Improving the speed, limiting the risk
Crashes do happen, unfortunately, when you ride in a group, in a race, or just anywhere at any time. Very annoying, especially when recovery takes a long time.
Bad luck, or someone else’s fault? Of course there are situations you can not do anything about yourself. But it’s good to see what you can do in order to reduce the chance of a crash. Under room to move, blind curves, cornering technique, downhill runs, you will find points of interest.
Below you will find some crashes, with analysis what the rider could have done better.
Of course, bad luck or fault by some other often plays a role. But focussing on those external things prevents you from learning what you can do yourself to minimize the risks.
As ‘though cyclists’ we often say as someone falls that he is a real cyclist now, with his skin rubbed off. All understandable types of responses, but they do not help to prevent as much as possible the chance of falling. You need to learn from those situations.
See also learning
Crash Kruiswijk (Giro 2016, May 27)
Besides all the emotions and the fact that an accident or a mistake is in a small corner there is of course the question: what could de rider do better?
– Quick switch of attention. If you’re on your limit and happy to be up front and need to eat, on a coll where the descent starts quickly, you can have a high speed before you notice it.
-On the TV images, it seems the curveline of the rider is not correct. Too little outside and too little inside. See: Taking sharp turns. As if doesn’t pay enough attention to the curve. If the turn turns more than you can see beforehand, you have a problem.
– Perhaps the most interesting is the position on the bike. Man and bicycle are vertically in one line (the classical position), with the center of gravity opf man and bicycle short within the contact line of tires and road. This produces a very slight radius of the curve. Too little to get the right amount of turning.
Possibly, the ‘skiing technique’ could provide better correction posibilities.
It’s a bit more dynamic than the classic technique. You can correct more if your cornering is not perfect. You can push your saddle more a bit more to the inside. The upper body goes out with a lot of pressure on the front wheel, partly inward facing. The center of gravity of body and bike will be slightly lower. The result is a sharper turn. Especially at the end of a curve you can “emphasize” more and thus remain in the curve.
Managing that technique some do automatically, from their talent or from mountain biking experience. If you are not such a lucky bird you will have to train this technique. You have to make hours before it becomes an automatic reflex. It is a technique that is difficult under stress. If you’re upset, you keep your breath, bringing up your position. The center of gravity of body and bike will be higher and closer to the contact line. As a result, you are curving less. The natural reflex if you are started is not the functional reflex. In skating and skiing you have the same phenomenon. Therefore, you need to train the ski technique under (simulated) stress.
Also, knee insertion can provide faster corrections than the classic technique. However, the center of gravity of the body and the bike must be sufficiently within the contact line. It will however deliver less weight removal and thus correction. Descending can be improved by exercising it a lot. That doen’t come by itself. Because you spend a lot more time riding uphill, Not every curve in the mountains is easy to enter. There is always one that goes wrong. Much more than, for example, in a criterion where you encounter the same turn agaain and again and unconsciously learns how to do it. In the mountains it is important to have a well-trained automatic reflex for the situation when it goes wrong. The skiing technique provides more opportunity for correction than the classic technique.
See also: cornering
See also: descending
Crash Rojas (Vuelta 2016, stage 20)
A fall apparently out of nowhere.
The fact that others go through the same curve without difficulty indicates that the cause is problably himself.
Possibly braking too much the front wheel? Then the slip and fall away.
Perhaps the upper body a little too much hanging to the inside of the curve? Because of this, there is too little pressure down and especially inward on the front wheel.
See: http://slimmerfietsen.nl/klassieke-bochten-en- ski tours
At the rear wheel you get more signals before it’s possible to slip away, not at the front wheel. Additionally, a rear-wheel slip is usually corrected, a front-wheel slip is almost always a fall.
It seems that there is a critical area where the pressure on the front wheel becomes too small with only a little difference in position of the upper body. This risk is bigger with the classical turn technique than with the skiing technique.
If you look at Louis Leon Sanchez in the same stage, you’ll see he has a little V-bend.
It looks like we can not easily feel how close we are to this pressure loss. As for example in aquaplaning when driving a car.
If you can repeat the same curve in a parking space or someplace like that, you can try it out. From classical turning technique to skiing turning technique. The difference in pressure is to feel. Especially when you make it extreme: the classic technique with the shoulders focused inwards and the skiing technique with a V and extreme hanging outwards of the upper body and so more pressure on the outside of the front wheel. You can even feel the difference in pressure when laying your hands on the brake levers or down in the handlebars. But be careful to build up that exercise. 🙂
Crash van Vleuten (Olympic Road Race, Rio August 8, 2016)
Incredibly what a shit. The best in the course, on the way to the gold. And then the fall.
Why? Slippery road? To thee side falling bend? Too much risk? Who will say it?
There is a steering error to be seen on the TV. It was a turn to the right. Before the turn, she ride at the right of the road, in stead of the left site. As a result, she made the curve much harder than if she before the turn had been riding at the left side. Then the turn woud have been much broader. You make an outside-inside-outside line to make the curve as wide as possible. Then you can turn that turn faster, with less chance of getting lost.
Incredible: technical a simple mistake. Too simple for such a good driver? Why? Attention distracted? The cause behind the cause, no idea.
It’s all right that she makes a simple steering error, but this fall is very special. She has to deal with what is called in the (motor) road racing a ‘high-sider’. The rear wheel loses grip and slides to recover grip after about a second. That gives a a hard swerve. You see on the images on her rear wheel sliding, she corrects with steering, then suddenly you do not see the rear wheel sliding, Van Vleuten dives over the wheel and pulls the bike with her. She is already flying over the bicycle before the wall, after the swerve.
You see how useful knowledge is from another discipline to recognize it.
Crash of Piere Rouland (Tour de France 2016, stage 19)
The main reason seems to be that Rouland starts peddeling again too early. His inner pedal hits the ground. This causes the rear wheel to go up (see picture) and therefore loses grip.