I had a comic cycle crash this week. Yes it hurt and it still hurts but it was a classic comedy wipe out - face first over the handlebars in front of loads of Christmas shoppers on our local high street. And I only had myself to blame - I had casually slung my handbag over the handlebars rather than stow it away safely in my pannier. Well I was only going round the corner? I literally got 15 metres up the road when my bag got caught between the spokes and stopped us in our tracks.
I felt like I'd been bucked off by a naughty pony, only to be kicked unceremoniously in the head by my bike as it landed on top of me - just to teach me a lesson: Never Ride With A Bag Hanging Into Your Wheel!! Stupid woman! Ok, Ok... No serious injuries but a busted spoke and my handbag was destroyed. Serves me right. So I thought I'd take this moment to shake off my dented pride, celebrate a few comedy cycle catastrophes and share them with our lovely Ride Velo readers:
One of cycling's most infamous comedy collisions occurred in 2007 during stage 9 of the Tour de France when German cyclist, Markus Burghardt, is confronted by a nonchalant labrador dog. The dog walks away unscathed and unsurprised but the bike... well see for yourselves... The first worry of most people I know, on crashing, is what state their pride and joy is, in rather than their own personal dents and scratches.
My personal favourite crash from this year's Tour de France was seeing Geraint Thomas chasing Warren Barguil down the Col du Manse during the 16th Stage, when he was derailed by another rider and lost control round this bend. Despite sticking his leg out to try and steady himself, he crashed through the course barriers, into a group of spectators, and was in danger of flying down the precipice. Instead, the steely Welshman made a grab for a nearby telegraph pole and saved himself. Thomas later managed to rejoin the race to finish. As Dave Brailsford said, "He's Welsh. People from Wales are tough."
Urban cycle crashes are represented here by tough guy Casey Neistat. He endures no less than eight nasty crashes in New York to protest about getting a $50 ticket for NOT riding in the bike lane. Looks painful but very funny to watch.
Having a crash on your bike can be shocking but let's face it, as long as there's no serious injury caused to the rider it's hysterically funny for the spectator. I remember going out with clip-in pedals for the first time and having a comedy slow motion fall at the traffic lights as I desperately tried to unclip. Witnesses at the side of the road couldn't conceal their mirth, even as they checked out to see if I was okay. So enjoy the classic falls in the video above. My favourite is the guy trying to make a jump into a river, who slides ignominiously into the water before he even gets to the ramp.
The Red Bull Rampage is a spectacular event of free-riding in the Utah desert. These are the best mountain bikers in the world, athletes in fact, and the video below shows the amateur stuntmen from the comedy crashes above exactly how to do it, including one or two rather more epic crashes. And guys - did you notice that they're actually wearing helmets?
If you do any track cycling the likelihood is that sooner or later you're going to take a tumble as everyone desperately fights for space. The classic rookie mistake is to stop pedalling after you've crossed the finishing line, forgetting that you're going full pelt and riding a fixed gear. Result: head first over the handlebars. Believe me, I've seen it happen more than once! Those that race on the track for a living accept crashes as a professional hazard. Given the speed and commitment that they put into flying around the velodrome, when it goes wrong, it really goes spectacularly wrong!
But at least my own crashes haven't been as bad as my brother's most comedic moment. As a cycle courier in London, he was paid for each item he transported. He turned up to a fashion house near the City where a company had booked a van to collect no less than 12 tuxedos. Rupert wasn't going to be put out by this, thinking of all the commissions he'd receive for completing the job. He stuffed six garment carriers into his messenger bag, and hung the remaining six, three a piece, on each handlebar. You can guess the rest of the story; his pride's still hurting to this day and he didn't even get paid! We just wish we had the whole episode on video...