THE 7 POINT CHECKLIST ALL MOUNTAIN BIKERS SHOULD COMPLETE AFTER A CRASH
Crashes come with the territory. There is no escaping it, if you like mountain biking, you will have to experience a heavy fall every now and then. After you have checked yourself over and made sure you are all in one piece, and everything that is supposed to be inside your body has remained inside, there is a step-by-step process to complete to before you get back on the trails at full speed.
1. GET YOURSELF TO THE EDGE OF THE TRAIL
Even if you still feel scraped up and like you have been in the wars, drag yourself to the edge of the trail if you can. Looking out for another bike isn’t always easy, let alone a person lying on the trail. Avoid further injuring yourself in a collision with another rider by getting yourself to the edge of the trail quickly.
2. ROAD RASH IS A GOOD INDICATION
If you are on concrete or tarmac, road rash is a good sign. In my experience, in crashes where the rider has been grazed up by the concrete, they usually ride away without a major injury. When you land on concrete and you don’t have road rash, it is because none of the impact was dispersed. Bang and you probably bounced, which is never a good sign or sound.
3. CHECK YOUR HELMET
This has to be the first port of call. If you hit your head and there is visible damage to the helmet, the best thing to do is call it a day. Even if you feel absolutely fine in yourself, head injuries can be deceptive and if the impact was hard enough to visibly alter the shell of the helmet, it could have caused some damage. Get someone to pick you up and get yourself checked out. If you have crashed hard on a helmet once, always replace it before you head out on the trails again. A solid knock to the head generally leads to a concussion. That’s when your brain has been rattled about in your skull. If you wacked your head it is time to get rest as soon as possible. You probably should get someone to check you over.
The wheels usually absorb the largest impact of the crash and are likely to be the most damaged component. Luckily, they are also the most straightforward to diagnose and repair. Are the tyres still inflated? Are they straight? Have the brakes jammed? Are any spokes broken?
5. CHECK THE COMPONENTS
The brake levers have often shifted after a heavy impact. Check that the derailleur isn’t bent, as this could totally snap the second you continue riding and change gears, potentially throwing you off again. Don’t start cycling again unless you are absolutely sure everything is still secure, including the chain and the saddle.
6. CHECK THE FRAME
Give the frame a once over. Look for any cracks or bends. If your frame is aluminium, bends and cracks may not necessarily be a huge problem. Aluminium frames tend to be much more forgiving, but if your bike is carbon fibre and you notice a crack, the second you sit on it and pedal away the frame could snap, so be careful when continuing your ride.
7. TAKE YOUR TIME
Although it is embarrassing falling off your bike, particularly in front of people you don’t know very well, don’t rush back on just to save face. Take your time to properly inspect yourself and your bike before you head off. Then stay at a lower speed for a while. If you have done some damage to the components or the frame, something may give way once you start riding again. If you are flying at a high speed and something breaks, the second crash could be even uglier.
Thoroughly complete this checklist at your own pace each and every time you crash to minimise the risk of incurring another crash shortly afterwards. And whatever you do, don’t set off again until both you and the bike are in good shape to continue on.
What else should mountain bikers be aware of? Do you have anything you can share?