Bike Crash !!

As a young man, I took a six week bike tour in (mostly) Germany in the early 1980’s (any earlier and it would have been the 70’s)

I had a bike crash similar to the one above.

Two of us had spent the better part of the day at a wonderful topless beach on the Danish island of Bornholm.  What a day that was !!!!  I was quite the shy and introverted young man and I remember the first day we had gone to this beach with the full crew of our tour, we saw a pack of young ladies a hundred yards down the beach that were probably our ages (16-22) and they were all topless.  I said out loud “This is going to be kind of awkward for me to walk past them.”  Well, that point became moot as the pack of ladies then proceeded to run towards us and then past us.

The next day was bright and sunny and my best mate decided that we had not had enough of beach and that’s what we decided to do for the day (FYI it was a Sunday, I remember that for a reason ahead).  The beach was maybe 25 kilometers away so it was a fairly quick trip there. We shared turns at drafting off each other.

The day at the beach was rather remarkable.  Fantastic sand beach, very pretty topless ladies and some how I ended up being naked in the Baltic Sea.  We ran into some other Americans and chatted them up for a bit and made some conversation with the Danes.  Fun times.

Just before 4 pm we decided to go, we’d been there for about 4 hours and had the trip back to get to supper in time.  Off we went.  We had gone about 5 kilometers and I was in second place.  What happened is literally etched into my brain.  I can picture it perfectly as if I were going through it again !!

My front tire was a half a foot away from the lead’s rear tire and we were going about 20 mph.  Here comes the mental replay !!  I can see his back tire slow down and my front tire went past his by maybe two inches.  He drifted left before I could pull back and the two tires met.  His tire was applying pressure to the left and my tire was applying pressure to the right.  He then sped back up and when the tires slipped apart, my tire snapped to the right and folded in half like a potato chip.

I went down hard on my right scapula, bounced, and did almost another flip.  I might have gotten lucky with the fact that my feet were in my toe clips and that kept my legs from splaying out and really got lucky that I didn’t crack my head on the pavement.  I immediately stood up, saw the bent rim, popped the quick relapse screamed at the top of my lungs and flung the wheel over a fence into a field about 20 yards away.  By that time my friend had circled back and saw me fling the wheel.

“Shit !!!! I’m going to need that to get back!!”

Now it gets funny.

Up pulls a gang of very large Germans riding mopeds wearing skid suits.  It was all I could do to not laugh.  10 pounds of stuff in a 5 pound bag ! They saw me crash and were checking to see if I was all right.  I assured them I was, and they continued on.

My buddy checked me out and all I had was an asphalt scrape on my scapula and the same on my right thigh.  No serious damage except I knew when we got back, the adult in charge of our group would immediately douse me with hydrogen peroxide to clean the wounds.  When we did get back I had on a T-shirt on so he could not see that and only got my leg.

I climbed over the fence and retrieved my wheel.  It was folded in about a 30 degree angle.  The tire was fine, you would have expected it to have come of the rim.  We spent about 15 minutes jumping on the rim to get it back into shape and back on my bike.  Even with taking my front brakes off, the tire wobbled so much it slapped each fork as I rode.

Obviously we could not make great speed getting back, but under the circumstances, did all right.

The big problem was that we were to catch the early ferry to get back to the mainland.  This was Sunday afternoon and most everything was closed.  The good news was that our host had a friend that owned a bike shop in town and he was able to open up and get me set up with a new tire.  And he would not accept any kind of payment !!  Great guy.

It was not a great replacement tire, but we only had 4-5 days to go so I made the best of it.


Our biking crew in front of a Danish sex shop.

This is not what it looks like: