Saturday, November 8, 2008

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty....

By Nickie

...had a great fall!

That's right.  I crashed.  Complete with 60 pounds of gear for a weekend stay with the grandparents, the two kids and the dog in the trailer.  First of all, I'll state that the kids are fine.  One scratch on Samuel's wrist is the only injury between them.  However not so with me.  

I was riding down the hill on Arapahoe Road with the new hub motor finally running, I was able to really get going!  The road there is quite old.  I am not sure if I hit a patch of uneven ground, but the front wheel began to shake.  Anthony gives this the more accurate term "head shake", but I am assured by my brother that the more dramatic "death wobble" is the appropriate terminology.  I think I am inclined to go with "death wobble".  The wobble got worse and worse as I tried to slow down and regain control.  When I realized I was in for a crash, I steered off the road into the grass and leaves and laid the bike down.  Went down going between 15-20 mph.  I landed on my shoulder and broke the "humeral head".  That's the ball at the top of the arm bone.  Drat!  

The good news:  kids are okay.  The wood of the seats protected them.  You can see where the corner of the seats was getting ground down, but the kids where safe though scared.  Also good is that I don't need surgery.  

The bad news:  I can't ride for at least a month leaving me and the kids without transportation.  

We ordered one of these.  It's a steering damper made by Hopey that will prevent this from ever happening again.  Who knows why this happened?  So weird we've ridden thousands of miles will heavy loads and Anthony's been riding this bike all week with no mishap.  We read up on it a bit, sounds like it must just be the perfect set of circumstances producing a bad harmonic.  In any case, with the steering damper, this should never happen again.  
  

6 comments:

Mike said...

Bummer, sending healing vibes your way.

The DINKs said...

Ouch! So sorry to hear about the crash! Sending good thoughts for a quick recovery....

Wouter said...

Hope you feel better already! It's called wheel shimmy:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/shimmy.html

Jason said...

Sorry to hear that. I hope you heal up quickly.

One thing I have heard to stop the shimmy is to put your leg against the top tube when it is happening and somehow it absorbs or something, causing the shimmy to stop.

I have blasted down many hills with loads on my dummy and haven't experienced a shimmy yet, so I am sad to hear that you had just the right conditions to cause it.

Tobi said...

As far as I know, a shaky feeling in the handlebars might also come from a 'soft' fork. A friend of mine had similar problems, after changing forks they were gone completely.

So if you changed nothing on your bike and were riding in similar situations and at about the smae speed without any trouble, check your fork for cracks!

Tobi

Maxwell said...

Glad your crash wasn't too bad. For anybody reading this, the important thing to remember is to clamp the top tube between your legs. Shimmy is especially common on long heavy bikes, and the first instinct is to brake. This can actually make things worse if you don't dampen the shimmying first. My Big Dummy has a slight tendency to shimmy, and I've had a couple bikes with a really wicked death wobble. A thigh pressed against the top tube has never failed for me.