Crash Update

Day’s Verse:
So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.
2 Thessalonians 2:15-17

First of all, thank you to all the well-wishers leaving comments on my blog and Facebook. Your concern is very touching.

Second of all, I have all sorts of exciting (for some values of exciting) news on the crash front. At the adamant urging of my parents and all my coworkers, I went to the doctor. I had felt sleepy after the crash, had a headache all yesterday, and woke up feeling dizzy and nauseous, a feeling that didn’t really go away during my commute in.

Not surprisingly, the doctor diagnosed me with a mild concussion. This is the first time I’ve had any notable injury from crashing.

She then instructed me absolutely not to ride a bike until I felt better, although I could drive “because then you’re protected being surrounded with all that metal.” The objection to biking wasn’t a concern about exertion, as far as I could tell, but because I’m “out of it” and therefore less likely to make good decisions. Great, so I’m not safe enough to ride my bike — where I’d probably only harm myself — but I’m safe enough to drive a car and potentially harm lots of other people?! Worst doctor advice ever. (I’d taken the bus there, but rode my bike against her orders from the doctor’s office to my house, 3.18 miles, without trouble.)

Apparently if I experience any other symptoms like increased dizziness, headache, or vomiting, I should immediately panic and go to the ER because that could be bleeding in my brain. Well, she didn’t say the panic part, but that was kind of implicit.

Unfortunately I am well enough to work (something I had already figured out, having successfully ridden 21 miles to work and then completed half a workday before leaving), but I also have to keep on the ibuprofen, drink lots of water and get lots of electrolytes (“padding for my brain,” which is apparently sloshing around all the time and needs extra fluids right now), and avoid smacking myself in the head again.

I should be better by Monday or sooner. The doctor said, “If you’re Superman, you could wake up tomorrow and be perfectly fine to ride.” Then she looked at me and added, “And it sounds like you might be, considering the crash and how you came out of it.” On the theory that I’m Superman, I spent the afternoon in the back yard soaking up some sun and avoiding kryptonite.

Third of all, regarding the fork, the people who built the original are going to build me a replacement. They’re also going to give me a refund on the original. So in the end I should get something like $400 cash and a new fork. Sadly, I’m not sure if I’ll ever feel totally comfortable using the beautiful new fork, after this experience. Should I just scratch the new fork idea and take the $400 and go? I’m not sure. My decision-making faculties do seem to have their wires crossed right now. I value any and all input.

13 thoughts on “Crash Update”

  1. thanks for the update but do take note of what your boby is telling you as I know personally a gal who had a bump on the head,in a skiing acident and had no noticable problem until 3 weeks later. she did have bleeding on the brain and took several years to get back to normal. We will pray this is not going to happen,but don’t disregard your Doc’a advise as a head trama is very serious.

  2. I’m so thankful that you are “superman” and that you are basically alright! My advice is take what they’ll give you money-wise and run away as fast as you can from that company and never go there again and write reviews that warn other people, etc., etc.! Was that the place that took so long and was otherwise annoying in also?

  3. If I understand you correctly this fork was built by Davidson? On one hand it’s pretty disturbing that the fork failed. On the other, they’ve been around for an awfully long time and I can’t imagine they’ve gotten to this point by building bikes that fail often. I’d also imagine that they’d be extra careful on fork #2.

    How did they take the news that a fork of theirs had apparently failed? I’d factor that into the picture too.

    And have they built many road forks for bikes with discs? Is this a new area for them?

    Anyway best of luck – hope this works out for you!

  4. I’d ask them to furnish you with a third-party fork of proven design, rather than allowing them to build you a new one – Kona P2 for 700c or Surly would be two good options.

    These are widely-used, tried and tested designs.

  5. Greg, that’s correct, Davidson built it in the first place. I was shocked, since as you say, they’ve been in the frame-building biz for a long time. They seemed pretty impassive when I brought my bike in (said, \Hmm, it looks like you crashed\ in a completely calm tone of voice), but later they assured me that \we’ll take care of you,\ so I’m pretty sure they weren’t pleased to see the fork come in looking like that. I’m not sure how many other disc forks they’ve made before.

    Graeme, thanks for the advice. This is an amazingly awkward situation all-round.

  6. Gotta wonder whether the doctor drives when he shouldn’t.
    In my experience (one crash), being fit really affects recovery from crashes. It even kinda sorta made me rethink how many times I’ve snorted at movies & tv shows where somebody gets, say, shot and is runnign around and up and around… but if you’re fit, the body seems to handle some trauma better.
    Be careful out there :)

  7. Glad that you seem to have come through this OK. Now for the snide comment part: I am an engineer and one of the reasons that I ride a bicycle is because I love the simplicity, elegance and efficiency of the machine. None of these are considered virtues by the people who design disc brakes for bicycles. When you want to stop, you need to ultimately exert a backwards pressure on the pavement, through your tires. In the case of a traditional brake, this is done by applying pressure to the rim, which transfers this pressure to the tire, and on to the pavement. In the case of disk brakes, the pressure is applied to the disk, then transferred through the hub and spokes to the rim, and on to the pavement – there are a couple of problems with this: There is a mechanical disadvantage equal to the ratio of your tire diameter to the disk diameter, so you need much higher force at the disk, and the spokes are not used to applying pressure in that direction. Your failure happened right where the forces on the fork are greatest. For a road bike, disk brakes have very few advantages over traditional brakes. Think about a new fork which has a traditional front brake on it.

  8. Another idea – go to Black Sheep Cycles in Colorado and get a TI fork made. No more issues. Love mine! Says something about Seven that the frame is still OK.

  9. I have to disagree with Mark. Commuter bikes with disc brakes are great, assuming they’ve been appropriately designed to handle the forces that accompany said brakes.

    When you want to stop, and the conditions are crappy (wet, snowy, etc…), disc brakes are going to get the job done much more reliably than rim brakes.

    That said, I agree with everyone else’s remarks that a fork like that should never have been fitted with disc tabs.

    Also: I hope your feeling better soon. I had a bike wreck-induced concussion two years ago, and I wasn’t allowed to do ANYTHING for a month. Ride, drive, work, you name it. Sounds like yours wasn’t that bad, and that’s a good thing.

  10. I’ll toss a little explanation in about the disc brakes, since they do seem like using a cannon to swat a mosquito. I went with disc brakes and ti bike because when I built the bike I was living in Massachusetts and riding year-round. I arrived at work encased in ice, riding on icy roads (studded tires were my best friends), and I had to be sure my brakes would work. Disc brakes worked when my wheels were gigantic snowballs, the rims ice-slicked, or under any less killer conditions.

    Now, in Seattle, they’re somewhat pointless. However, I’m committed to disc brakes unless I want a new wheelset, so for the time being, disc brakes it is. When I recommend commuter bikes to people, though, I encourage them to stick with rim brakes for simplicity if nothing else.

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