If you’re an avid mountain biker – or just ride for fun on the weekends – chances are you’ll take a tumble at some point. When your time comes, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure you make a fast and full recovery.
Immediately After the Crash
Assess Your Body and Surroundings
Before you hop back on your bike, take a few moments to assess your body and surroundings. Get your bearings by asking yourself a few questions, including:
The Crash Site:
- Am I close to a cliff?
- Did I land in poison ivy?
- Am I in the middle of the trail?
- Are there sharp objects around me?
- What’s above my head?
- Can I move my arms and legs?
- Am I bleeding?
- Can I wiggle my fingers and toes?
- Did I hit my head? (If so, don’t move.)
Alert Fellow Riders
A good riding crew will notice your absence quickly. If they don’t, holler to them to let them know you’ve fallen. If you’ve determined the crash was minor, let your crew know that too. Once they’re by your side, explain what happened, what hurts and if you need assistance with anything.
Take a Break
Give your muscles time to relax after a crash. When you fall, adrenaline courses through your body, causing it to go into shock and your muscles to seize up. Take a few minutes to lie down or sit off to the side of the trail.
Breathe deeply and slowly to calm yourself down and try to refocus your thoughts. Getting back on your bike before giving yourself adequate time to recuperate could easily result in another crash.
Getting Back on the (Proverbial) Horse
Check Your Gear
A crash can easily damage your bike, so it’s crucial to assess any damage before hitting the trail. Was your helmet cracked or dented? If so, its structural integrity has been comprised Once you get back to town, you’ll have to buy a new one.
Run through this checklist to ensure your bike is in working order:
- Brakes: Ensure the front and back brakes are in the correct position.
- Gears: Examine the chain for jams or frozen links and make sure it’s still in one piece.
- Frame: Identify any cracks or deep scratches in the frame as they could present a serious problem when you pedal away.
- Wheels: Check that the tires hold air, the wheels are true and no broken spokes are sticking out.
Give Yourself a Confidence Boost
When you know your bike is safe to ride again, hop back on. If your confidence was shaken by the crash, give it a boost by taking an easier trail back, if that’s an option. It’ll be easier to find your riding flow when you give your body time to heal before biking along more difficult sections of the trail.
When You Get Home
Every post-ride routine should include relaxation techniques and stretches while your muscles are still warm. Try practicing a few yoga poses to target the areas of your body most affected by the crash.
After you’ve worked out the kinks in your muscles, sink into a hot bath or rinse off in the shower. Settle in for the night and relax your mind and body while watching your favorite movie or TV show, or by reading a beloved book.