Tips for Crashing
Last weekend, I was lucky enough to snag a spot in Bicycle Habitat's Women's Cycling NYC Mountain Biking demo day. Along with experiencing the amazing trails of Cunningham Park first hand and getting to ride carbon fat tire bikes all day, I learned a ton about falling. Yes, the team from Bicycle Habitat dedicated more than an hour of the day to safe crashing practices. The idea behind this: you're going to flip or slide or crash and if you do it correctly you will minimize the pain and injury you experience. So here they are, a few tips on how to fall correctly:
We reviewed the three basic ways we could experience crashes on the trail and which fall is most useful.
1) Crash Scenario #1: You crash to the side
USE: The side break fall.
You want to spread the force of the fall throughout as much surface area as possible to lessen impact.
Keep your hands on the handlebars and do not use your arm (you will likely hurt your wrist and often the force travels up your arm to your collarbone)
Lean your hip towards the ground so when you fall it spreads out throughout your legs/hips
Tuck your head in (like a turtle)
2) Crash Scenario #2: You hit something and go over the handlebars
USE: the front rolling break fall
This is very similar motion to a somersault but starts in the air instead of on the ground
Again, do not use your hands
Tuck your head and look down. Your head is heavy and you're already going in the forward direction so your body will follow.
3) Crash Scenario #3 The bike comes out from behind you
Here you will not have enough momentum to do a somersault
Lift your chin and protect your face with your arms to slide forward
If you mountain bike for long enough you will crash so be prepared by practicing the skills you need to fall safely!
Written by Sarah L. Knapp