Rasoulution Stunt Cyclist Danny MacAskill offers advice on avoiding serious injury if you do come off the bike.
1. Practice crashing
“Some nights when I’m working on stunts I’ll come off dozens of times,” MacAskill reveals. Admittedly, these spills are rarely at great speed but they do help Danny train both body and mind for reacting to the more spontaneous stacks.
“The key habit to learn is to relax your muscles at the moment of impact. Practice is painful but it does help, and a bit of mountain biking, for example, could help make crash prevention better for you on the roads.”
2. Plan ahead
If you hit a drain grill or pothole and are heading over the handlebar, you’ll need something to prevent your head and neck making initial contact with the ground. “Instinctively it’s your arm,” says MacAskill. “But locking the arm is the chief cause of those collarbone, wrist and shoulder breaks road cyclists are prone to. With a little ‘give’ in your arm you may be able to break the fall without breaking any bones.”
3. See your way clear
“Even when you’re clipped in, gaining a fraction of a second of reaction time can be enough for you to release your feet and get yourself clear of the bike,” says MacAskill.
If the bike starts sliding out from under you with the back wheel slipping, or even if you’re coming over the handlebar, being able to clip free from the pedals and look at where you’re likely to fall before tucking your head in and attempting to roll could divert disaster.
4. Face the slide
A skid or low slide is one of the most common prompts for a full-blown peloton pile-up. “I don’t ride in a pack,” says MacAskill. “But I have great admiration for those who do.”
If you’re starting to go down in a slide you can’t recover from, aim to face the slide direction of the bike and drop your shoulder to the ground first. “Then get yourself into the foetal position — it reduces your own impact, and the risk of other bikes hitting you.”