Today I was hauling at full speed on my mountain bike on Difficult Run, I flew down a hill hit a dirt hump (not quite big enough to be a jump, but not quite small enough to be a bump) at a creek bed and wiped out hard core. Right before I hit the hump my front tire snagged a root, which pulled the wheel slightly to the left. Since I was going so fast I launched and rotated sideways.
My left shin hit the ground first, then my hip, my shoulder and WHACK then my head (pretty damn hard). When I came to I had the wind was knocked out of me and my bike was about seven feet off to my right with the handle bars twisted around backwards. This is why I ride clipless! If my feet were clipped in I would have had no time at all to clip out and I would have broke something for sure.
I was wearing my I-Pod Nano on my left hip, it took a direct hit and got crunched between my hip and the ground. Thankfully it was protected by a Speck case and sustained no major damage, which is impressive considering the force of the impact!
My Bell bike helmet was just over two years old, and today it saved me from a serious concussion, fractured skull or worse. Bike and motorcycle helmets are very much the same, they are one use only. If you wipe out and hit your head the foam inside deforms in order to absorb the impact of your head and lessen the blow…but after that the helmet trash and should NEVER be used again.
It was time to get a new helmet anyway, because I bought it about two years ago and it has seen considerable action and substantial wear. Another thing most people don’t know is that heat will eventually break down or compromise the properties of the foam in a bike helmet. Needless to say on my 2005 Road Trip across America the helmet was exposed to very extreme temperatures in Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada. So it was overdue to be replaced.
No doubt had I not been wearing the helmet today I would have been unconscious for quite some lying in the woods until another biker came along and found me. I rode away some very minor abrasions and a bruised ego. My bike sustained no damage and I was able to ride home without much trouble…luck was on my side today.