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11 January, 2004


Bent fork. Copyright NRT, 2004I crashed my bike last night.  Swerving to avoid a small dog in the road, I skidded on the wet surface.  I stayed upright, but recovery left me heading directly towards a wall, travelling fairly quickly.  I only had time to straighten the handlebars before hitting, head on.  I don't remember the following couple of seconds, but I wasn't hurt; I have a bruise on my right thigh that I didn't notice at the time, and the sides of my left knee were tender this morning from being squeezed between the frame and forks.  There was lime dust on my left foot and knee, and bizarrely the back of my right shoulder, from hitting the wall, but the bike took vitually all of the impact.  I lost my hat, then found it perched on top of the 2m wall.

The bike is absolutely fine - almost.  The chain came off, but everything is aligned correctly and it went straight back on.  The wheels are fine, without even a bent spoke.  The curved bar ends of the handlebars obviously hit the wall (lime dust and scuffs), but their shape seems to have allowed them to flex.

A similar curve, in the front forks, is also what seems to have accepted the full force of the crash - the front forks are bent back, so severely that the paint has split. This puts the front wheel almost in contact with the frame (the mudguard held it away slightly), and the wheel fouls the pedals when the handlebars are turned; the bike is unrideable, as it's severely unstable and can't turn corners.

I was stunningly lucky; I was unhurt, and the bike merely needs new forks. I could so easily have hit my head. I always wear a helmet for commuting to work in traffic, but heading across town to watch a DVD with J & Fi, I hadn't bothered. Something of a wake-up call.

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