Achieving the impossible

Yesterday I did something that did not even occur to me as a possibility until I found myself flying through the air in slow motion, images of previous bike wrecks flashing through my mind. [Why is it that bike crashes always happen in slow motion?]

So that was a bit of an exaggeration. It turns out that when you crash your bike trainer, due to the lack of forward momentum, you do not fly through the air in quite the same way as you might if you are actually making forward progress on your ride, but stationary falls still evoke the slow motion “Oh sh!t I’m going down!” feeling typical of bike wrecks.

[Yes, Chris’ bike shoes have been sitting in the floor unused for 43 days and we have both neglected to put them away. I don’t feel as embarrassed as I should about that.]

Fortunately, this fall did not produce as much human carnage as my bike wrecks typically do.

Last time I had a mishap was on my mountain bike. I remember looking at a tree in my path on a narrow trail and thinking “Hit the tree or dump the bike?” I immediately dumped the bike. Naturally, although tipping my bike was a great idea, I managed to make some stupid decisions in the process. Figures. 

Instead of tipping myself uphill into a leafy bush, I elected to tip downhill into a pricker bush. Duh. I know. Fortunately my über dorky full-face helmet saved my face from my thorny crash pad. I can’t say that my arms and legs fared as well though. Despite several self-surgery attempts, it was more than a year before the last thorn finally came out of my knee.

Yesterday’s wreck was my first while clipped into my pedals and I am proud to say that I somehow, either through luck or genius instincts, managed to un-clip before I hit the ground. Better yet, during the thirty or so seconds that it seemed to take for me to hit the ground, it occurred to me that I was pregnant and should probably keep that in mind when selecting my landing position. Brittany + baby both safe. I’ll call that a win.

How the heck did you manage to crash a bike on a trainer anyway?

I still have no idea. I was nearing the end of a workout loaded with “hills”, climbing the last big “hill” of my workout, up out of the saddle, heart pounding, legs burning, when suddenly my footing gave out. I’m guessing that I did not have the trainer tightened down on the wheel caps well enough, but I can’t be completely sure. Chris always warns me not to over tighten the trainer and bend my fork, it is possible that I listened to that advice just a little too well.

Unfortunately, as happy as I am that I survived the fall, I don’t think the bike survived intact. I seem to have bent my back wheel. I’ll do my best to explain…

The top two pictures below are of my left, rear brake caliper. In the upper left hand side, you can see that, as one would expect, the caliper is not touching the wheel. As I spin the wheel, suddenly it is rubbing hard against the caliper.

The second two pictures show the right, rear brake caliper. When the wheel is not rubbing on the left caliper, it is rubbing on the right and vice versa. The only explanation that I can come up with is that my wheel is bent. [Yes, I have monkeyed around with adjusting the calipers, but the problem is that the wheel seems to have an irregular path, not that the calipers are out of adjustment.]

20111117-121725.jpgI wonder if Chris can work some magic and swap the cassette from my rear wheel onto the unbent front wheel so that I can continue riding for two more weeks? It sounds reasonable enough, but I don’t have any idea what kind tools or effort it involves. If not, I will need to come up with a workout Plan B as I tend to be a cranky monster if I don’t do some kind of physical activity.

Any ideas for equipment-free, video-free workouts? Real workouts, not wimpy workouts.

Update: The front and rear wheels are specific, so they can’t be swapped out. Chris opened up the brake calipers super wide so that I can try riding in an ellipse. I’ll see if that feels like it is going to create additional damage.

  1. Ken B. said:

    Aww, I wanted to be the one to point out that there’s no freakin way you’re swapping the front for the back unless you can COMPLETELY disassemble (and correctly reassemble) your wheels. Chris may be resourceful, but I know that ain’t happening. As an aside, I can’t believe you wrecked a bike that has never been on an actual forward-motion ride!! 😉

    **Whoa, I just tried using ctrl-u to get some underline action, it’s psychedelic!

    • Brit said:

      Chris doesn’t appreciate your help. He thinks the guy at the bike shop in Indiana should do it. I might give it a try though. 🙂 Thanks Ken!

  2. I’m also having break issues with my bike so I’m no help, good luck…because saying good luck is so helpful! 😉

    Glad you survived your fall! At the very least its a good story!

    • Brit said:


      It is pretty funny that I managed to fall on a bike trainer. I have a serious fear of crashing bikes, figures that I would be able to do it inside.

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