in pain management. The call of nature was an adventure in pain denial. During urination I could feel the bottom ends of the fracture, the floating ends, clicking against each other. During a bowel movement I could feel the top end of the fracture clicking. Two Tylinol 3's every four hours helped keep the pain at bay. It wasn't until about the first week of August that I actually felt upto venturing beyond the bedroom. The clicking had stopped and I had a severe case of cabin fever.

August 10'th I had the first xray followup which revealed the fracture to be over 50% healed. It's fascinating how the human body works. The original xray showed a clear white line. The first followup showed the fracture as a light gray line. The next xray is August 31'st, which I hope is dark gray or black. However, I'm preparing myself for perhaps another few weeks. The type of injury I experienced takes a minimum of six weeks to heal and this is in a healthy younger adult. I'm 57 and could be some what healthier than I am. My RM ETSX had been gathering dust for the last eight months and the accident happened on my Devinci Millenium road bike which had been gathering dust for the last couple of years. Something about TDF fever got to me, forgetting how much more alert you need to be on a road bike.

I have no idea what to expect once I am allowed to apply weight to my right leg. At least I will be able to walk with a cane. I'm hoping I will be able to get in some very mild riding as a way of accelerating the rehabilation process. Only time will tell.

Thanks for allowing me to share this experience, one with a lesson for all. Never leave home without your helmet and buy the best helmet you can afford. My accident happened 100 metres from home at no higher a speed than 10 km/hr. As much as it might be summer next year until I'm back to normal, at least I will be back to normal.

( forgive me guys, that's the dad in me talking )

ciao
michael

August 20, 2004